What’s Love Got to Do with It? (Part 2)
This week on MAGNIFY musings, we’re talking love… Should it be practical or romantic? Short-lived or lifelong? Ruled by your head or your heart? In the second half of the discussion, MAGNIFY Musings editor Justina Kehinde argues that behind every real love story is a tale of commitment.
Tina Turner was right. Love is nothing but a secondhand emotion. In fact, it’s quite frankly vintage. And in a way, vintage is à la mode. The new, well ‘re-used’ to be exact, haute couture.
Like London Fashion week, the weddings I’ve attended have all been gloriously bedazzled by beautiful gowns and flashing lights, whilst the ones I have yet to RSVP to loom before me like a never-ending runway.
Yet, whilst weddings are proliferated with sugar and spice and all kinds of brides, there’s something niggling about them: the vows. The apex of the wedding ceremony, vows are a declaration of enduring love. Of an eternal union to one human being forever. As in, for ever and ever and ever and that’s it. Period. And that excites people. I mean, they cry tears of joy at the prospect.
Now the cynics are all up in arms at the thought. One person? Doesn’t that get boring? What happens to your love life? What happens to exciting times? What if they… get fat, or change? The women are already fast-forwarding to stretch marks and menopause, remembering the adverts for botox and surgery so helpfully plastered all along the London underground. The men, aside from questioning the price of Viagra, are looking at their lady and weighing up the options. Forever is a really long time.
Now my grandfather, he saw the world differently. Born towards the end of the 19th Century, he lived during a time when polygamy wasn’t taboo but very much encouraged. With eight wives and 24 children, he definitely obeyed that instruction in the bible to ‘go forth and multiply’. He sowed his seed and reaped… well, lots and lots of children.
In his culture, marriage was a practical affair. Having a large family had its benefits. During agricultural times it meant a greater work force. It was also a sign of prosperity. You wouldn’t marry a man with seven wives if you didn’t know he could also support you and whatever seed you were waiting to sow, would you?
[column-break]Fast forward to the present day and polygamy just doesn’t cut it. Not only is it exceedingly biased towards men (man has eight wives and he’s a don; a woman, well… ) but we have also attributed moral implications to it. The bible tells us we are called to be united with one man and one woman. Why is that?
Perhaps it’s because love, the foundation of all relationships (be they familial, fraternal, between friends or even colleagues) is about commitment. If you love your job, you need to be committed to ensuring it succeeds. If you love your family, you are committed to ensuring they look after themselves on holiday. If you love your boyfriend or girlfriend, you are committed to supporting their development. The same goes for parents, friends, co-workers.
Now for men, monogamy is an easy solution. We all know you can’t multitask, so having more than one wife will break you. Ladies… we cook whilst giving directions, compiling a shopping list and mentally landscaping the garden for future reference; yet by the end of the week we are burnt out. Duracell batteries just don’t cut it. Now imagine having three husbands in your life. I know, it’s the stuff of nightmares.
Love is about making that decision to forsake ‘all others’, to choose one person and commit to them. Forever. Will it feel like you’ve made a mistake? At times. Will it be worth it? That depends on how hard you’re both willing to work at it. Will it get boring? Not if you’re willing to make it exciting. Will you still love them? You will discover that love is more than a feeling, it’s more than being practical. It’s a way of life and keeps evolving. In that sense marriage is the ultimate challenge. It requires focus, integrity and a desire to persevere. It’s not the easy route into someone’s bed, or feeling financially secure, but it is a choice to become one. To become whole, and commit to preserving that unity.
What’s love got to do with it? Love is the glue that binds and reminds you of that commitment. It’s more than a secondhand emotion – it’s a way of life. Are you willing to try it?
Words by Justina Kehinde
Images by Estera Kluczenko