Conhecimento-based Love

I’ve been pondering lately what makes marriages tick. Why do certain marriages fail where others succeed? Mostly, I’ve been wondering what I can do to arrive at 50+ years of being happily married.

We recently hit our fifth anniversary with all the bumps and bruises of any marriage, and we’re better for it. I can honestly say I’m happily married, but I know I could be even more happily married. As Courtney and I talked about the subject last night, we came up with a couple things that truly happily married people tend to have. To that list, I add a few that I came up with outside of that discussion.

Faith in God

I’d hesitate to say that not having faith in God is a guarantee of failure, but for me, having faith and believing as I do makes marriage simpler, easier. Knowing that the committment I made is not only with Courtney but with God also adds an extra measure of devotion and desire to seeing our marriage succeed. Faith also provides a united framework upon which we can build.

I have a good friend who claims, and I believe her, that her marriage was largely saved by her faith and committment to a God-centered marriage. When times got rough for her and her husband, that faith forced action to preserve what she had. Times are still occasionally rough for them, but they are more deeply in love now than then.


I’ve long heard that happily married couples keep dating. For us, dating has gotten lost in the mundane routine of raising kids, but we’ve recommitted to dating every week even if it is just staying home and watching a movie together. If you and your spouse are avid daters, please share!


One of the best 20 minutes of my day is my lunch walk. It’s healthy for me (except when the inversion holds all the pollution on the ground like right now), and it clears my mind at work. But mostly, I enjoy it because I call Courtney and we talk. Anymore, it’s one of the rare times we get to talk and even then it is constantly interrupted by at least one screaming child. We typically talk about the “state of affairs” with our home with subjects ranging from finances to home improvement projects to raising the kids to “what’s bothering you” things. In some ways, it has become our status report meeting for the business that is home.


A coworker said this to me today, and I think it stands on its own: Don’t tolerate the differences; savor them!


The thing that has been weighing on my mind most, however, was conhecimento. Conhecimento is a Portuguese term, and it describes exactly what I mean. It comes from the verb conhecer which, translated literally, means to know. But it has such a richer meaning than that. Conhecer means to know personally, intimately, in detail, and I’m coming to believe that it is one of the keys to an eternal marriage.

Conhecimento goes beyond simply knowing what someone’s favorite color is or their favorite author. Conhecimento is an understanding of what that person is, what their dreams are. I personally believe that it comes through years of talking and dating. Years of exploring your spouse’s life, psyche, and soul. It creates the kind of love that looks at the 80-year-old bag of skin sitting next to you and loves based on memory, appreciation, gratitude, knowledge, trust, confidence, and faith. That’s the kind of love that shares volumes with a wink. Conhecimento-based love sees beyond the external beauty that fades and the blemishes that grow. It loves the person, not the body, not their status, and not the external contributions they bring.

That’s what we are shooting for.

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8 Responses to Conhecimento-based Love

  1. nosurfgirl says:

    I never know what to add to posts like these. Thanks for writing it, I guess is all I can say 🙂

  2. Sarah says:

    That was awesome! I hope you reach what you’re shooting for. 😀

    I just realized – I missed your birthday, didn’t I? 😦 Poop. I’ve relied on the family site for so long to tell me these things. I suck. Happy way belated birthday!

    Can I make it up to you by mailing you some fettucini alfredo? Mmmmm ………

  3. daveloveless says:

    Thanks Sarah! And no worries about my birthday. I don’t tell many people.

    But oh man yes… You can send me all the fettucini alfredo you can stuff into an envelope. For those of you who don’t know, Sarah makes the absolute best alfredo in the entire world.

  4. Sarah Bailey says:

    Such a nice post and all I could think was that I always say that I got married so that I didn’t have to date anymore! Such a shame. Maybe I should claim that A and I are always on a date. 😉

  5. nosurfgirl says:

    When was your birthday??? I usually use facebook to tell me now when people have birthdays…

  6. marlajayne says:

    Enjoyed reading this, and like nosurfgirl, I’m not so sure I have anything to add. However, I’m a bit wordy and can usually be counted on to add something. #1. Yes, the faith in God and the knowledge that you’re an eternal couple is fundamental. #2. Dating. My sweet husband and I manage to have date nights, but it’s a lot easier for us than for younger couples since we have no little ones at home. Our challenge is finding different things to do. I bought a book by Lindsay Shumway about dates for LDS couples and have incorporated many of her fun suggestions into our “routine.” #3. That telephone stuff is amazing! There are things that we never bring up at home, but for some reason we converse easily about them on the phone. #4. Yes, by all means. Try to savor those differences; they make life more interesting. #5. I’m shooting for this too. Thanks for expanding my vocabulary and my marriage goals.

  7. Jen says:

    Just ran across this after reading about mental illness and post partum depression (good read by the way….thanks).
    My two cents on making relationships better and eternal. Seek to be unified. I believe that if we desire a fulfilling and joyful eternal relationship that we should seek to be blessed with eternal love and unification. What is eternal love? I believe it is the love that exists between our Father and Mother in heaven and we can pray to be blessed with this type of love. Eternal love forgives quickly, doesn’t hold resenments and unifies two into one. I feel it is a gift from our Father and it helps us to see one another in the way that He does. It is important to protect your spouse in all you do. Never talk negatively about them in front of others or with others. Give them the benefit of the doubt and preserve the trust within your relationship. Never toy with trust. If they know they will always be protected by you and not demeaned, talked negatively about to others, etc. you will attain a love that brings the deepest of joy. Good luck in all you do!

  8. daveloveless says:

    Excellent thoughts Jen and Marla Jayne. Thank you for contributing to this.

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