High-fives, laughter, walks: What love can look like
By - Jan 1st 1970
It’s the rave debate – if love is overrated. If it really exists. Even take it a step further, and ask if marriage is worth it. One cannot really blame the sceptics because, every single day, there is a sad or tragic story about marriage. What they do not do, however, is tell you that there are equally sad and tragic stories about people not in marriage, but they are not sensational enough to tell.
Whatever is happening in our society has nothing to do with marriage, but everything to do with a sickly society that needs urgent attention. In the spirit of ‘sometimes marriage works’, I shall narrate a village love story.
There is a certain couple that does maintenance jobs for us. The husband will do the tough jobs, the wife will mostly sit and entertain him, only taking over when the man is taking a break. Why they work as a unit is because the husband does not trust our dogs; “I don’t like the way BlackRose looks at me,” he told me about our alpha dog. So the wife tags along, because she is not afraid of the dogs, and she can keep an eye on them in case they attack him from behind. Fair enough.
That is the hilarious reason. There is an economic reason. See, husband loves his tipple, and will take any opportunity to down some. If for instance, he needs to get supplies at the shopping centre, he is unable to resist downing a quick one. Have you ever tried to do maintenance work while drunk? I haven’t either, but I have seen someone try, and it’s not good. Solution; have the wife get the supplies. From inside the house, I hear them. I do not speak their language, but laughter is universal. They laugh, and laugh, at each other’s stories. They do not call each other baba or mama so and so, they use pet names. They hi-five, and I long to join.
We pay the wife. Naturally, I wanted to know why I was paying the wrong person, so to speak. “She is the one with the budget. Besides, if you give it to me, I will forget to be responsible and do other things with it. Talk about self-awareness. True, he could do something about his irresponsible streak, but hey, this works!
Here is the best of them; after work, they will shower and take an evening walk to the shopping centre. The husband will go into a bar, order his favourite as he catches up with his mates. The wife will, deliberately slowly, shop for essentials as she catches up with market gossip. Once she’s done, after an hour or two, she will stand outside the bar, until she spots someone she can send to fetch the husband.
You see, she cannot call him on the phone – he lost it, and he does not want to replace it because, his words, anyone he wants to talk to on the phone, knows the wife’s phone number, and they can get him on it. I am not advocating for this, but talk about trust!
This is not an illustration of what love is, because indeed, it is a classic case of one partner being sat on, as we love to say it over here. Only I know it is not the case and besides, even if it is, it seems to work for them. Is that not what we all want from our partnerships?
Different individuals have different dynamics, so this cannot be the blueprint for everyone, but it is an example of what love, respect, self-awareness, putting everything on the table, can be. It is about understanding a partner’s faults and imperfections, and working around them. It is an example of what a relationship that is not based on competition but mutual interest, can look like.
Why, I hear some of you ask, does she, the wife, take the trouble to take him to the bar, buy the drinks with his hard-earned money, then literally pull him out of the pub? Because the option would be to leave him there, then he would drink too much because, by his own admission, he does not know when to stop.
This is love.