Have I ever mentioned how I hate conflict?

Because of that I’ve dragged my feet on writing this post. But no primer on marriage – and no discussion of U2’s music – can avoid that dreaded topic for very long.

I think most married people probably go through a divorce valley at some point in their marriage.

The valley being where the shadow of divorce looms and you dare to let yourself wonder if you made a fatal mistake in getting married to your spouse.

Maybe that valley only lasts for an afternoon or a week. For others it might last for several months or even years.

It’s a wonder anyone emerges from a divorce valley with an intact marriage.

Bono says:

People are desperately trying to hold onto each other in a time when that’s very difficult. Looking around, you see how unprepared for it all people are, and the deals they make. I think there’s very few people writing about this, really.

There are a number of U2 songs about conflict (With Or Without You, Love Is Blindness, Until the End of the World), but if I had to chose one, it would be So Cruel from the Achtung Baby album. It’s written from the perspective of a man who has been rejected by his lover but remains in love with, and tormented by, her.

The song is very dark and bitter and is about infidelity. U2’s guitarist The Edge was going through a divorce during this making of this album and some of that is in this song.

If there’s anything I’ve learned from divorce valleys, it’s that you have to, at some point, show your raw pain. This song does just that and makes for a perfect soundtrack for a divorce valley. Here are the lyrics:

We crossed the line
Who pushed who over?
It doesn’t matter to you
It matters to me
We’re cut adrift
We’re still floating
I’m only hanging on
To watch you go down
My love

I disappeared in you
You disappeared from me
I gave you everything you ever wanted
It wasn’t what you wanted

The men who love you, you hate the most
They pass right through you like a ghost
They look for you, but your spirit is in the air
Baby, you’re nowhere

Oh…love…
You say in love there are no rules
Oh…love…
Sweetheart,
You’re so cruel

Desperation is a tender trap
It gets you every time
You put your lips to her lips
To stop the lie

Her skin is pale like God’s only dove
Screams like an angel for your love
Then she makes you watch her from above
And you need her like a drug

Oh…love…
You say in love there are no rules
Oh…love…
Sweetheart,
You’re so cruel

She wears my love like a see-through dress
Her lips say one thing
Her movements something else
Oh love, like a screaming flower
Love…dying every hour…love

You don’t know if it’s fear or desire
Danger the drug that takes you higher
Head in heaven, fingers in the mire

Her heart is racing, you can’t keep up
The night is bleeding like a cut
Between the horses of love and lust
We are trampled underfoot

Oh…love… You say in love there are no rules
Oh…love…
Sweetheart,
You’re so cruel

Oh…love…
To stay with you I’d be a fool
Sweetheart
You’re so cruel

To hear what this pain sounds like in the form of a guitar solo, go to the 3:15 mark in the song Love Is Blindness and listen until the end of the song. It’s as if The Edge is pouring out all his sadness about his divorce into that solo. Bono describes it as “a more eloquent prayer than anything I could say.”

It would be too depressing if this was always the final word, however. Sometimes love does leave “a window in the skies.” My next post will be about that.


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