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Read Letter

Rounding Up Decimals

My dear Jil, remember that couple we spoke about, the man and woman with beatific marriage? Well, when I asked him why he loved her so much his answers proved telling. There’s an ease about her, he says. Things are so easy. There’s a fit between them. It’s kind of hard to explain. It’s why he says relationships must not be enforced or forced.

There ought to be a natural fit, like a hand in a glove. Then he talks about the honesty of her heart. She’s sincere, not just honest with her affection. She’s a sincere person. That makes things easy in the home he says. Means he can trust not just her words but her motives as well. The moment a relationship becomes a manipulative exercise, it becomes political. It’s no longer about affection but control. It’s why expressions of affection are held back and texts are sent in timed delay. It’s all about control and manipulation. It’s why simple expressions of affection are hedged to explain them away so they don’t come across as something really meant.

He also says there’s an earnestness about her. She genuinely wants to have a relationship. You can see it. She’s emotionally open, which of course encourages reciprocity and builds trust. She inspires trust by the impressive degree of her trustworthiness. Of course he talked about her love for him. It’s a different quality he says. Some special quality. When you mix devotion, sincerity and honesty with love you get a special brew. He calls it devoted affection, a genuine love that is naked and uninhibited; wants nothing and everything at once. Everyone knows she truly cares for him. You can see it in their relationship. Their friends talk about it. Spend five minutes with them and you can see that commitment to each other. It’s so naked. He cares for her in a way even she can’t describe. She just knows it. She luxuriates in it.

Of course, she jokes about his domestic incompetence and all that, but it’s all love banter. He’s her life! He’s told her he never ever wants to do without her, can’t imagine being without her, and it’s not just talk. The thing about both of them is that they mean what they say to one another. There’s so much sincerity and commitment. Does it mean they don’t have different viewpoints? Of course, they do. But even that has been turned into a love decimalisation. There’s always that acceptance of one another they have. They let each other be without letting go of each other. And no matter what happens they somehow round up everything into affection and acceptance, like a decimal point being rounded up. They even round up disagreements with love and recommitment. They don’t want strife in their home. He just wants peace so he can do his work and she wants harmony so she can be. It’s so important couples are totally committed to peace and harmony. Love achieves both.

Oh, he has his peculiarities. (She has hers too). Everyone has ticks and peculiarities. There’s that private joke between them. She tells him none of those other girls who wanted to marry him could ever handle him, only her. Which of course suggests he’s so “strange” and unusual it takes a special grace of love to cope with him. His counter is simple: she must be strange too, after all she married a strange person. They’re not trying to be perfect human beings, they’re just two people striving to build a happy marriage, trying to love one another. There’s harmony. Harmony is something you work out, and you start by accepting the other party, loving the other party. Love is very accommodative. It of course means you pay attention to and mind the things he doesn’t like; he must also mind the things you don’t like. Love can be inconvenient. It requires us going out of our way, inconveniencing ourselves to please someone. But if you decide to be rigid in marriage, then you’re no longer a spouse but some sort of god carved in stone. If we mix temperament to those dimensions of deity, you become the god of thunder!

I’m just saying don’t take what you have for granted. Invariably those who do lose what they have. There’s nothing as sad as a man or woman fighting back for what was his or hers in the first place having lost it because it wasn’t valued. That you take someone for granted doesn’t reduce the intrinsic worth of that person. That you don’t value your spouse does not depreciate his or her intrinsic worth. You have an accounting problem. When we don’t value what is invaluable we invariably lose it to those who recognise value. You have to place a value on your spouse. It’s some sort of poor estimate of intrinsic worth. There are things in a relationship we take for granted but which are incredibly valuable. There are things in life we can’t fully appreciate until we lose them. That’s when it hits us in the face. You don’t want that.

What is so special about her, I once asked him. Oh, she’s beautiful and all that but why does he value her so much? They’re friends, he said. She’s my friend, he said – my true and loyal friend: “She’ll be there for me no matter what.” Her level of commitment can actually be scary. She’s so totally committed. There are things he avoids because he doesn’t want to hurt her feelings or make her sad. (She doesn’t know half of it). But she knows that he loves her. That knowledge gives her security and pride. She’s sure of his backing. Of course, she’s not perfect, he says. And it’s so evident. But he doesn’t dwell on those. He acknowledges those things but doesn’t dwell on them. You don’t dwell on the negatives in your partner. If you dwell constantly on the negatives in your partner you’ll constantly see faults. He or she can never do right, he says. Such meditation generates negative spirit. And your partner will constantly be under pressure, feeling condemned. Marriage ought to be a positive thing: it should be something full of love and affirmation, encouragement and support. A good marriage, in the end, is two people who just love each other.

I’ve learnt a whole lot from interacting with this wonderful couple. Perhaps you can learn a thing or two from my reportage too. Would be nice if you share titbits with Jack so you’re on the same page.

Your mentor, LA

If you dwell constantly on the negatives in your partner you’ll constantly see faults. Click To Tweet
Tags : love in marriage, Genuine love, Compatibility

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