Do You Love Me?
by Rowena J Ronson
Photograph, Eternity Ring by Rowena J Ronson
A hundred years or so ago, at the turn of the last century, my ancestors would not have imagined, let alone expected, to marry for Love. In tiny settlements on the Russian/Polish border – think Fiddler On The Roof – Jewish marriages were arranged by a ‘yente’ and the match was decided without the couple’s consent and for monetary, social and practical compatibilities. Husband and wife had their own individual roles, which they accepted willingly, establishing a strong family unit that prevailed through thin and thin. The hearth was built with the fire of survival and thrived on the warmth and unwavering commitment to tradition. Romantic love for orthodox communities such as these was a twinkle in the future’s eye.
In our current era of freedom of choice and materialism in the West, in our larger and grander settlements, we have now evolved a delusional concept of commitment and become too easily betrothed on an imagined whim of love.
What we might experience in the first few weeks, months and even years of a relationship could be a series of dinner dates and movies, holidays and parties, where make-believe ‘firm’ foundations are unwittingly built on the distractions of escapism and not the unromantic reality of the dedication to endure. And why would we really choose otherwise? Oxytocin is a great connector and when we are loved up, we become gratifyingly invested in that feeling lasting forever and are prepared to even commit to marriage on the hope that it does.
In times past, love was expected to grow from shared experiences, familiarity, dependence and the joint journeying through the pervasive passage of time. And that passage was always going to be one monopolised and motivated by loss and survival. But as health, financial and safety baselines have been raised, priorities and preoccupations in relationships have been revised.
Not wanting to dupe you, portraying myself as an embittered mid-life muse, I am in favour of progression and, of course, marrying for love. But my life experience, as someone who has loved and lost – several times; and loved impulsively and experienced a change of heart – several times, is that love is indeed a fragile emotion. Fortunately I only committed to marriage once, but I did that very quickly while on the rebound from my first lost love, and when very young before I developed my own identity, and knew what I was committing to.
The end of 2014 finds me in a very loving and nourishing relationship. And this great love affair is the one I am having with myself. I thoroughly recommend commitment and engagement with yourself throughout your lifetime when you are in relationships and when you are in between them. Doing so will more likely result in your commitments to all things, including people, being the ones you truly want for your head and your heart.
Happy 2015 everyone 🙂