True Love Suffers, Cries and Laughs Together…

True love doesn’t happen right away; it’s an ever-growing process. It develops after you’ve gone through many ups and downs, when you’ve suffered together, cried together, laughed together. Ricardo Montalban

Meditation: I discovered not long ago that an ancestor couple of mine (Count Zinzendorf and his wife Dorothea) experienced a traumatic separation against their will after they had been married for 20 years. The husband had wisely transferred all his assets to his wife, shortly before politics got him banned for seven years from their shared property and from the Moravian church community that they as a couple had established together. After those seven years he had grown so accustomed to living apart from his wife that, although he could have returned, he chose for the next ten years to travel constantly. He attended to missionary activities all over the world. They were married at the age of 21, separated against their will at the age of 41, and then she died very lonely at the age of 57. Her husband returned after her death to their estate and spent one year secluded and grieving. I know they loved each other, but after the traumatic separation they never found back to each other the way they had lived before. It feels tragic to me how their love story enfolded and how it ended. To experience love, a couple has to remain in that ever growing process together. The togetherness determines the growing love through shared suffering, shared laughing and shared crying. I am grieving for my name sake great-grandmother Dorothea Erdmuth and also for her husband Nikolaus Ludwig Zinzendorf who kept their marriage on paper, but who lost their living and expressed love when shared experiences gave way to external circumstances and to decisions of prioritizing other things over and above their marriage.

Prayer: God of love, how fragile love can be. There are external forces that interfere, traumatic events and disruptions. Then there are values and priority setting that sometimes put love or marriage at the bottom of the list. God, I bring my grief about my ancestors’ marriage story to you. Their marriage lasted, but their love missed sixteen years of togetherness for it to survive and grow. Help us all who love each other to prioritize our togetherness over all external forces. Help us to value our love and togetherness more than work, duty, ambition and even pious pursuits. Amen

I found the one my heart loves. Song of Solomon 3:4