Sunday, 11 December 2011

Love is Death & other thoughts on a special day

(that's not us in this photograph above. Just a photo I took when I used to shoot weddings. I don't shoot weddings anymore).

Seven years ago today, a seven year friendship became a marriage. I still remember sweating like a pregnant fish underneath my beautiful white boubou as I was called forward to be introduced to the family of my bride. I can see her beautiful face as she confirmed that I, the short young man standing before her, was The One she had chosen to live the rest and best years of her life with. I  felt grateful and still am. It’s an amazing experience to be chosen. To be loved. To be singled out, among seven billion people and be affirmed as worthy enough to receive Love.

I don’t know if there’s such a thing as a perfect marriage. What I know is on the day you enter a perfect marriage, it is no longer perfect. Why? Because you aren’t perfect. The trick is to see the good points and magnify them. My wife has been great at doing this. Even in moments when I’ve taken decisions that totally defy logic, like leaving the world of advertising as a creative director to become a photographer in a country where photographers are thought to be illiterate, dull and dumb, she totally backed me.

There’s nothing as discouraging as when the one person you love doesn’t respect you enough to trust your choices, doesn’t support your dreams and ambitions or is too busy chasing their own dream to notice you are a part of their life. Sacrifice is the master ingredient that makes Love delicious. The only way to experience true love is to just plunge in. Drink deep or taste not. I see too many people replaying the bad experiences of their past and transposing those feelings and fears on new relationships. Trust me, it’s not worth it. All men are not the same. All women don’t have the same mother.  Even identical twins are two different people.

Now, let’s talk about sex. There are innumerable blogs, websites, books and articles dedicated to sex. But, honestly, sex outside of love is no different from hugging a cold wall. Where is the warmth? Where is the affection? Every man, every woman deserves better than just sex. Try love. It can be addictive… as it should be.

It’s hard to be this vocal on Love and not arouse the cynicism in some people. I’d like to repeat that mine is not a perfect marriage. Actually, four years ago, my wife and I took “The Marriage Course”, an amazing programme designed by Nick and Sila Lee. It was a life transforming experience. That was when I learnt that we were not the only couple struggling, and also that if we both were serious enough, we could find ways to make it work. I believe in marriage. I believe loving your spouse is the single most important gift you can give your children. But even more importantly, I believe Love is learned. Unfortunately, most people just jump into marriage expecting it to work by itself. You must work the marriage to make it work. I’m still working on mine… and I’m determined to make it work all the way.

Finally, I must say something I wish I could avoid saying but needs to be said: “The people who will hurt you the most in life are the people you love”. Love makes vulnerable. Choosing to love is a dangerous decision but once you make it… and get it working, nothing beats it. Enjoy your week and remember Christmas is the Love Season. Go Love.

How Do You Uproot 500 Years of Racism?