Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Anatomy of Love

Before I met my husband, when my friends asked me what kind of a man would I consider marrying, I actually spelt out a list of criteria. He has to be tall, lean, fair skinned, moustached, wavy haired, bespectacled, malay but not melayu, has a good sense of humour but knows when to be serious, experienced but ready to settle down and be loyal to me, speaks good english, not necessarily highly educated but is intelligent and resourceful, spontaneous but careful, knows how to have fun but also capable of focusing on important issues. When my friends heard this, they actually said, "Mana ada orang macam tu kat dunia ni?! You are asking for the perfect man. He doesn't exist!" I replied, "Kalau macam tu, I tak kawin pun tak pe!"

I reckon the reason why I felt as though I have met my husband before when we first laid eyes on each other, was because of this profile. Also, I have always believed in the concept of soulmates. Allah AlMighty had said that He had created every creation of His in pairs and that each has their own predestined mate. Funny, how this concept has recently been supported by an article in a magazine Psychology Today. Here's an excerpt of an article written by Helen Fisher, Ph.D entitiled The Laws Of Chemistry:

"Among the myriad forces that sculpt our romantic choices is what I call your "love map," an unconscious list of qualities you begin to build in childhood. Your mother's wit and way with words; your father's interest in politics and tennis; what your siblings like and hate; the values of your friends and teachers; what you see on television. All your childhood (and adult) experiences shape and reshape your template of the ideal romantic partner.

"By the teenage years, each of us has constructed an idiosyncratic catalog of traits, values, aptitudes, and mannerisms that appeal to us. Then, when the timing is right and we meet a person who registers on our love map, a cascade of brain chemicals is triggered that tells us with euphoric certainty that we have found the one."

The One, is who I mean by soulmate. This concept became the foundation of my belief system and I preached and freely shared this point of view shamelessly with anyone who was willing to listen. However, one day, during my 7th year of marriage, I woke up one morning and felt nothing but disdain towards my husband. However, to imagine not being his wife was enough to break my heart! I felt utterly confused! Why was I feeling this way? It would have been easier on the heart if I could easily walk away from him. But somehow, I couldn't. Helen Fisher explained further in her article when she went on to say:

"But I have come to believe that there's more to mate choice than your childhood, your background, your values, and your degree of good looks. These variables act in tandem with a silent partner: your biology. What sparked my thinking on this was a classic study now commonly known as the sweaty T-shirt experiment.

"Women are unconsciously attracted to men with a different immune system; they do it by smell. If you are attracted to someone whose immune system is different from yours, why wouldn't you also be attracted to those with other genetic differences? Mates with distinctly different genetic profiles would produce more genetically varied young."

Somehow, around October 2006, I stumbled upon the smellmate concept and when I read the above passage, I was glad that I wasn't going out of my head after all! I've realised that the reason why I couldn't walk away from my husband was because he smelt right! This smell concept also proved that my brothers were not good for me as a mate. They smell foul to me. But only to me! Because they sure smell good to their respective wives! One has 2 children and my youngest brother has 4 children to boot! They definitely smell good to their wives!

"Perhaps mate choice operates like a funnel. First you see a potential partner and size him or her up - physically. Too big, too little, too old, too young, too pink, too green, too messy, too neat. If they make the cut, then you talk. A bad accent, a dumb remark, a tastelesss joke, a touch of arrogance, or some other idiosyncrasy may nip the budding romance. But if this stranger comes from your background, is of the right age, shares your level of intelligence and education, appears humorous and socially adept, has your values, fits within your love map, and the timing is right, you proceed. In these ways, similarity regularly reigns.

"Then comes your needs, psychological and physical. Many exchange good looks for money or rank. We are often attracted to those who mask our flaws and accentuate our better parts. Roles are important, too. As you size up him or her, you ponder whether you'd be comfortable as the wife of this college professor or the husband of that cafe singer. as you weigh the myriad social factors, I suspect that unconscious biological mechanisms are subtly pulling you toward those who complement you genetically.

However, how do you explain the many couples of soulmates that I have met who still have misunderstandings towards one another? Helen Fisher explains: "Perhaps some of the ubiquitous marital friction stems from the need to choose our partners suitable for producing and raising babies - but not altogether understandable as companions."

There you have it! The explanation of the anatomy of love. But there is one crucial thing that I want to share with everyone as to why I chose to marry my husband. There was this one time, before we got married, that I was upset about something that made me cry. He lovingly caught a drop of my falling tear with his finger. That simple but loving act made me feel something I had never felt before.... I felt PRECIOUS! That was when I thought, "I'm never gonna let this man go. I'm his forever."

17 years of marriage and counting. And believe me when I say this: Yes. It does get better with age. Just like wine and cheese. The sex, the love, the understanding, the communication.... the works!

1 comment:

walkthrulife said...

You are a lucky lady Kak Jo..and so is Abang Jas. Found each other, fell in love and still very much in love. Have 2 wonderful daughters that adores the both of you.

I am still praying and hoping to find my soulmate.