Sorry about the title – I had that song in my head. But anyway – I’ve got LOTS to say about love and marriage and relationships, but before I get into the meatier discussions of men, women, relationships, dating, marriage, miscommunication, requirements, etc…we need to get this definition of love out of the way.
What is “love”? Let me tell you what it’s NOT. Love is NOT infatuation. Too many people make this mistake. There is no such thing as love at first sight. When you are at the club, or the store, or church, or wherever you see someone with a tight butt or cute face, you are not thinking “I love him” or “I love her”. You are thinking “Dayum, she got a phat ass!” or “Oooh, he could get it!” Love is NOWHERE in this picture. And the reasons that you go over and get the number or (give it out) have nothing to do with love. You just wanna bang. This is a basic desire that predates religion. It’s why we are on this planet – it is the fundamental genetic drive to ensure the propagation of the species. If you don’t wanna bang, well, you just aren’t human. You’re not even a mammal! This is the first stage of infatuation: basic animal attraction. And we all have it. And it’s a start. If you don’t look at someone and wanna bang them, then they probably aren’t for you long-term. BUT THIS IS JUST THE START.
There’s more: Second Stage Infatuation is that feeling of a fluttering heart, daydreaming about someone, whispering sweet nothings, the excitement of something new, that jazzy feeling at the beginning of a relationship. And it’s INFATUATION that is BLIND! Not love!!! But it doesn’t last forever. Now here’s the problem – infatuation CAN last as much as a year or two! Infatuation is “the thrill”, and everything that goes with it. Romance is a vehicle to extend infatuation. If you want your man to be romantic (or your woman), what you REALLY want is for that person to rekindle the infatuation that you felt when you met them. This is where women go wrong. They feel like, if the man stops romancing them, then they fall out of love with them. No. NO I SAY! You have fallen out of infatuation. You may never have been in love. And the same goes for men. If you want your woman to drop 15 lbs and wear something with the ass cut out of it, what you REALLY want is to get that jazzy “I gotta HAVE you!” feeling back. I propose this: if you fall out of love with a woman because she gained some weight – you never loved her in the first place. (*this is within reason, of course.) And back to the ‘blind’ thing: if you get mad at someone and start to see all their faults and are shocked that you didn’t notice it earlier, you were simply infatuated and too blind to see it. As Oaktown 3-5-7 put it: “Juicy…got ’em crazy!” LOL!
So what IS love then, Joy? Since you know so dayum much!! Well, first I am going to have to go a little existential and abstract on you. Follow me on my tangent (cha’mon!)
Most of you may have never heard of this movie, but my favorite movie of all time is The 5th Element. Not because it’s silly and futuristic, and has Bruce Willis and Chris Tucker in it – although those things do help. But it’s my favorite because the moral to the story is that love saves the universe. The movie centers around the idea that there are four elements that come together with a fifth to destroy evil. The fifth element is this girl, and she is touted as the ultimate weapon against evil. And yet she can’t work, can’t function to save the universe, unless she has love in her heart. She sees the destruction that humans have done and wonders what is worth saving? Only love is. And she didn’t know love. But when she finds it, the love that she has shines a light into the universe to save life as we know it. So there were 5 elements in the film: earth, wind, fire, water, and LOVE. It was a basic fundamental force for good. And that pretty much sums up how I feel about love – it is the light of the universe. God is love. (See, I’m not just funny, I can be deep, too!)
So few people understand this: love is the desire to do good for the people around you with no benefit to yourself. Love is charity, love is selflessness. The ability to love others is a divine gift. Lord knows most people are assholes and totally don’t deserve it. That’s why love has to be GIVEN. Love is looking at someone and thinking “I want to make you safe and happy. Period.” From the other side, love is looking at someone and BEING happy, being with them. It doesn’t require fancy dates, and expensive presents and poems and such. Those are tools to keep a person infatuated until they realize they love you. And there’s the thing! Love grows over time. I firmly believe that anyone can love anyone else if they spend enough time with them. The TYPE of love may be different (you don’t love your girlfriend like you love your sister, etc). This is why infatuation does have a place – if you don’t want to bang the person you’re with, you are probably destined to be friends. You may still love them, but without that “I gotta have you!” feeling, it won’t be a good romantic relationship. (Side note – if you know a man who complains that his wife won’t give him sex….she married her friend.)
But think about this: Have you ever had a friend that everyone else wondered WHY you were friends with that whack-job? And yet, you love or loved that person. This is just as common for men as it is for women, although men tend to not think of themselves as loving their boyz. Whatever – if you would jump into a fight with him or loan him money, you probably love him. Doesn’t mean you want to kiss him. Get over it. Love is ride or die. When you spend time with someone, you get to know their eccentricities, their pet peeves, their good and bad points. And you appreciate the good, and you excuse the bad. It’s not that you don’t see the faults – you just recognize them and move on. YOU ACCEPT THEM AS THEY ARE AND DO NOT TRY TO CHANGE THEM. I have a friend from college that used to TELL people that she could be a real bitch. And she was right! But I love her to this day. And she loves me. I have tagged over a dozen people that I know have MAD love for me (and right back atcha, peeps!). These are folks that will come to my rescue, keep me sane, tell me when I am full of shyt, remind me of how great I am when I am feeling down. They will drive me home when I’ve been drinking, or get drunk with me if I need them to. You wanna know about ride or die? I bought my friend a used car, in HER name, to give her transportation and to boost her credit rating. Why? She desperately needed it and I could get it for her. I wanted her to be safe, and happy. Period. I got nothing out of it. But I love her! And that’s just friendship!
So what is the defining characteristic of romantic love between a man and a woman?
I have a pair of friends getting married in December. Let’s call them Frank and Edna. 😀 After all the ups and downs in their relationship, and before the engagement, Frank was sitting on the couch one day looking at Edna. She looked back at him, irritated, like “what?!?!” He said to her: “I just fell in love with you all over again.” All the ladies: 1…2…3… Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!
That is the very essence of what it takes to be in a solid relationship. When you love someone, you stay with them. It’s a CHOICE we make, every day. Every day that you wake up and look at them, you make a decision to stay. People suck. ALL people suck! NOBODY is awesome all the time! EVERYONE has issues. But when you are around those issues, and that sucker-ass behavior, you get used to it. And then the other things – the GOOD things, start to shine through. You weigh the good and the bad and the good wins. Or, you weigh the good and the bad and the BAD wins, but you know that it wasn’t always like that. If the bad wins for long enough, you have to leave out of self-preservation. But it doesn’t mean you didn’t love that person. And if they get their shyt together, you would probably go back. If love depended on what someone could do for you, then the minute they stopped doing it, the love would be gone. Women would leave their men, and vice versa, at the first sign of trouble. AND THIS HAPPENS EVERY DAY. People get infatuated, get married, and then the thrill ends and they get divorced. But if they had just made the decision to stay….. who knows.
My grandmother and grandfather were married for over 50 years, until the death of my grandfather in 1999. From the time I was born, all I saw was a deep and abiding love between them. They would fuss, sure. But I never doubted that they loved each other. It wasn’t until 2004 that, after Thanksgiving dinner, my grandmother told me that she couldn’t stand my grandfather for the FIRST TWO YEARS OF MARRIAGE!!! What. The. Hell? They got married because she got pregnant, and moved from the country in Texas to Houston – during the Great Depression. You think YOU’VE got money problems…. She told me that she cried all the time. He was mean to her (not hitting her, but you know, didn’t want to put up with a silly girl). She was 17, and he was 21. But all they had was each other. And she didn’t want to go back to the country. So she stayed. And she ‘learned’ him. And he learned her. And they had some jokes. And he took her dancing. He didn’t dance, but he knew SHE liked to dance, so he would take her to dances and then stand in the corner smoking and making sure nobody got more than one dance with her. And HE liked to eat, so she would make sure that he had good food all the time. And they talked. And they grew to love each other. So check this out – they met, they wanted to bang (and they did), they got married, and then they fell in love. Sounds out of order, doesn’t it? But they were married for 50+ years? So do they have it wrong, or do we?
Love grows, just like a child. It has an inception – that day that you realize that you would do anything for this person, and that you feel better just being near them. That’s the birth of love. It doesn’t take long to get there. But love has to grow. It has an infancy, a puberty and a full grown stage. Most people give up on love at the infancy stage. Some people even abort it. Any couple that is happily married will tell you that they love their spouse more now than they did when they got married. If they don’t, they probably are not happily married. I will talk about marriage in another rant, though. That will take forever.
I will say this: There is no such thing as a love-hate relationship. It is really a love-getting-on-my-damn-nerves relationship. But EVERY relationship has this to some varying degree. One of my friends related this tale to me: she was crying to one of her married friends about still being single and approaching mid-life. She wondered why she kept getting hurt and disappointed. The married friend replied: “You don’t think that happens in a marriage? Nobody can hurt me like my husband does.” This does NOT mean that she was getting beat by her husband. It only means that her husband, whom she loves, has the easiest access to her heart. And he wasn’t hurting her on purpose. Speaking as someone that wakes up with mysterious bruises and lives ALONE, I can tell you that accidents happen – both physical and psychological. So the only difference between marriage and single life is that when you are single, you get hurt by many random people (…and you bang many random people). When you are married, you get hurt by that same person over and over again (…ditto on the banging). So love in a marriage isn’t so much about how your heart flutters when you look at them, but more about how you DON’T pick up a knife and stab them in their sleep. If you wake up every morning and your husband or wife isn’t sitting there fondling the blade of a dagger, count yourself lucky that they love yo’ stupid ass that much.
Rant Vol. 15 done, and I’m out.