THE popular saying “One man’s meat is another man’s poison” is definitely true with reference to what makes people feel loved. While one person may see an act of kindness as an expression of love, to another it may be the attention showered on her, while to someone else, positive comments are what make for love. This is what couples must realise in order to enjoy the best relationship marriage can offer, and to sustain the love that brought them together as couples.
When two people fall in love they become emotionally obsessed with each other. They sleep and wake up thinking of each other, and how wonderful their life will be together forever. They speak poetic words, act lovingly towards each other, overlook one another’s faults easily, bear with one another things that will ordinarily piss them off, and above all, feel there is nothing that can separate them from one another.
Furthermore, they also feel they know each other well enough to be able to handle themselves, or cope with those things that make them look incompatible to those close to us. According to Gary Chapman, in his book, The Five Languages Of Love, “The person who is ‘in love’ has the illusion that his beloved is perfect. His mother can see the flaws but he can’t. His mother says, ‘Darling, have you considered she has been under psychiatric care for five years?’ But he replies, ‘Oh, mother, give me a break. She’s been out for three months now.’ His friends also can see the flaws, but are not likely to tell him unless he asks, and chances are he won’t because in his mind she is perfect and what others think doesn’t matter.”
This is what makes many people feel that love is blind. At this stage of falling in love, caution is thrown to the wind, and we believe everything our love partner says, without questioning it; we ignore every warning signal that all may not be well. But, eventually, marriage opens our eyes. We now realise that falling in love is an illusion whose average life span is very short. According to Dr. Dorothy Tennov, a psychologist, the average lifespan of a romantic obsession is two years, which may last a little longer for a secretive love affair.
Eventually, after marriage, our eyes become opened, and we begin to see the weaknesses of our partner: irritating behaviour, annoying attitude, hurtful mannerism etc. We suddenly remember those warning signals that we ignored, and ask ourselves questions we should have asked before getting married. At this point, best love birds of three years ago can suddenly become covenant enemies, with the marriage platform as the battlefield.
What happens to love in marriage?
Love turns sour in marriage because before marriage, lovers don’t take enough time to understand what their love languages are. That is, they do not understand what makes each partner feel loved. Rather, we assume that the nice looks, the tender care, loving comments, caring acts, and even emotional tearful demonstrations are all what make us feel loved. While all of us need all the above ingredients of love, the one that makes a person feel most loved differs from partner to partner. It is the fact that we don’t know and understand this difference that accounts for the many heartbreaks we see in marriage. For instance, a husband keeps slaving himself out to provide for his home, spending most of his time outside the home. Yet, his wife seems unappreciative of it. To her, slaving himself to provide all she needs is not what makes her feel loved. She prefers that out of his hardworking effort, time is created for a regular time of closeness with her in the house. And this is driving the husband crazy. He just cannot understand why she seems not to appreciate all of his effort, and every attempt by his wife to get him reason with her he sees as a misplaced priority on her part. The problem here is simply not knowing each other’s love languages.