When Virgil wrote, in his tenth Eclogue, that love conquers all – omnia vincit amor – he was not making a statement about the power of love to overcome all obstacles. He was not suggesting that love can or should prevail over anyone or anything that might stand in its way; he was not asserting that love is subject only to its own rules; he was not saying, with the poet Bono, that love is a higher law. He was not saying that love conquers everything. He was saying that love conquers everyone. Love conquers us all – it defeats all of us, it claims dominion over all of us, it overpowers every single one of us – and so we really should just consider surrendering. Omni vincit amor et nos cedamus amori, bitches.
My husband and I have been together for over seventeen years. That’s pretty much the entirety of my adult life, and almost half of my whole life so far. Hopefully, it’s only the beginning. Hopefully, we’ll both live long lives and will celebrate the births of grandchildren and maybe even great-grandchildren and those years of our lives that were spent without each other will seem distant and momentary and we will tell people, we have been together forever.
It seems such a rare thing these days, couple staying together forever. My husband sometimes remarks, when we hear that yet another relationship – a relationship of someone close to us, or someone not close to us, or someone that we only know through People magazine – has foundered on the rocks of infidelity or irreconcilable differences, that it seems that everything, everything these days is stacked against lasting love. What that everything is, he’s not sure, but it worries him, sometimes. What if it comes after us, he asks? What if it sneaks up on us when we’re not looking and consumes us before we even know what’s happened?