Thursday, May 7, 2009

From Yin-Yang

In my quest for the one, I ask myself, what is love? Is it something one can achieve, or ...? (i.e. a noun), or is it a process (i.e. a verb)?

I spoke with my good friend, an Arab, who is married to an East Asian. They have been married for 11 years, and alhamdullilah, going strong. It's so beautiful to see them together each time.

What is keeping them together, and still so in love, despite the differences in culture etc?

He told me three things:

1. They are best friends (vs. just spouses).
2. Most people have a deluded perception of what love is.
3. Lack of financial worries.

1. Best friends (below are his words)

There’s some sort of loyalty that we feel towards our best friends. For example, if my best friend wronged me, I will confront him/her, rather than go find another friend and talk about the issue behind his/her back.

Somehow, people feel it’s acceptable nowadays to cheat on one’s spouse. Being disloyal to one’s best friend (lying to your best friends about your weekend plans to go hang out with some other friends) is almost unheard of, unless they’re not your best friend.

I’m even honest about finding some other woman attractive: I actually tell my wife! You’d tell your best friend, but not your wife. Guess what? My wife IS my best friend so I tell her everything.

I have an open honest relationship with her. She appreciates that I told her at least. We both learn from it. Of course, since I’ve grown quite cynical about the world around me, I don’t actually find any of these shallow women attractive in the least so that doesn’t happen anymore.

Normal spouse: that’s self explanatory. The wife is just that: a wife, emphasis on the indefinite article ‘a’, meaning nothing special, and whatever connotations the title ‘wife’ carries in the west: boring, nagging, possessive, intrusive, motherly, not fun…etc. Wife as your best friend is something completely different.

2. Perception of Love:

Love is that unquestionable affection you feel towards someone. There’s no doubt in it; only certitude.

It’s something you know for a fact yet cannot quite explain or encapsulate with words. When you love someone, you love everything about them, both the beauties and the blemishes (you love them whether their breath stinks in the morning, or just came out of the shower sparkling clean). When you love someone, bonding with them becomes easy yet complex (true love isn’t simple, which means it’s not problem free).

Any relationship is just a series of exchanges and compromises. I reached that conclusion about two years ago. A relationship fails because of at least one of the parties refuses/complicates an exchange (feelings, actions, words) or is unwilling to compromise.

I have a short temper, and sometimes I say something I don’t really mean to my wife. She compromises by letting me get away with it. I then apologize (I too compromise, and we exchange gratitude).

Problem solved, we’re both richer for the experience, we grow more mature and more appreciative of one another in the end.

3. Financial dissatisfaction promised me this, you never give me that.

I think part of the reason why my spouse and I get along so well (mashaAllah) is because we both have one thing in common about money: we care about it less than average.

Neither of us longs for a house. Neither of us cares about brand name products. Neither of us worries about money. AlhamduliLlah, so neither one of us has unmet financial expectations.

I am not sure if any married couples or singles have any thoughts on this?


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