My parents in Holland, earlier times.
According to Alain de Botton, your smelly socks play a larger role in the permanency of your relationship than romantically floating on the Danube while immersed in a bath filled with rose petals. He confronts the hugely popular romantic notion of ‘falling’ in love and living happily ever after. I must say, it intrigues me no end how people can stay in a mono-relationship all their lives.
There are a few that we know but they are mainly in our direct family backgrounds of numerous brothers and sisters from both of us. Outside our own direct background the wedding gondola is listing dangerously and littered with corpses of failed relationships. Mind you, there is a new theory out that a relationship hasn’t necessarily failed just because one or both wanted out. Even so, when a relationship is at the start and still blindingly starry-eyed and way over the top, that most proclaim eternal love and devotion to each other. Psychopaths are seen as Saints. To fall in love is a most dangerous situation. Get out of it. Get real.
According to Alain de Botton; the banana skin on the doorstep of declared love is that we see in each other things that are just not there. We want to see them. Alas, it is all a fata morgana. The things that are there and real are not seen. We think the other is perfect and so does the opponent. The man forgives the woman who lingers longingly in front of the High Fashion shop and he feels it rather cute. The woman likewise, when he seems to swear at other drivers or watches football all the time. She thinks ‘boys are boys.’ We only see perfection and can’t understand nor are willing to see, how this notion of love is blind and certainly foolish.
Of course, blind love is fed by cinema and books. With us, even right from the beginning, any sign of romantic love and H and I bolt out. The first whiff of a lingering look of real love or a wafting of underarm brutish man, and we are out, running along Bong Bong Road to Woollies car-park, glad to have made it in one piece. By mistake we switched on the ABC News too early last night only to be confronted with the Nigella Lawson now famous sideway glance while cooking a sponge cake. No better example of false charm and allure.
The thing that Alain de Botton points out is that we are all imperfect. In fact, we are broken. We are the result of genes and our own imperfect parental upbringing, totally hopeless when confronted with relationship and marriage. Instead of seeking love we should really get an understanding of own faults first. Try and be the normal obnoxious self when finally confronting a suitable partner. Show her/him your true self. Be honest and don’t move your jaw or flex your pectoral. Hard as it is, don’t believe your partner is all that lovely either. Both are broken. Work on being happy and try and enjoy grey. Do things together and expect fights and making good. It is not for everyone. A good relationship is one that goes on regardless of itself. It is surprising how the years go by. You fight and love, and fight and love.
That’s the secret.
Here a few things from Alain de Botton on love.
“Every fall into love involves the triumph of hope over self-knowledge. We fall in love hoping we won’t find in another what we know is in ourselves, all the cowardice, weakness, laziness, dishonesty, compromise, and stupidity. We throw a cordon of love around the chosen one and decide that everything within it will somehow be free of our faults. We locate inside another a perfection that eludes us within ourselves, and through our union with the beloved hope to maintain (against the evidence of all self-knowledge) a precarious faith in our species.”
― Alain de Botton, On Love
“We are all more intelligent than we are capable, and awareness of the insanity of love has never saved anyone from the disease.”
― Alain de Botton, On Love