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Anjuly Mathai
Anjuly Mathai


Keeping love alive

Keeping love alive

Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to address the elephant in the room: should you love with your heart or your mind?

There is an interesting catchphrase in the book Love Story by Erich Segal which you have probably heard of: “Love means never having to say you are sorry.” I remember reading this line and wondering why the hell it became so popular. Because it is so patently untrue. I haven’t met a single couple in a successful relationship who haven’t apologised to one another at some point. That’s when I realised two things: First, just because you are a best-selling writer doesn’t mean you know the first thing about what you are talking. And second: marriage is a bumpy ride and there is no way you can survive it without greasing the corners with many ‘pleases’, ‘thank yous’ and ‘sorrys’. Contrary to popular belief, love is a polite affair. The only men who can abuse you and ravish you at the same time exist in regency romances.

There is a great quote by a veteran in the field of love. “Men learn to love the woman they are attracted to,” said Woody Allen. “Women learn to become attracted to the man they fall in love with.” So, here’s my winning solution to the problem: fall in love with your mind and then teach your heart to follow suit. Only then will you be able to see beyond cup sizes and six-packs and determine whether what glitters is really gold.

Love means having to say you are sorry every time you spend the money for the household expense to buy yourself a Chanel bag or every time you bring your friends over without your wife’s permission. It also means lying in certain situations. How many times have I seen my father evade the question when my mother asks him if she looks good in something that doesn’t suit her? And the truth is that, I am glad he does so. Because sometimes, honesty can be cruel. Sometimes you have to say you love your partner even when you don’t really feel like it, only because she needs the reassurance. Sometimes, you have to compliment your wife on her cooking, even though you hope that your worst enemy won’t get subjected to such torture. My mother keeps telling me that love is about making compromises, but I also believe it is about being considerate.

I once read somewhere that if you want to get a man to live in his boxer shorts and a woman to stop shaving her legs, just get them married. The scariest part of love, perhaps, is letting your guard down. But the best part, is knowing that it doesn’t matter. One day, when I get married, I hope I will have the courage to say what Marilyn Monroe once did: “If you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.”

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