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Wall of flames, bridge of tears.
Snowflake on newly forged links.
For a marriage to last, a couple must go through great travails and hardships. It is like a process of forging steel links together. The iron must be heated to a high degree and then plunged into cold water. A marriage alternates between the heat of passion and love and the chilling times of tragedy, conflict, and adversity. An enduring marriage becomes like tempered steel.
It is difficult to go through life alone. We all need support and the sense of belonging that comes from working toward goals shared with another. For such a relationship to work, there must be a basic compatibility of values, outlook, and purpose. It is an inadequate cliché that husband and wife must be friends as well as lovers. Two mates can know a loyalty found in no other type of relationship. Yet even in the face of such strength, Tao reminds us of the need for moderation.
Ultimately, all relationships are temporary. False attachment to another can become an addiction, a voluntary bondage detrimental to clear perception. We should not bind another to ourselves, should not define ourselves by our marriage, should not force another to stay with us. But if chance allows us to walk together, who is anyone to challenge our choice of walking companions?
When it is time to part, then it is time to part. There should be no regrets. The beauty of marriage is like the fleeting perfection of a snowflake.
Just Bob talking about his pipes and cigars
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