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Learning to love someone Posted May 28, 2013 by Alex Lim

Give her two red roses... It's one thing to instantly fall in love with someone without really trying. It's entirely another to try to learn to love someone with whom we have to live with for whatever reason. Often forced into a marriage early in life through some religious or cultural tradition, couple learn to love each other over time. How do they do it? In the movie Fiddler on the Roof, the following dialogue set into music may shed some light on what it means to love;

Tevye: "Do you love me?"

Golde: "I'm your wife."

Tvye: "I know, but do you love me?"

Golde: "Do I love you? For 25 years, I've washed your clothes, cooked your meals, cleaned your house, given you children, milked your cow, after 25 years why talk about love right now?

Teyve: "The first time I met you was on our wedding day, I was nervous. But my father and my mother said we'd learn to love each other, now I'm asking, do you love me?

Golde: "For 25 years I've lived with him, fought with him, starved with him, 25 years my med is his, if that's not love what is it?

Tevye: "Then you love me"

Golde: "I suppose I do."

So is love the same as living with someone for so many years sharing the same experience and the same challenge? Is staying together for so long enough to develop the kind of relationship that love can grow into? Mark Twain may have hit upon the idea when he said "No man or woman really knows what perfect love is until they have been married a quarter of a century."

There have been many successful marriages between couples who have to learn to love each other without the benefit of an initial attraction. This has been the case for thousands of years of arranged marriage in the traditions of the Jews, China and India, while our notions of staying together and being in love are just a few hundred years. Perhaps being forced together creates opportunities for two people to learn, not so much how to love each other, but how to adapt and make win-win compromises with each other's strengths and weakness. Rani Gundal observed that "compromising doesn't mean that you are wrong and someone is right ,it only means that you value your relationship much more than your ego."

Indeed, when society puts a couple under societal stress to thrive in a forced relationship, it is easier to learn to accommodate each other and develop the love than can endure, unlike western marriages for which there is rarely an effort to make it last because the slightest misunderstanding can be remedied with a divorce that is also very convenient to get.

An infatuation which is really about your first love or crush, can easily go away when you start to learn that the object of your love is not exactly the person you want to spend the rest of your life with. The opposite direction can be more enduring, as when two strangers who hardly feel anything for each other learn to know each other in a relationship that over time surpasses mere infatuation or physical attraction and grow into real timeless love. Spencer Burton Jr, may have encapsulated what love is when is said, "Love is not found, it is made.


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