How do you know?

Yes, I agree. I am too old to be asking this question. But then, it’s just as relevant to anybody no matter the age who may be thinking of taking the plunge: “How do you know?” and “Is it time?”
Yes, some people are going to say “pray” and yet, for most people, even though it’s possible God gave the nod, actually, praying is just (subconsciously or otherwise) going through the motions – their minds are already made up (though they may not admit so)
So, how do you know for sure?
Yes, there is indeed a time for everything under the sun. But is that time strictly custom (culture/tradition) based? For example, in some cultures, people take the plunge as young as their late teens. So does that mean anyone in that culture who is still unattached by say the late 20s is a social aberration?
It’s well known that most couples will experience several “itches”: the 2 year itch, the 3 year itch, the 7 year itch (I know, some people are going to say it’s Unchristian-ly, but as long as you don’t do what you are not supposed to do …)
What one doesn’t want is to experience the 2 year itch 6 months after the “act.”
Aside from the fact that as it’s well known that men and women are on their best behaviours during courtship, there is also the unknown factor of meeting someone else and thinking “Oh sh*t! I should have waited!”
Talking about best behaviours, during courtship:
– Men are not likely to sit around in their underwear for 3 days straight without bathing;
– Neither party is likely to “dig for gold” in the presence of the other party;
– Women are likely to make the effort to appear stellar and trim;
As early as a few months down the line after the act, all these starts to change. While some of it is good as it indicates the letting down of guards that may otherwise prevent full intimacy, some others mark the downward spiral towards – at best some level of toleration of the other party. Good examples are the fact that people are going to change physically – while some change is inevitable, others are avoidable. Women are going to put on weight with child birth which is acceptable, but what happens afterwards? What happens after the second and third child? A few added pounds is OK, but when you are twice the size you were at the time of the act, one or more of a few scenarios are likely to play out:
– if the man truly cares, he is going to have the woman try to do something about it;
– some men would use the excuse to justify in their own minds “looking” outside for “something” resembling the woman at the time of the act, now this does not always necessarily imply a “smallie” as some people would put it, it may as well be a matured (age-wise) woman who has kept herself reasonably in shape.
– Some men are just too tired to care one way or another: too many bills to pay, too many things to worry about.
– Some men are not going to look outside either because of their religious or moral convictions
– Some men would truly enjoy having the woman with the additional padding.
Apart from the last category of men described above, the fact that the men themselves are probably “packing” some extra pounds round their middle does not appear to matter from the men’s point of view: After all, it’s not about them: it’s about the women. Men are going to become beer guzzlers; Men who used to help around the house before are going to become fathers that won’t even raise a leg so the woman can sweep the dirt under the seat.
It’s a man’s world after all. No matter how it plays out, it appears the woman is going to get the short end of the stick. Men run around and do everything possible to woo a woman and that takes what? A year or 2 years. Get hitched and the honeymoon lasts another what? A year or two. Then the man now has a cook that costs almost nothing. No more need to worry about how the house gets cleaned; how the clothes get washed and ironed. For 2-years of putting ones best foot forward, I think there are few more rewarding “contracts.” for a man. Yes, I understand the traditional roles of men and women, but those roles are not completely valid or clear-cut in this age where both partners are out there working like donkeys to make the home’s ends meet.
Part of the tragedy of course is the way human relationships develop. As it is said, you are not going to get hitched to your enemy. So for most people, friends become partner by virtue of continuous (physical) association. Take bankers for example, they are all dressed up to the nines, and work closely together most of every day. So, relationships develop (sometimes between people that would not give themselves the time of day in other settings). But how many of those relationships have enough outside-the-office roots? So a couple get hitched, it might have been OK when both were single with single people’s responsibilities. Now there are lots of joint issues in the mix, housing: feeding, families, children, etc. so the couple continues to work several hours together (this didn’t use to be possible in most banks before, as the rule was that once a couple get hitched, one of them has to find employment outside the particular bank)  or not. Either way, with the stress of work, travel (long distance for most people – especially young “middle-class” couples), they soon discover that there are now two strangers living under one roof. At some point, the bitter-sweet “fruit” of daily survival is going to open the eyes of either or both couples and they start to wonder what it was that they saw in the other party that made them commit to what is supposedly a till death do us part affair.

I was sitting in a client’s office a few days ago and it’s interesting to hear people talk when the business of the day is more or less over. Soon a discussion started by – I assume hitched women in the office about a couple who recently celebrated 30-something years of marriage and who were still in love. And of course there were the Ooohs! And Hahs! from the women folk and what a wonderful thing that was. Well, one of the married men joined in with more or less the following “that it was a lie. That after about 5 or 10 years at most, people just basically got along because they can still stand each other and not because of love (passionate or otherwise)”

These questions and related ones are going to continue to remain at the forefront (even if people won’t acknowledge it) of human relationship matters as long as there are men and women. Yes, some people are going to say they as sure as the sun rises that their partner was preordained for them (some are going to truly belief it but most are going to have a little nagging thought that maybe, just maybe), some are going to say that at the time the decision was made, it was the best of all possible outcomes, and some are going to wonder if they went mad briefly at the time.

Yes, the people that know are going to say that the mistake most couple make is that they underestimate the hard-work it requires to make relationships work; to keep the relationship strong; to keep the relationship  loving and passionate, and not just become a matter of the resolve to just stick it out till the end. If nature or life is good to the couple (no major crises, no major health issues, reasonably well-behaved children, etc) it’s easier to make things work – “easier” is of course relative: it will still be hard-work. Unfortunately, the longer people are together, the more they take each other for granted, and the harder it is to put in the work necessary to sustain a happy relationship – not an OK relationship; not a “Well, We are together” relationship; not a “we are not separated like the Joneses” relationship – I am talking about a loving, vibrant relationship. People say the hormonal doe-eyed tingling heat-racing feeling of youth will cool down and dissipate and some say it’s to be expected. But some believe also that with the right attitude and a willingness to put in the hard-work and sacrifice when necessary, it’s possible to have passion for one’s partner long after the pictures were taken and the “special” day a distant memory.

On a lighter note (since the above is serious and all that needs to be said can never be said or exhausted), here is a partial his/hers prenuptial (though how enforceable it is, is another matter) – the full thing is the subject of another article.
1. Thou shall not gain more than 15KG above thy current weight during the entire course of this togetherness till death do us part (the period of 6 months before and 6 months after any baby delivery excluded)
2. Thou shall not cheat under any circumstances
3. Thou shall not grow exceedingly fat (emphasizing pre-nup condition 1 above)
4. Thou shall not require extra clothing material for thy beer belly and love handles
5. Thou shall exercise regularly
6. Thou shall not lift up thy hand against thy partner
7. Thou shall not collude to do thy partner harm (materially or otherwise)

Back to the subject of this post. I guess, ultimately, the question for the person that wants to stay faithful is: “5, 10, 20, 30 years down the line – would I still be able to – not necessarily love – but at least stand this person?” – But that of course is the pessimist’s view, in the meantime, “You may kiss the bride!”

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