NANCY AND DEREK
What a loving couple Nancy and Derek! You would never know that they have been married for twenty years and have two teenage boys. First of all Nancy and Derek look younger than they are. Secondly, they still behave as if they just fell in love with their touching and kissing and hugging. How refreshing to see an old married couple behave this way!
No matter what the social function, Nancy and Derek are always together. They stand close and hold hands. This is not common behavior for married couples — especially after twenty years of marriage. The honeymoon ends way before twenty years, and domestic drudgery sets in. Most married couples still attend social functions together, but do not stay together after they arrive. He is on one side of the room, and she is on the other. As one husband said to me, “I’m around her all the time. Why would I want to be around her and talk to her when we go out?”
Seeing Nancy and Derek together caused me to re-examine my cynical views on love and marriage. I never thought that romantic love could survive the domestic drudgery of marriage; that it was possible to be sincere and lovey-dovey after many years of marriage. After romantic love dies, then couples do things out of obligation and not desire. Couples may stay married only because they do not want to go through the trouble and cost of divorcing. They are not happily married. But Nancy and Derek did things for romantic love — or so it appeared.
Just as I was about to change my cynical views on love and marriage, and whether love could survive marriage, Nancy and Derek separated. During their twenty years of lovey-doveyness, Derek had affairs with his students. Nancy discovered these affairs after a student got pregnant.
My opening should have been What a loving couple Nancy and Derek were! All these years we thought them happily married. What a show they put on! Obviously Derek was not happily married. Perhaps Nancy was not either. Maybe Nancy had affairs that Derek did not know about. Who knows?
For now my cynical views on love and marriage stay. These views may stay with me until death does me part.