Love and Marriage

The other day there was a toastmasters club meeting in the office, where one of the table topics was "Love before Marriage, or Marriage before Love?"

My first question, considering both my sense of humour and the fact that I'm an incorrigible flirt, was "does it have to be with the same person?"

Good joke. Or was it a joke? Maybe I was serious ;-)

But it got me thinking. A lot of my younger friends have just gotten married or are about to take the plunge, and -- while I will always behave like an immature, childish, almost juvenile, brat, and I will always be proud of it -- I can't really escape the fact that I am actually 44.

So here're some thoughts on the subject, and some free advice. Buddha had the great insight that desire is the root of all suffering. In terms of human relationships, I'm sure the specific desire is the desire for importance. Also called ego :-)

And everyone knows that ego comes from being insecure. [And no, I don't mean that type of "insecure"!]

It seems to me that, in terms of relationships, there are 4 types of people in this world.

  1. most insecure: no deep feelings at all, even if she seems very friendly and vivacious to a casual observer. Will never trust anyone enough to open up or appear vulnerable. Always on her guard.

    Love before marriage? No way! Just hope that there will be some love after marriage. And pray that she marries at least a type 3 or a type 4!

  2. somewhat insecure: has feelings and is capable of lots of love, but is very very guarded. Can morph temporarily into type 1 if there's a problem! Won't tell anyone when she's hurt -- swallows it all and burns up inside.

    Sounds like a stereo-typical girl? Believe me, I've seen guys like this too!

    Love before marriage only with a type 3 or a type 4.

  3. still a little insecure: enough that he can't admit it even to himself :-) Projects an overwhelming image of confidence and mastery over everything.

    Finds it very difficult to say "I need you" to anyone. In fact, anything sentimental is accompanied by a joke -- sort of like an escape clause!

    Even a type 2 may wonder if he has any feelings at all. But if you're a type 4, you will quite easily see that he needs you but just isn't saying it, and that he does have feelings deep down but will not show them, and so you'll probably be fine!

    Most definitely "love before marriage" material, but he won't push it if things don't work out, so he may well end up with an arranged marriage. Just hope it's not to a type 1 :-(

  4. hardly any insecurity: can happily, without an ounce of diffidence or reluctance, tell someone "I need you" :-) You always know where you are with him. Cannot hide his feelings if his life depended on it.

    Appears to be much more vulnerable than the others because he gets hurt easily, but that's only because his hurts are more visible, and he has no qualms about telling you he's hurt. In fact the other types are more vulnerable, because they can get hurt and not even realise it themselves :-(

    This type can't even think about "marriage before love" without breaking into a sweat :-) It has to be "love before marriage".

No prizes for guessing which combinations are better than others :-)

In fact, it is my theory that in every love marriage there is at least one type 4, or both type 3. Other combinations do not seem capable of leading to what is usually thought of as a love marriage.

And I'm not saying type 4 is the best or type 3 is better than type 2, etc., in the long run. One you get married there're all kinds of behavioural traits and attitudes that you don't see earlier, and that will drive you up the wall regardless of what "type" the person is -- carelessless, forgetfulness, attitudes towards money or work, family, importance of parents, religiousness, etc., etc., etc., ad infinitum.

Many of those aspects can be just as important as ego.

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