My friend is getting hitched on Saturday. She told us why on her Hen night. She has found in him a connection: of place, of time and spirit. There is love in between, though not the head-spinning, childish love of our youth. She simply wants to spend her days with him.
This is romantic yet practical and makes complete sense. That, rather than the love which sweeps our groins off their feet (yes, groins have feet!) then fizzles into bad memories without a trace, this love sounds like the true description of what a soulmate should be. Yet why do we chase that all-consuming, head-twisting type?
Plato said in The Symposium…”and when one of them meets the other half, the actual half of himself, whether he be a lover of youth or a lover of another sort, the pair are lost in an amazement of love and friendship and intimacy and one will not be out of the other’s sight, as I may say, even for a moment…”
Anyone who has ever been in love will have secretly, or, not-so-secretly, dreamed of finding a soulmate. We’ve all tried at some stage to squeeze and mould our loves into this epitome of love and partnership that we’ve been sold by literature, Disney and Hollywood, of how love should be. Yet most of us know the truth without having to utter a word, even to ourselves. They were never ‘the one’, are not ‘the one’. It wasn’t/isn’t quite right. And the truth is that, like having a child, we’ll probably never know what the magical ‘it’ feels like until we experience it ourselves.
But the human was not made to live alone. Most of us crave attention in some form. Just look at rise of Facebook! Anyway, Existentialism sucks. And actually, there are many types of relationships which really help us along the way, in periods which we need them and are often grateful for them. It’s just that most of those only last for as long as they’re meant to. And sometimes longer than they’re meant to.
We settle. We question this idea of a soulmate and we stay in our ok relationship, and by the way, ok is ok, as long as it doesn’t hurt you, or leave you feeling like something is missing or lacking. Some reasons for staying with these loves are better, more practical than others. Make sense in a certain light. We tell ourselves; time might not be on our side, we hate our own company, we’re economically better off. Anyway biologically, we are designed to fall in love and so it’s only natural it comes easy. So we fall in love, some of us, over and over again. Connect for moments, nights, sometimes weeks. The best weeks. Then, like bad networks, the connection disappears. We shake it, change it, play with it, tease it. Shout at it. Sometimes it can drive you to the point of craziness, the point of lustful nuttiness. Bad decisions, bad arguments = passion, right? Only a soulmate can do that, surely? But then I read online that the author Louis de Bernieres said this and suddenly the truth begins to emerge for me;
“Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion, it is not the desire to mate every second minute of the day, it is not lying awake at night imagining that he is kissing every cranny of your body. No, don’t blush, I am telling you some truths. That is just being in love, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.“
And then my friend finds it. Really finds it. In her hands it looks different to how I’d always pictured it. That love that may not be all fireworks and sizzle but calm and solid and honest and there is this CONNECTION, once that initial intenseness has burned away (as it always does) it is still there. And stronger. It will last. And her experience gives hope and further proof that ‘it’ exists. Our souls know what they’re talking about man, and what they’re looking for, and, when they find their mate, the one they can chill with clothes off an’ all, well, this makes me even more excited to see them walking down the aisle on Saturday. Though I hope it won’t be naked. Lol.
Three cheers for Love!