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TO DOROTHY L. SAYERS: On the deep lessons in love that Lewis was learning.
25 June 1957
I ought to tell you my own news. On examination it turned out that Joy’s previous marriage, made in her pre-Christian days, was no marriage: the man had a wife still living. The Bishop of Oxford said it was not the present policy to approve re-marriage in such cases, but that his view did not bind the conscience of any individual priest. Then dear Father Bide (do you know him?) who had come to lay his hands on Joy—for he has on his record what looks very like one miracle—without being asked and merely on being told the situation at once said he would marry us. So we had a bedside marriage with a nuptial Mass.
When I last wrote to you I would not have wished this; you will gather (and may say ‘guessed as much’) that my feelings had changed. They say a rival often turns a friend into a lover. Thanatos [the Greek god of death], certainly (they say) approaching but at an uncertain speed, is a most efficient rival for this purpose. We soon learn to love what we know we must lose.
I hope you give us your blessing: I know you’ll give us your prayers. She is home now, not because she is better (though in fact she seems amazingly better) but because they can do no more for her at the Wingfield: totally bed-ridden but—you’d be surprised—we have much gaiety and even some happiness. Indeed, the situation is not easy to describe. My heart is breaking and I was never so happy before: at any rate there is more in life than I knew about. My own physical pains lately (which were among the severest I’ve known) had an odd element of relief in them.
• From The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis
• Compiled in Yours, Jack