The Lovers Card
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree and Rising.
I’m trying to explain to my daughter why even meeting a love interest is harder over 40 than it was at 18. People acquire lots of baggage in the interim—debts, children, bankruptcies, alcohol afflictions, trauma, criminal records…wives.
Okay, yes, I admit that when I meet anyone even remotely interesting, the first thing I do is look at his ring finger to see if he’s married. Why? Because in most states, branding is illegal.
Wedding bands, no wedding bands, and those lovely negative space tan lines where wedding bands have been just moments ago but aren’t now all symbolize the institution of legal marriage. (Don’t believe me? Try wearing a non-diamond women’s ring on your finger or any kind of ring other than a band. The symbolism has become too much of a standard and not enough of a symbol beyond what the ads say.) Wedding bands too often are for the public to prove legal property. Many other things can symbolize a love union—a tattoo, a necklace, nothing tangible at all because it’s none of anyone else’s business.
Wedding bands make it easy for people looking for a partner not to waste time. Or do they?
In Tarot, there’s a card known as The Lovers, and it’s always been strange to me that it could represent both a romantic relationship as well as a business partnership. I’ve always thought of it as the former and didn’t really consider so much of the latter.
So a license for a business partnership, tax advantages, insurance advantages, photos and classifieds in the local paper (“Doing business as Mr. and Mrs.)—all the things that come with a business entity. And a wedding band worn by both parties as a public metallic sign of the business contract.
But what is there to show bonding? I find too many married people, men and women, who show no evidence of a love partnership. Not in the way they act toward one another or talk about each other or in the way they welcome or pursue the advances of someone outside the partnership. Some blend the business of marriage with the love—very nice—but, as a new friend volunteered today out of the blue, she married her husband for his medical insurance but, separate from that, she made a love commitment to him for the rest of her life.
Married men will swear that their wives don’t care if they’re having sex with someone else.
Gay and bisexual men who marry for the image they need in their conservative careers will swear their wives don’t mind.
The problem is when one marries for the business partnership and the other thinks it’s a love partnership as well. It’s just not fair to the one who thinks it’s both when she might easily have accepted the relationship as a business deal and conducted a life of love from other sources.
It’s too bad there’s no way of knowing for certain if two people in a marriage have a love bond. You know, like how litmus paper changes color. Some kind of symptom that would be as obvious of their internal bonding with each other as the wedding band is of their external partnership. Something that’s a part of them and not purchased.
Then again, there is a…symptom.
If you’ve ever seen two people who truly love each other together, committed to each other, bonded, then you don’t even notice their ring fingers.
The bond is there, beneath the surface, in the quiet and engaged way they look at one another.
As for me, I’m sticking to advice I was given two years ago this week by Kamala: wed when loved.