One of the abiding mysteries of human relationships is how people who can hardly stand each other still remain married or in some such relationships. There may be abuse, discord, and distance leading to suffering to one or both parties. Yet the relationship seems to withstand it all. Here is a story that may throw some light on this.

A woman spoke about the frustrations in her marriage. “My husband and I have little in common. If we had children we could talk about them. We speak of nothing personal or intimate to each other. In fact, we don’t even share our bed any longer,” she said.

“What keeps you together then?” the sage asked.

“I guess both of us are scared to face the facts,” she said. “Both of us are afraid to be lonely.”

The sage said, “Fear is known to hold people together long after love has failed.” (Francis J Padinjarekara: A Dewdrop in the Ocean. Mumbai: Awareness Arc, 2009)

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