Stages Of Love (2)

Aidy Thomas

Aidy Thomas


Aidy Thomas

The transition from the first level of romantic love to a second stage where marriage survives only by decision and commitment is serious business. Here, you watch your romantic feelings crumble into how he treats you before people, how she looks after giving birth, why he wouldn’t come home early and eat dinner with the family, why she leaves the house so messy and a whole lot of that. In other words, you are welcome to ‘reality.’

What I’ve come to discover is that the second stage of marriage is much more intentional than the first. There must be a conscious effort to make marriage work. This is not a surprise to me because I know that the more you relate closely with someone, the more faults you discover and for sincerity sake, let’s admit it is not easy to love people when they exhibit traits we don’t feel comfortable with.

People would prefer their loved ones to do things excellently, strive for perfection even when it is not attainable, show respect without limits and be ready to do whatever life requires just to make them happy. In most cases, we know clearly that what we are expecting of others is out of this world, but we still find ourselves pressing hard to get our demands. However, for those who make the commitment to transition from the baby love stage to maturity reap astounding harvest. Love will work if we work at it.

Through my years of experience, I’ve come to discover, as I meet and counsel couples, that what makes one person feel loved is completely different from what tucks the other. I have heard a husband complain before that “I don’t know what my wife wants any more; I have given her all a woman should possibly ask for in a marriage. I buy her expensive jewellery, nice home, cars and lots of money for comfort, yet she sobs all night, refuses to eat and feels life’s unfair to her. She even has the guts to tell me I do not love her.” I responded by using his very words: “I don’t know what my wife wants any more.”

Really, this young husband did not know what the wife wanted or needed most in the relationship. Men should know that women, not commercial ones, desire something deeper and worthwhile than just material things. Her deep capacity for affection makes daily expression of love a vital part of existence. She wants ‘you’ (men are nearly ignorant of a woman’s need for romantic love because the old thinking placed emphasis on a woman’s responsibility to fulfil a man’s sexual need over her need to enjoy romance.

Sexual act is a man’s thing but romance or tender care is a woman’s cry, more than any other thing you can ever imagine. It is easy for a woman to work and earn money, acquire great wealth for herself but she can never offer emotional comfort, no matter how much she knows or understands her need and that is where a man is king.

On the other hand, a woman who pays the bills at the end of every month, settles children’s school fees but talks to the husband with disrespect can never be counted as a good wife. She wonders all her life, “why can’t this man appreciate what I’m doing for the family”? Little does she know that what the man’s love goes beyond her financial contribution. He desires to be respected and treated as king even when his pocket is empty.

Relationship needs of this century seem to differ a great deal from our mother’s time when parents could just bring children together, even when they don’t know each other, contract a marriage and it would work. These days, couples need a lot more than just living together as man and wife; they want companionship and expressive love. When a man is bullied at at work by his boss, sometimes a younger chap, he naturally comes home with the hope of being received romantically by his darling wife, who opens her arms wide for a warm embrace, telling him how much he’s been missed throughout the day. The man may not necessarily tell her how badly his boss treated him, but within him, he thinks ‘thank God, I’m not altogether useless, if John, my boss called me a fool simply because of a mixed up data at work, here is someone, my wife, who feels I am a brilliant guy.’ How sweet and soothing is this thought? You are virtually building this man by being a good wife.

Marriage is such an institution that demands complete commitment and dedication to one being you have chosen to go into a covenant relationship with. The word ‘choice’ is what rings a bell in my head any time a situation occurs in marriage. Whichever way you look at it, marriage starts and ends with ‘choice,’ you chose to marry him or her, you have to choose to remain married and even when the ugly happens, it’s still your choice to divorce (I don’t encourage couples to divorce), find a way to work things out because there is no marriage without challenges. Living with another person would definitely require extra effort, if harmony is your goal.

The bulk of work in the second stage of marriage lies where you intentionally decide to put in your all to make it work. A total evaluation of the person you are dealing with is necessary, you cannot relate well with an individual if you do not know what he or she likes or dislikes. Getting to know personalities is not a day’s job, I must tell you before you jump into quick conclusions and feel frustrated over the unproductive results you are getting. Building anything to a point where others look and admire is never a cheap screw, it takes time, strength and lots of other investments. Once you’ve identified the ‘person’ you are in love with, taking your eyes off what you want to get from the relationship first and striving to please your spouse becomes the next hurdle.

Every human being is selfish and would want his or her needs met first but the equation of marriage balances well when you decide to give first and lovingly guide the other to understand your needs. Any spouse who feels loved and respected is most likely to reciprocate this gesture. A woman once said to me, “I don’t want to hurt my husband because he goes out of his way to make me happy.” What a comment? If her husband did not prove to be good, you think she would have given a thought whether what she’s doing was offending him or not? As a matter of fact, she would purposely do things to upset him just to pay back for his rudeness (but I don’t support that).

For me, the bond of marriage should be stronger than mere feelings and emotions. Feelings and emotions can swing as far as east is from the west but couples who have decided to live in love should not give in to these unpredictable waves. Thomas and I have decided not to allow anything tamper with the love we have for each other. At one time, Thomas does things I don’t like and it deflates my romantic air. At another time, I completely derail from the expectation to be a loving wife. Sometimes, we are really angry, upset and offended but our commitment to love each other holds us permanently together even though our emotions and feelings may fluctuate.

Love is greater than feelings, it is a decision and once you have decided, keeping to it makes you responsible. A man or woman who has a happy home is thought to be a person of character, respected and trusted by many.

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