Humans thought they understood love, and—for a narrow window of time—we probably did.
The earliest awareness universally begins as soon as you sense an unearthly gravity toward a particular figure. A boy whose name you barely learned a week a go, a girl who made politically-incorrect jokes throughout that boring lecture—whenever this person pops up in the same room as yours, your head suddenly gets clouded with a thin air of urge to appear a brush prettier, a sentence funnier, or an argument wittier.
Maybe that’s why there’s a peculiar charm in wedding ceremonies.
Witnessing two people, once a complete stranger to each other, consciously commit to spend the rest of their lives together—you wouldn’t be able to resist an ink-drop of hopeful feeling inside you. And they don’t do this discreetly in the fear of not being able to live up to such promise, no, they do this in public—sometimes in front of over hundreds of groomed audience. Not because they deny the possibility of getting hurt on the way, nor ignore the fact that the person standing next to them is flawed and far from perfect—but rather because they have come to accept it. They have seen everything—the awkward first dates, the comforting company, the embarrassing habits, the ugly face, the laughters and tears—they have seen them, and just like that, decide to keep it with them a lifetime longer.
(That, or we’re just too coward to deal with life alone. Either way, for the species who were born and are to die alone, getting a temporary assurance of ‘living happily ever after’ becomes a beautiful impossibility—too beautiful nobody would have the heart to refuse and disappoint. So hey, we thought, let’s entertain the pinch of likelihood and smile and be happy for a little bit, no matter how ephemeral our story might end up be.)
You might notice that this post is starting to lose its point by now, because that’s basically what’s happening. Maybe we should’ve talked about critical spiritualism instead—oh wait—it’s coming back! Two things, before it disapparates again:
1. Some relationships have width, some have depth.
One of the most discussed issues in the realm of romance would probably be whether or not we should be with someone very similar to ourselves.
The argument-against contends that being with someone from a different background would definitely be nicer, because you get to learn new things everyday. A computer engineer should ask the journalist out, while an architect and a nerd-looking entrepreneur would make a great duo. On the other hand, dating a person coming from the same sector would bore you to death—not to mention the competition it would entail.
Beyond careers and interests, resemblance in personalities also wouldn’t be much of a help. In an ideal scenario, one of you should be more patient than the other, and a better financial manager than the splurging spouse. Nobody would want to double the trouble.
But we also know that there are power couples of the same profession. The reception above, for starters, was hosted by a jazz singer and a band member. Don’t forget that I once gave you a shortlist, too—what about them?
Well, here’s a thought-proposal: while you could ‘complete each other’ (I hate the overused phrase) by being with someone who comes from a separate world than yours, the two of you would never be able to reach the deepest—often hidden—room of mind-intimacy, unless you are with someone who understands, or at least has set their feet in your world.
Both have its practical perks, I guess—the way presidents could avoid trouble by being with stay-at-home first lady, or how Marie Curie and her chemist husband managed to win a Nobel Prize together. My favorite instance though, would be Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre’s 51 years of open marriage that gave birth to existentialism.
2. When it comes to soulmate-ship, we are cursed with eternal ignorance.
Until somebody comes up with a valid methodology to verify the concept of ‘being destined for someone’, it’s simply an overrated myth. Us humans fall in love, several times for most of us—often: 1) with the wrong person, 2) at the wrong time, or 3) in the wrong place—and that usually leaves either one of you brokenhearted. Now what if we don’t really ‘find’ a soulmate, but simply happen to have ticked all three boxes above?
As soon as you say yes to this, you would also realize that you could engineer a soulmate for yourself. If experience taught that you could only stay with the smart men, don’t pick boys that still have mother issues. Don’t fall in love when you’re about to leave for a master’s degree, or in the busiest year of work. Lastly, limit your feelings for someone who could geographically be a home when you need them, but not too close that your togetherness could later turn into obsession for possession.
Voila, a ready-to-be-married-with soulmate for you.
Unfortunately, these three variables are not as adjustable/arrangeable as you wish them to be. Cosmologically the probability of having them all set within line is—well, once or twice in a lifetime. (Right now I’m silently laughing at the pathetic-ness of us mortals.) I am of course overgeneralizing the idea into soulmates you would want to get married (or have sex) with. After all, we might have best friends without whom we know we couldn’t live with, but we never thought of them as a partner in physical interactions.
Like all myths, this one also has unverifiable superstitions—’real’ soulmates are: couples who die after one another (“The husband passed away only six days after the wife did. Aww.”), couples who look alike (“I seriously thought they were twins!”), and a bunch of other false—appealing, but very likely untrue—assumptions.
At the end of the day, all these postulations might boil down to the person who could appreciate you for who you are, whose sense of humor warms you during the rainy days. It might all actually be very simple—only if you allow your mind to think so.
P. S. Sometimes, entering the full realization that I am human—with all its consequences and social contracts—even for just five seconds, astonishes me profoundly.
P. S. S. I don’t know why but I’m very much into this album lately.