Wednesday, July 18, 2007

How to Be Realistic About Love


"Most people ask more from relationships than relationships can deliver. For many of us, they're the last refuge for redemption, the place we go to be saved. We come across people who are happily married, and it's like a mystery - a rather wonderful mystery. Why? Because it's unusual. To be realistic, one has to acknowledge that a committed relationship, even a good one, involves a great deal of frustration and hinges on how well you can bear that frustration. And, honestly, whether we find a good relationship has a lot to do with luck." - ADAM PHILLIPS, author of Monogamy.

At the beginning of my marriage, I thought I was realistic about love. But after 17 years have passed, I realise that my expectations of marriage and everything it entails were as realistic as the happy endings in Mills & Boons books and fairy tales' happily ever afters. I use to throw such a tantrum whenever my husband forgets our 'meeting anniversaries'. We even had a big fight once just because he forgot to buy me a Valentine's Day card! Pathetic, right?

I'd like to blame Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and every story I have ever read that ended with the two lovers being passionately in love with each other. It didn't just stop there! I also expected my husband and I to be so into each other every second of every minute, every minute of every hour, every hour of every day, every day of every week, every week of every month, every month of every year....for all eternity! Everytime we broke into a fight, I would feel so unloved and thought that the relationship was doomed to end.

Where did all these beliefs come from? Did they really come from reading fairy tales and Mills & Boons romance novels? How did I come to believe that those strappingly handsome heroes with those sexy sirens on the covers of romance novels had anything to do with reality? After all, these books were not found, and can never be found on the shelves of Non-Fiction books.

When I first laid my eyes on the quote above by Adam Phillips, I felt tickled pink! I found myself chuckling. His words rang true... How did I manage to handle the frustrations during the 17 years of marriage? I guess a lot had to do with what I was telling myself in my head regarding what was happening around me when the frustrations were felt. I mean, if I want to be happy, I can't allow any negative beliefs to creep into my head and poison my thoughts. It'll be like imbibing a little poison every day... a slow but certain death would ensue.

Yet, it is still a wonderful mystery to see us last this long and by the looks of it, we will be together a lot longer than I thought we would. Alhamdulillah. God has proven some of my thoughts to be wrong. And as for the luck bit of the quote, I still don't believe in it. But then again, that's what I say today... Tomorrow is another day. Now, that is being realistic.... right?

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