I guess I should apologize for using that clip to introduce DaveL’s sensitive and wise Comment of the Day, but I couldn’t resist: just leaped into my head. Otherwise, his superb observations need no introduction.
This is DaveL’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Ethics Quiz: Terms Of Affection And The Second Wife.”
I lost my first wife at a young age. She was 30, I was 26, we had been married a little over two years. I’ve since remarried, and have been so for nearly 13 years.
Widowhood seriously messes with people’s heads when it comes to timeless ideas of true love and fidelity. Divorce they can cope with – clearly that person wasn’t “the one”. It “wasn’t meant to be.” The pledge you made to love them for the rest of your life has been ruptured, no more need be said about it. But widowhood, particularly in the young who remarry, screws it all up because they feel they must choose one spouse to be “the one”, the “real” spouse, the “love of one’s life”, and the other one denigrated to understudy status.
But it is not so. The ancients of most religions who decreed that a marriage endures only as long as both spouses survive knew what they were about. I never stopped loving my first wife, and my current wife knows it. I’ll never forget her, never minimize what we had together. But it’s over. She can no longer be my wife, I can no longer be a husband to her. She was the love of my life then, but that life came crashing down. My second wife is the love of my new life. That might not comport with the traditional understanding of the term “love of my life”, but then again most people holding or forming that understanding do so without having experienced widowhood and remarriage. Like battle plans that don’t survive first contact with the enemy, popular notions about lifelong love don’t survive the actual loss of a spouse.
So yes, the daughter is wrong to believe her father is slighting her mother. But she should be treated gently, because I wouldn’t expect her to understand. For most people that understanding is dearly bought, and I wouldn’t wish the knowledge on her.