What you need to know:
- I remember while we were dating, I loved my then boyfriend’s voice.
- I now accuse him of putting that voice for me to specifically hook me because I no longer feel it.
I was once besotted with one of our broadcast journalists. He read the prime news in one of the leading TV channels, and I remember making an effort to get home in time to watch him read the news.
I had formed a mental image of him, a perfect depiction of what he was like, which was perfect in every way possible.
As fate would have it, we met at a certain function and I happened to share a table with him. After I got over my star-struck trance, I found my voice and we chatted.
By the end of that evening, I was disillusioned. He turned out to be normal. In fact, he was a shy, short man who simply wanted to get home and get off his stuffy suit.
My disappoint was no fault of his as he truly was polite and all, but the image I had of him was shattered. The real person was human, not as eloquent or tall and dark as he appeared on TV.
He struggled like the rest of us did with small talk. Without the lights and the make-up, his skin was not a smooth dark bronze and his hair was not a perfect cut.
You might, one time or other, have had a crush on a celebrity, be it a Holly, Nolly or Bollywood actor or other artist, so stop with the judging.
Mental images of ideal spouse
This is what happens when six months or two years into marriage, a wife will say, “My husband changed. He is not the person I married.”
A husband will likely say, “My wife is not the woman that I thought she was.”
They both had formed mental images of their ideal spouse and it takes time before their brain can allow them to see the real person from their idealised version.
I remember while we were dating, I loved my then boyfriend’s voice. There was a deep tinge to it when he would simply say, “Hey, how’s the going?”
I would hum Paul de Senneville’s, Mariage d'amour, marriage of love, which was apt then. I now accuse him of putting that voice for me to specifically hook me because I no longer feel it.
Could it be that he stopped faking the voice or that I had amplified it 10 times and it felt like a baritone from beyond the heavens yonder?
There are two things likely to happen once we get into a marriage. One is the person that we idolised ends up metamorphosing into their true human self. We are stunned, confused and disillusioned because we’d rather hold onto the ideal and not face the real.
The other is that we easily fall into the adage of familiarity breeds contempt.
In the first instance, Shakespeare best described it when he said we are in love with the idea of love. We date with the love shades on and it is impossible to see anything else other than the idealised versions of our love interests. Even the littlest gesture is a thousand times amplified to seem surreal, like an out of this world experience.
“He texted me!” We talk about it like we would if an alien landed and we managed to decipher his language. The idea of love is what we carry with us from heaven knows where.
Hubby had the ideal wife in his mind way before we even met, but then, his reality of a wife was the real woman who had no qualms about dishes staying in the sink overnight when she felt overwhelmed, and wondered why he did not attend to them if this disturbed him.
I had my idolised version but my reality was a male who hogged the beddings and was inconsiderate of my feelings. It takes marriage to uncover and truly love the real human being you are with.
Problems start when the real person is revealed and we find it impossible to get rid of the image we have created in our minds of them and see the real person that is open and ready to love us.
Until we reach a level of acceptance of the real, we stay in some denial space, holding onto the ideal version until the chickens come home to roost and the relationship starts falling apart.
I think that the faster we get out of the honeymoon phase of our relationships, the faster we can truly experience love and intimacy, the real lasting kind, warts and all.
Karimi is a wife who believes in marriage. email@example.com