Last night’s rousing discussion about love and romance carried through all evening till midnight. This Lola battled the wits of two female career singles in their near mid-30’s, in quite a stimulating intellectual bruhaha that ended on a plateau to agree to disagree over what a good relationship or marriage should be.
I engaged in a lively brainstorm with two highly professional women from two different countries, each, a medical doctor niched in solid careers. I do not know enough of the lovely ladies’ background or experiences in life, but I know enough to suspect that the impact of life’s circumstances wheeled them to the single-minded perception of the significance (or lack thereof) of love and romance.
Wouldn’t you have wished to be a fly on the wall to eavesdrop on our intellectual dissection of love and romance?
Over slices of sweet and dark chocolate cake with coffee or milk, this animated discussion turned more hyper every minute, only quieted down by each lady’s unbosoming of true love experienced in younger years, but love that was lost, yet love remembered and cherished. A magical hush hovered as each relayed her own dramatic story. The storytelling was mesmerizing … segments of life in panorama. No one minded the clock at that point. The evening had turned compelling.
Lady1 proclaimed, companionship is the mantra for marriage, not necessarily love, and not necessarily romance. Love could just be a bonus that may or may not pop up during the relationship. What matters, she said, is that the couple enters into a customary system of looking after each other. What good is romance or love, if basic needs aren’t met, she argued.
For Lady2, romance is the quintessential ingredient for a serious relationship or marriage. She is looking for a partner that sparks some passion or intense fascination, the kind that rings bells in her ears and stirs butterflies in her stomach. The kind that colors the world, paints gray skies with blue, and sprinkles the air with the effervescent fragrance of flowers. That’s what she’s looking for, the enchantment of romance. I know what this lady means. I’ve been there before.
My take was, a workable marriage or a sound relationship is grounded on love. Romance, in my mind, is a natural flow that can mellow down to faithful and comfortable companionship with the advancement of age, yet never without the gentleness or affection for as long as love persists. When love stays in the undercurrent of squabbles and misunderstandings, selflessness dethrones pride and placates anger. Humility thrives in love, and love, in humility.
Silence. The other two nodded with assent upon my pronouncement of my own sentiments, extracted of course, from my own experiences of love. That triggered a wave of reminiscences from Lady1 and Lady2, who both admitted that at one point in their life, they had been in love. A magnificent feeling that powerfully changes a person from the inside and outside, and at one point in her early adulthood, she was caught in its clutch, according to Lady1. And to Lady2, love spiced the days with anticipation for seeing the beloved, a kind of suspended excitement repeated like a refrain each time she saw him. That was romance, she contended. Time yields mysterious circumstances that redirects life’s paths, and often, by one’s choices. It was such for these two ladies – love that was then, was love lost, but love still remembered and privately hallowed.
What started to stir the brew was when Lady2 blurted that she desires to have a child more than she desires to be married; and that she is open to the probability that she may have or raise a child without a proper husband – unless she meets a man that can whirl her into romance. A provoking idea that immediately prompted Lady1 to raise a gentle rebuke reiterating her supposition that marriage does not need romance to work. If a man can aptly take care of his family, then that is what comprises a happy relationship, Lady1 reasoned. The bells and the butterflies? They really cannot mollify day-to-day demands and needs, but responsibility and good sense can. Clearly a pragmatist and a practical realist, but the romanticist quibbled and did not quiver in her stance. Honestly, at this point and for a dizzying moment, I sat on the fence and teetered between nuggets of truth on both sides.
Then I snapped out of that dark confusion and back to my convictions. Getting off the fence, I stood my ground — love is essential in a marriage or sound relationship. Love pairs with romance, but romance does not necessarily pair with love. It is love that makes the imperfections and inadequacies pale against the genuineness and pure intent of the heart. If I may jump to a higher plane, I would exhort that love is of God, because God is love. Love prevails, because God prevails.
I don’t know if anyone of us felt triumph in our spirited dialectics. But one sure thing I know, we each funneled much food for thought enough to steal our sleep that night.
One lady suddenly interjected the matter of internet dating in our parley. To this Lola, voices were morphing to a blur as the clock was ticking close to midnight – and droopy eyes here said goodnight.