“Many men hoard for the future husbands of their wives.” – Solomon Ibn Gabirol
Do you want an endless love?
Most of us do. We dream about it since we see our first Disney movie, and seek it more passionately since we experience our first existential loneliness. Then, when we find love and make our vows, we hope to experience nothing but profound partnership and desire till death do us part.
But can we love each other forever?
Yes, we can.
It’s not easy, though. Each of us has different needs, red-lines, and buttons that the other is bound to push by mistake. Repetitively.
Life-long love doesn’t happen by itself. To gain it, we must make the following choices, and avoid these 5 crucial mistakes many of us use to make:
1. Select A Person, Not A Product
As consumption and investments become a favorite part of our lives, we use our commercial interested-yet-suspicious attitude in our relationships as well. Consequently, we tend to treat our future loves in the following romantic way:
- Surveying their package, and looking for flaws.
- Going over our desired features list and checking their boxes.
- Trying their usability, while comparing with the alternatives.
- Making a decision and a commitment. Then seeing the better options not taken.
- Replacing them when we find a fault, when their serviceableness is reduced, or when a new version shows up.
Unfortunately, unlike purchasing, good connection requires time, openness, and listening – all the things the consumer society taught us to fear.
Yet, unlike purchasing, which leaves us lonely and hollow, a connection makes us feel loved and significant. So it’s probably worth the courage.
Therefore, even if you’re having trouble with accepting some of your sweetheart’s faults (such as disliking your favorite Quidditch team), it’s probably not a big deal (except for the team). Replacing spouses over and over, on the other hand, is bound to somewhat spoil the quality of your main connection in life. Regardless of your new sweethearts’ glorious height and weight, replacements may not be the most recommended course of action to gain eternal love.
2. Pick Your Spouse For Yourself, Not For Your Audience
Since the social media turned us all into mini-celebrities, sometimes it looks like we, too, live for the sake of our virtual audience, picking our activities according to their photographic potential. Nevertheless, determining who would be your partner-for-life based on your audience’s suspected preferences might not be a brilliant idea.
When you have to deal together with the inevitable work-crises, dysfunctional families or unhealthy children, an uncaring enviable other half will leave you to cope with it alone. The bigger the disaster, the faster they’ll fade away. You’d be amazed which depths of loneliness you can reach that way. Choosing a sweetie less presentable and more reliable, however, can strengthen your love for the long run.
Hence, dating a selfish prom queen, though not recommended, may not cause any ever-lasting effects. Marrying only self-centered famous models or powerful billionaires, however, may turn your hopes for happily-ever-after into a reality of sadly-not-anymore.
3. Treat Your Spouse As A Partner, Not As A Worker
Having an attendant to take responsibility for the dirty work is understandably compelling to many. Yet, the unpaid drudges have a tendency to leave unexpectedly, for some incomprehensible reason. This coveted love story, therefore, is usually more like a poem.
Another minor problem of such authoritative marriages is that in order to command, you must keep your distance. Generally, keeping distance is not the main pillar on which love is built. Somewhere deep in our hearts, we all hope to find the safe place where we can reveal all of our faults, fears and fetishes, and still be completely loved. Love is where you can take off all of your masks, even the stickier ones.
Not being able to share your feelings means staying lonely in your not-so-intimate relationship. And if you’re lonely, what is this relationship all about?
Having very loud quarrels about who does what may not ruin your love, as long as the solutions you find satisfy both of you. Dragging your bored-looking wife around the world to smile quietly during your meetings, however, seems to take unpaid work to new pinnacles of ill repute.
4. Regard Your Differences As Opportunities, Not As Your Lover’s Inadequacies
Seeing ourselves as the ideal is natural. If we didn’t think our way is the best, why would we choose it? Yet, most of us learned, at the age of two, to respects others’ ways and desires as well. That is, until we fall in love.
After absorbing enough romantic songs and movies, around the age of sweet sixteen, we know for sure that love is about finding your soul mate, the one who thoroughly knows your soul, the one who sees the world the way you see it. Logically, you conclude that your beloved should always agree with you.
The first disagreement, therefore, comes as a huge surprise. Obviously you won’t start doubting our entire culture, so you have no choice but to doubt your disappointing darling. Your disparities make you understand that your sweetie is wrong, and needs some fixing in order to be perfect again. Your dearest, needless to say, is deeply offended by the idea that you, the wrong one, dare to imagine they can err.
Only understanding that our different points of view are power and not (only) a difficulty, can enable us to solve the problems respectfully together, and ensure our happily after.
Pouting at your lover’s tardiness may not be too bad. Sharing jokes about defects of the other’s gender, on the other hand, is probably taking disrespect too far, even if you can publicly laugh at your own gender as well.
5. Give Your Better-Half Your Best Time, Not The Leftovers
Our romantic culture teaches us that to gain your love you’re supposed to pursue it through walls of thorns, until the wedding. Then you can take your armor off, take a beer, and sit in front of the TV. You and your spouse will live idly happily ever after, minding your own businesses, for love will take care of itself.
This attitude is somewhat problematic. Your wedding day becomes the happiest day of your life because afterward everything surprisingly deteriorates. Eventually, half of the couples get divorced. The solution, apparently, is to not take your one-and-only for granted. (With this divorce rates, they surely aren’t.)
Instead of spending all of our time and energy on important stuff like work, kids and the internet, we may want to dedicate some to our significant others. There is no other way to maintain our love but to prioritize the love-of-your-life high enough to frequently give them some quality time.
Having a tough week and getting to be with your loved one only on the weekend may not be disastrous, if this is an exception. Choosing to be the president of a big country which your wife has no aspiration of leading, anyway, may indulge too much time for talks with politicians and too little time for the forsaken first lady.
The Power Of The Right Choices
Learning to choose and honor our spouses for who they are, instead of disrespecting them for not being who we (reasonably) believe they should be, can help us improve ourselves.
Through our relationships, especially through our painful conflicts, we can learn to treat our significant others as significantly worthy of our time and efforts. Repeatedly paying attention to our choices will make us better lovers, better parents, and better humans.
Therefore, we may want to (suspiciously) consider this challenging mindful decision-making.
When we manage to improve ourselves through our loves and become more attentive people, it can eventually improve our entire society, and even our entire world.
So we better try to improve our relationships.
One conflict at a time.
One choice at a time.