Marry a man who loves you more than you love him
My mother once told me:
When you hold a man’s hand and he makes your heart beat faster and he makes you feel giddy and excited, walk away from this man. He is not the man for you. If you hold a man’s hand and he makes you feel warm, safe and secure, hold onto him. This is the man you are going to marry.
I was 16 when my mother told this to me. At that time, I thought it made absolutely no sense and I told my mother that she was insane if she thought I was going to be some mechanical, unfeeling being who would pick the “safe” choice over the great love affair that burns with a passion deep enough to consume us. I have always been someone who gets carried away by her feelings. When my mother said that I should marry a man who loves me more than I love him, I thought it an impossible feat. By nature, I have always been the one who over-invests in a relationship and thus, I felt that I would always be the one who will love the other person more. But as I grew up, I began to tear the veil from my eyes and see that love is not just some Walt Disney movie with a fairytale ending. Love is hard. Relationships are hard. We do not always get what we want and often, a burning passion is not enough to make a relationship work.
The other day, a friend and I were having our weekly lunch at Uni, and the topic of love came up. She mentioned that unlike her previous relationship, she felt no great overwhelming passion for her current boyfriend and it was definitely a case of her boyfriend loving her more than she loved him. Yet, it felt good. She was learning to love him more each day and she felt it was something that would last longer.
And she was right..
Somehow, along the way, we grew up and so did our ideas of love. When we were young and feckless, we thought love had to be the kind that encompassed great passion and had to be highly dramatic and we were all entranced with the idea of “as long as we love each other, everything will be fine”. Things change…and suddenly passion was no longer desired but the feeling of security was.
My parents did not marry because they were in love. Like many of their generation, they got married because it was time and both were suitable parties. Yet, in 32 years of marriage, they have learnt to love each other and are comfortable with each other. My father is not a romantic man. He does not extend romantic gestures towards my mother and yet, it is in the little things that he does for her everyday that shows how much he loves her. My parents like to go for a morning walk, time permitting, around the Botanic Gardens. On one such occasion, my mother’s shoelace came loose and my father, a prominent business man and 10 years her senior, squatted down in public at a traffic light to re-tie them for her because he knew she had a knee problem that would have prevented her from tying them herself. When my parents go on trips, my father often leaves my mother to sleep in while he goes out to buy her breakfast.
My mother is not big on expressing sentiments either. Once, my mother came to visit me in Australia, and I asked her if she would miss my father. Her response was a vehement “No, of course not! I won’t miss the snoring!!!” But her actions said otherwise. My mother would call my father at least once a day while she was in Australia to check in on him. And I realized that despite my father’s frequent traveling, my parents did not spend more than 24 hours apart without at least one phone call.
When I was younger, I told myself that I would not be like my parents and that I would marry for love. Now that I am older (and hopefully wiser), I realize that what I really want is a marriage like my parents; One where we are comfortable with each other and learn to love each other more each day. A relationship that starts at the peak with an all-consuming passion has a higher risk of burning out quickly. It is my belief that a relationship that starts on a strong foundation of moderate love, mutual respect, shared beliefs and tolerance has a greater potential of growing better each day…just like fine wine.
As the saying goes..
I love you more today than I did yesterday, but not as much as tomorrow.