Do you believe that a person could find great, lasting love more than once in a lifetime?
I spent all day yesterday thinking about this, ever since I read You May Want To Marry My Husband, an astonishing piece by novelist Amy Krouse Rosenthal, published last Friday in the New York Times. Rosenthal is terminally ill with ovarian cancer and the post recommends the many excellent qualities of her beloved husband of more than 26 years to an unknown woman in the hope that there will be a second great love story in his future.
I strongly recommend you click here to read. Have tissues to hand.
My first reactions on reading the piece were, unsurprisingly, sorrow for the writer’s illness; wonder and joy at her beautiful description of a strong and loving marriage; and admiration that she would express her love for her husband in such a generous way in such a desperate situation.
My next thought was to hope that she would get her wish. Hard on the heels of that I wondered whether it was possible. After living so long in such a happy marriage, with such a conclusion, I could imagine the survivor eventually finding contentment or mutual respect with another person, but I couldn’t imagine experiencing that depth of love twice in a lifetime. I’ve been trying to think of real life examples, but so far I’ve come up empty.
I’d love to be proved wrong, because it occurs to me that if such double happiness is possible, and if nobody has written this story, somebody should.
Lisa Cron of Story Genius says we humans read fiction to plan for the future, to work out how we would deal with the unexpected: “Stories let us vicariously try out difficult situations we haven’t yet experienced…”
Even in fictional form, a story like this might give hope and encouragement to another person facing a dreadful predicament.
Do you believe lightning can strike twice in one lifetime? Do you know of any books or movies that have credibly portrayed such a love story?