Character or Chemistry?

In the long list of bogus standards with which Hollywood has blessed us, their idea of romantic love is among the worst. Not only is it a false hope, it’s something far worse; an impossible dream.

Most of us think – because of the movies – that the best relationships begin with instant bonding, the storied glance across a crowded room. Something begins that way, but it’s not the best beginning to a serious and connected lifetime of shared experiences.

Chemistry is at the heart of this instant noodle notion of coupling. Chemistry is certainly a thing, but it’s a reproductive and entirely mammalian thing. Lasting reltionships of course require chemistry, but they need so much more; character, for one thing.

Character is like a vertical flight of wines from a quality winery. Over a series of years, one can see the differences between each vintage. Some years are lesser than others; less rain, or too much rain, or insufficient sun or too much, or the winemaker quit in the middle of harvest. Individually, each bottle is a snapshot, but when we put them together we can see the thread of substance and flavor from one to the next.

People are the same. Coupling with someone because we thought the first sip of one glass from one year is both shallow and dopey. Without knowing the backbone of this person, how can we know what happens under stress? When we argue? When we lose in the lottery of life? When we grow old?

Character, not chemistry. Patterns,  not promises. Backbone, not bullshit.

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