"First love preserves throught a marriage the bright, living kernel of the
falling-in-love that engendered it, the outgoing of the heart by which the lover
recognizes, sometimes instantly and sometimes by progressive stages, the human
being who can soothe or satisfy his deepest desires-the one person with whom he
can redemptively re-create the primeval love for a father, mother, sister,
brother or other family member that could never be fulfulled. And though, when
he falls in love, the lover may know little about the beloved, whose soul may be
a mystery and whose body may hide beneath its clothes an ugly defect or scar yet
to be uncovered by his desire, still he is bonded to his beloved blindly and
trustingly and is ready to die for her even before he has seen her nakedness.
This is the meaning of the expression "falling in love" found in so many
languages, for the lover has as it were fallen into a deep pit (at the bottom of
which may lurk a snake or scorpion), and there must build his love for himself.
And even after the outward signs have yielded their inner promise in all its
glory or poverty, its undreamed-of heights or insufferable depths, the glow of
the first falling-in-love continues everywhere and all the times. Yes, even when
the beloved is in a wheelchair in an old-age home, diapered and connected to
tubes, even then the flash of a smile in moldering eyes, the ancient movement of
a veiny hand, the heard-again lilt of a dear voice, even a single sentence
containing the right words , can resurrect the first falling-in-love in a
twinkling-that love that unconditionally and in advance forgives every weakness
and failing, if only for the reason that in advance it knew nothing about them.
Indeed, nothing is more democratic than this total embrace of the beloved;for
just as the state, or the republic, can never revoke the citizenship of a
citizen, be he a spy, traitor, rapist, or murderer, so first love forbears in
all things because the first, unconditional falling-in-love persists.
There is another kind of love. The kind of love that has to do with choice. A more
developed variety, skipping love's primitive and dangerous "fall" for what is
deliberately and courageously chosen-not because it is the best choice, since
there is always a better one, but because it has potential. (I once watched a
nature program on television about a certain species of duck or swan that takes
four years of painstaking investigation to choose a mate-the longest aptitude
test on record.) Rather than marriage as a first flowering of feeling that lasts
only until the next falling-in-love, the love of choice offers something less
passionate but more stable:responsibility. In a moment of crisis the first kind
of lover declares emotionally,"What is done is done-I fell in love
with you, and so I forgive you," but whereas the second kind says
coolly,"Yes, what's done is done-I chose you, and I am responsible
for my choice."But-and here's the rub-while love of the first kind
can by its nature overlook what it doesn't like, love of the second kind is
incapable of such evasions. And so when something bad shakes the foundations,
"responsible love" is too weak to support it-and at that point the whole
structure collapses, and all that's left to say is,"You'd better pack your
To paraphrase the writer there are two kinds of love. The one that is unconditional and the one that is conditional. Many of us in Somali culture had grandparents who went through arranged marriage. The question arises as to if they actually had conditional love or unconditional love? My thoughts are most of them had conditional love/responsible love. The ones who were blessed had unconditional love.
If most of you haven't noticed, the diaspora Somalis divorce rates are skyrocketing. You would logically conclude there is something wrong with such a picture if in the past there was a 90-95 retention rate in the marriages why such a drastic change? You would think in the west they would have more of a freedom to choose their love but instead their marriage is based on choice;warmth? xtra income? Children? Security? Immigration status?