This piece of writing by C.S. Lewis begins by featuring a couple that he calls Mr. A and Mrs. B. The relationship between these two characters is founded on the two of them both leaving their spouses to be with each other. In this hypothetical situation Lewis is asking the question whether or not we have the right to pursue happiness even if it is at the cost of someone else’s happiness. How far can we go in our pursuit before we have to draw a line?
Lewis seems to think that we don’t have any right to happiness. We should not be pursuing any actions that will hurt other people. The problem is that no matter what we do someone is going to get the short end of the stick. So who are we to decide who gets less than us or another someone else? I think that Lewis is saying in the end we don’t deserve to be happy, the only reason we may find happiness is because of Jesus and God’s grace. The idea of Shalom is also connected to this reading. Before we can pursue our own happiness we have to try and achieve shalom, which when achieved would essentially make everyone happy.
Back to Mr. A and Mrs. B… Lewis says “when two people achieve lasting happiness this is not solely because they are great lovers but because they are also good people; controlled, loyal, fair-minded, mutually adaptable people.” It’s very possible that Mr. A disregarded all these aspects of his marriage and didn’t try to work it out long enough. Not to say that we have to throw our happiness away to make our spouse happy, but love is something that can make a marriage work and when we make a marriage work we can stay in love. It’s like a continuous circle.