What is the one defining characteristic of love? That’s where the discussion ended and the thoughts began.
The secret to a long married life is having the broadness of mind to make compromises demanded by it. Coming from a dutiful, caring wife and a loving mother 30 years into marriage and 27 into motherhood, it merited acceptance from an obedient son. But he was too naive to debate with his mother and argue otherwise. Based on a lofty love which, in retrospect, failed miserably the test of time. Young and stupid love.
Love for a partner. Love of a mother for her child. Love of a teacher for his student. Could selflessness be the defining characteristic of love? Isn’t that the source of making compromises which my mother mentioned? It does sound right. What better could be the ultimate expression of love but to sacrifice oneself for the other. Probably that explains why history and literature is replete with love tragedies. Sacrificed at the altar of love. In our morbid lives it will be being satisfied with a normal 9-to-5 job for the sake of family or letting go of a loved one for her sake which are symbols of love. Selfless acts for the smile on your loved ones face.
But then doesn’t love originate from quite the opposite of this noble quality. Isn’t what triggers love in the first place a fierce selfish act? The act of attracting a partner, likened by many to almost an animal act; quite aggressive with seeking attention, winning over ‘consummating’ in passionate love. The act of bringing forth a child into this world, for fulfilling a marriage; to fill a void; to carry on the family legacy. To create a prodigy on a teacher’s part.
The dichotomy is apparent only if you isolate the process of falling in love and being in love. They are not two sides of the coin. Rather coinciding. Blending pieces. Eva Mendes beautifully puts it when she says,
I love having a man in my life and being his woman by the end of the day. I know its a dichotomy.