On the occasion of yearly Valentine’s Day I thought I’d write a bit about how I feel about love. I love it. That’s it!

Well, there was more to say about it. First thing being that there is so much meaning connected to that word that ordinarily you don’t express it very often. Well, maybe to your husband, if you have one. But the love for your husband is only one kind of love and you don’t express those others nearly as often as that. I can sincerely say that I love many people, none of them a marriage prospect. But I (almost) never tell them how I love them. In the fear of leaving the wrong impression, primarily. I am always afraid, I’ll blow glowing the embers of hope just to crush them again…

I also say that love in marriage is an extreme not a rule (not that there shouldn’t be love in marriage, there has to be, but that the love, as it is felt, is in its one extreme in conditionalness).

For example, I really and truly love my son. It is overwhelming and unconditional. I might send harsh words towards him, punish him, quarrel with him, not really get along with him, but I always love him with no limits. I believe this is the only really onconditional love – this love between mother and child. I love him, whatever he does and whatever he wants to be; however incompatible our wishes or personalities are.

But love between lovers is always conditional. He is just one of those you can choose from. There is always a “because” to this love.

the way he smiles,
the way he shies,
the way he cries,
the way he lies…
liriel, just now

Husband is someone carefully chosen – because of his personality, charisma, your compatibility… Maybe in the old days when your parents were the ones to choose, you could find women unconditionally loving their husbands (they might as well have hated them or just accepted them), but that is probably gone now, hopefully forever. Contemporary woman chooses or lets herself be chosen (which is just giving away the initative, but choosing all the same).

Well, there is love at first sight (love because of appearances?), but even then the partner is easily dumped and forgotten if you find out that he is not what you imagined him to be. That can be considered choosing as well, pretty dumb when unemotionally analysed, but with high risk there might be high gain.

I am not absolutely saying, that you shouldn’t choose at all, just take whatever’s available. You should and you must choose if ever there are many fish in the seas. This choosing is really, what makes your husband special – you must know that there is nobody better out there that you could buy with your personality. And when he is the best then it is not hard to really and truly love him.

I am just trying to prove that love in marriage is the other extreme of love’s conditionalness. On the one end there is love for your child and on the other love for your husband. In between your love for your children, which is quite unconditional however it appears to children themselves, and love-in-marriage, which always has the condition, there are love for friends, colleagues, neighbours… You choose your friends (knowingly or not) by several characteristics (for example by how much fun it is to be together or the count of common interests), but you can forgive them many things you would never forgive your husband. You cannot (not mostly anyway) choose your colleagues or neighbours and it is mandatory to forgive some traits in them to keep on working together towards common goal. Of course, in any relationship you have to look out for your own interests as well…

A question I get asked sometimes: Could you love husband as much as your son? Of vital importance to anyone interested in marriage and children. I’d say, as many before me, that you cannot compare the taste of strawberry to the taste of lasagne. You may say – this is sweet and that is salty, but you cannot compare, which taste you like better. Though they are both tastes. The same goes for children and men – the love is too different to compare. Having one doesn’t make you want less of the other. And this, now, has nothing to do with how conditional the love is.

Reading all of this I might seem to be harsh on love-in-marriage, but bitter is the better word…

I am in this post always referring to husband or him when these things really might apply to other combinations of he’s and she’s. I am doing this to keep this sexist nonsense that you should always reveal the difference between woman and man, out of my post and keep my mind on the real issue. And I have chosen the male because that is what I know, that is where I see from – that’s from the position of woman loving man. Or rather, from the memory of that.
And I accept that there are many different kinds of relationships between lovers, but I use the word “marriage” and “husband” to show which kind of love is it I am talking about in that particular case.

Some fathers have told me, they feel the same way about their children, but nobody knows for sure, if it is really the same…

And our personalities are really incompatible. I love to do things alone – small things with my hands, big things with my mind. He loves to socialize and actively interact, almost never doing anything just by himself. And when I want to be alone with my thoughts and handicraft, and he wants to talk or play with me, we already have a basis for a quarrel.

2 Responses

  1. Well argued 😉 Here’s my two cents:

    I believe that true love is always unconditional, whether towards

    your child or your partner.

    What you call conditional love is in my opinion desire.

    In contemporary times love and desire seem to have become synonyms, but actually

    these words signify opposing feelings: it’s desire when you wish

    something *from* someone – their physical properties, character traits etc

    Love is when you wish something *for* someone.

    Love is an active feeling, a wish to give; desire a wish to recieve, to acquire.

    True love is thus independent of a response, or as Goethe put it:

    “If I love you, what business is it of yours?”

    Ideally, in a romantic relationship desire and love accompany each other,

    but one’s existence does not make other inevitable. Thus it’s possible to love

    someone you do not desire (like a child, but also another person) —

    and desire for someone

    does not necessarily imply that love is involved…

  2. I had a long time figuring out how to point out that I can’t be wrong – without giving away too much about my own life, of things I need to be kept secret. I didn’t find no other way than to say the following:

    I have reason to believe I do understand difference between love and desire. There have been times in my life, when I have felt one but not the other. There is something extra in loving a man as I would a husband and desire isn’t the (only) thing differentiating that from love for a friend. That extra is more conditions for the existence of that love.

    I am not very familiar with the context of the quote from Goethe – what kind of love could he have had in mind, I wonder…

    Might be, we have different definitions for “condition” (likely, because I streched the definition quite wide).

    Might be, I have never really loved a man (unlikely).

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