Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Love is like water


Over the Easter weekend, I had a chance to catch up with my old friend Jacob. We had a good chat over a beer or two. Of course, our chat was not itemized or planned ahead. So things were brought up left and right, and one thing led to another, we talked about what love is.

I can’t recall what I had said or what he had replied, but there are certain back and forth content in our conversation that stayed in my head, somehow it is summarized as the following.

Love is like water. Most animals can’t live without it. However, different animals would need different amount of water. Like a whale can’t live with less than an ocean. But, a camel can walk for days without drinking a drop. So, the relationship of a couple would have problem when both of them need different amount of love. Yes, love can’t be measured like water, but the analogy still goes.

Furthermore, there is also a mystic relationship between "how much love you needs to be happy" and "how much love you can or willing to ‘give’ to others". Some people don’t need much love to stay happy, but he/she is generous in giving love. There are certainly case of vice versa. Such thing is bothering Jacob and his wife and I don’t know much to say as it is very difficult to dissect and truly understand a relationship unless you are in it.
Jacob is more a ‘free-spirit’ person who doesn’t like to bother with little details – just like most men. His wife is more a ‘demanding’ type that easily got upset if things doesn’t work her way. They don’t have much financial issue at the moment and they are fine with their daughter. However, when it comes to their relationship, Jacob’s wife has been upset with the lack of ‘attention’ or ‘love’ that Jacob has been offering to her. To Jacob, he is largely fine with what he got from her though he did saying that she is too emotional and cranky for many little things. Jacob admitted that he does love his wife, but he, like many men, he doesn’t exactly sure what love is. Cos, 'love' to most ‘rational’ minds is an ‘abstracted’ thing that we can’t touch or grab it in your hand. We all know that love exists, but it has no formula that once you execute, it will generate love. So, though Jacob know he loves his wife, he thought that everything he has done for her and the family is shown for his love. Jacob is a practical person, he doesn’t believe that just saying ‘I love you’ means a thing, if there is no ‘action’ to back it up. Hugging and kissing are easy, but he believes that more 'concrete' things would mean more.

However, Jacob’s wife still complain that Jacob doesn’t love her very much. That got Jacob upset. Cos, she has been a demanding person, sometimes when she asked for things from him, she expected him to stop whatever he is doing to attend her needs – which could be some simple thing that she can do herself but she simply doesn’t want to do it. He thinks that she is spoiled, partially by him. When I asked him why, he said that he is a ‘peaceful’ man, doesn’t like conflicts or shouting match at home. So, if argument can be avoided by giving in a bit on his side, he will just do it for peace sake. But, he is human, sometimes he can’t help by showing his unpleasantness towards the demands from his wife and give a ‘look’ to her somehow. That makes her a bit upset and think that he is not 100% willingly and happily do what she wants which is equivalent to his love for her. She thinks that he does what she asked because she asked for it, he lacks of the ‘voluntary self-motivation’ to ‘love’ her. I think that Jacob’s wife is a bit too demanding and has twisted what love is all about to another ‘dimension’. Cos, what Jacob is thinking that simply serving her demands with action means he loves her. If what he has done still can’t satisfy her, then he would think that he doesn’t how to love her anymore.

After I heard all of these, I don’t really know what to say….cos Jacob does opine that taking on family responsibility / taking orders from his wife are the way to prove his love to her and the family. So, love becomes a responsibility. It sounds bad, but objectively, it is not that bad, cos it is something can be measure and actionable by a rational minds. However, the case is that she doesn’t buy that completely and use some ‘out of the world’ standards to measure how much Jacob loves her. That’s just confusing and frustrating at the same time.

At the end, I don’t think I could come up with any good logical helpful advice to my friend, but simply told him that I understood what he was saying and told him to take things easy…..Cos, it is just difficult to advise on such complicated thing of relationship of which I’m by no mean an expert of it.

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