When love bursts forth in the springtime of life, lovers believe they know each other, but in the majority of cases, they know only the surface. And they commit themselves in marriage without really knowing each other.
For that matter, the human being is almost always an unknown even to him/her self. Many persons are reserved by instinct, and barely open up interior doors calculatedly but more to observe than to be observed.
Much more yet; during the first phases of love, many lovers idealize the beloved: in reality many lovers do not fall in love with the real person but with the ideal image.
This image is a mix of sublimated subconscious dreams, evocations and fantasies based on screen characters, idealized projections one’s own progenitors… And that ideal image is transferred to the beloved person identifying, without being aware, the image with the person.
Result? An idealized person.
That is a dangerous symbiosis; by this the dreams hide the reality with a deceptive mirage, and the truth of the beloved person flow through the sieve of a dream.
In this way many lovers, in their love-struck state, chase after impossible dreams. They seem to be mesmerized, they live in an enchanted world, they are not interested in the objective reality of the beloved, and they don’t want to wake up.
If a friend tries to warn them: “Open your eyes; look how he/she has such and such defects …” these mesmerized lovers ingeniously respond: “He/she will change when we are married.” Like an ostrich that hides the head in the sand, these lovers prefer not to come out of their golden fantasies and continue their daydreaming.
Some time ago, they were dazzled by looking at that figure, those eyes, that face. They were irresistibly fascinated by that spontaneity, that easy laughter, the expressiveness of his/her temperament, his/her sympathy. And all that was with an obsessive fixation, at times with certain elements of neurosis.
On the other hand, in this stage of being love-struck, some young people strive to hide their true personalities: with the intention of captivating, they try to exhibit artificial charms, qualities which they do not really have.
These are games of courtship which, in some cases, are rooted in a low self-esteem of the subject. These individuals think this way: “Given what I am, with so little qualities, who then is going to like me?” So, they resort to these stratagems in order to seduce the beloved; but by doing so the true nature of the person is devalued.
On the other hand, there are times when love is an illusion devoid of objectivity. One dreams madly. One aspires to a marriage replete with prodigies. Fantasy is left to run wild; they imagine a dreamlike existence together with a partner bedecked with charisms.
On the other hand, all this certainly does not cease to have its advantages, because otherwise, who would get married at all? Who would dare have children? Rightly do people affirm that love is blind.
The young get married. Living together, like life itself, is furrowed with unexpected turns and stones on the way. And the newly-wed, within the intimacy of home, find themselves for the first time with sharp edges and negative characteristics of the personality, realities which they never imagined of the other.
Real life will take charge, therefore, of letting dreams vanish. Fantasies are carried away by the winds of change and we are left with the naked reality between our hands: that the ideal couple does not exist.
For many young people this awakening is quite painful and cruel, although necessary and beneficial, as the poet A. Machado says:
Behind living and dreaming,
Stands what matters much more:
So then, from the first quarrels, the first shouting matches, nervous outbursts, the new couple begins to show themselves as they really are, and for the first time begin to really know one another.
The majority of couples pass this phase of mutual discovery, and this passage from dream to reality, which we call awakening, is of the utmost importance.
Spouses already knew something of each other during the positive conditioning of personality because what is beautiful is always on sight. But the negative characteristics, which are not lacking in anyone, sometimes are disguised calculatedly, at other times instinctively. But in the permanent dealing with each other within the privacy of the home, from the ups and downs of emotional states and other emergencies, the characteristics of irascibility, resentment, impatience, aspects that until now were hidden appear plainly at this time. But uncovering the dark side, the real personality emerges in its crude reality.
Before this unexpected discovery, the first reaction of young couples is usually allowing the invasion of disillusion, with the exclamation: “If I had only known that he/she was like that…” It is a very delicate moment. Hope may shatter in a thousand pieces. Individuals with a fragile personality immediately begin to think of separation.
We will continue on our next topic “Acceptance”.
Extracted from the book ´Happy Marriage´ by Fr. Ignacio Larrañaga