I have to admit it but I’m not really a romantic person. I’ve never really understood Valentine’s Day. The whole idea of expressing your love in the form of a gift or experience on a planned one day of a year, seems insincere and forced. I’m not into the stereotypical romantic presents either of red roses ( I prefer living plants). I don’t wear jewelry (it makes me feel restricted) and going out to an restaurant for a three course meal, well… I always feel overindulged and physically regretful afterwards.
I can appreciate a romantic comedy but I like the emphasis to be on the comedy part. All those Disney movies which end with the princess finding her prince charming I wonder what the true story is after the movie is over, what really happens next. I don’t believe in love at first sight or destiny and the whole idea of finding your ‘soul partner’ in life or ‘the one’ seems rather like finding a needle in a haystack. A deeply frustrating experience likely to end in tears.
When it comes to the most romantic idea of all- one life long monogamous marriage full of love and happiness, deep down inside I think this a very rare thing in life indeed. Unlike how it is portrayed in the movies, it involves lots of time and effort. Whereas in the past, premature death interrupted a marriage (ie war, illness), now days committing to one life long marriage could mean 50 years or more with just the one person.
I have a theory that committing to one life long monogamous marriage is partly so difficult because it sits in the middle of the battle between human desires. The desire of wanting stability versus desiring new opportunities and change. Actually I believe that change in general has a lot to do with the demise of marriages. In a marriage, not only together do you have to face issues around money, different expectations, communication styles, intimacy, there is all the physical, emotional and psychological changes that occur in both of you. A marriage can simply breakdown because the person you were at the beginning of the relationship is very different to who you are ten, twenty or more years later in the relationship. Two people may simply just grow apart
I wonder whether the divorce rates would decrease if there was a time frame placed on the marriage period? If a marriage contract ran out after 10-20 years would people commit more and stay in the relationship knowing there is an end date? I enjoy listening to a podcast called “Married with Luggage” by Betsy and Warren Talbot because they explore all different types of relationships that could possibly work. Betsy and Warren themselves have a one year marriage contract. Every wedding anniversary they review their marriage and decide whether they want to commit to another year together. There is another really interesting episode called “Breaking Apart to Stay Together” where Betsy and Warren interview Lise Stoessel. Lise with her husband have decided to live in separate houses in order to save their 23 year old marriage.
As I’m writing this blog and thinking about romance and relationships I’ve realized something about myself. I think I prefer human connection over romance. I love nothing better than connecting with someone over a deep and meaningful conversation like thoughts on marriage, or life in general. In fact sharing ideas, thoughts and personal values could almost be a romantic evening with the right person.
PS: The illustration above was inspired by one of the interviews on podcast “Married with Luggage” (Sorry Betsy and Warren I’m unsure about the specific episode)