Saturday, 29 August 2009

When we really love someone

When we really love someone, we always strive to give the very best to them. We even willingly sacrifice ourselves or give up on things. Most of the time, we love them based on what we perceive how they want to be loved. But, is that really how they want to be loved? I guess, maybe not.

I read somewhere about this a while ago. Tests were performed on couples where they need to choose which furniture design they think their partners might like. The result is intriguing - most of them were wrong. When asked what make them choose the design - it is because they like it, so they assume their partners like it too. The conclusion of the test is most of us think our partners like what we like. Or, our partners are very much like us.

I remember clearly about a story I saw in a movie many years ago. The story is set in the early time in China.

Chang is a high-ranking government officer, a judge in court. But he is corrupted and much-hated in his community where he services. He takes every bribes offered by the riches and easily twists the justice in court. However, despite all that, beneath him is a very kind man who just want to be a "normal" officer as non-corrupted officers are very rare back then and can easily be out of the job due to political reasons (somehow, it maybe quite the same now) . In fact, behind the scene, he secretly help people and becomes the masked hero to the people. No one suspects he is the masked hero - to everyone, he is very far from being a hero.

Even his soon-to-be wife, Jen, a demure and very likable girl in the neighborhood, is kept in the dark. But, somehow, Jen does see something beyond what other people see - the kindness in him that she knows one day will be shown to the people. So, she stands by him no matter how many people oppose him and question her why she wants be with a man like Chang. She hopes, one day, Chang can change his corrupted ways and turn into a respected man.

But soon, with so many things against them, things turn more nasty and they eventually break up. Despite that, their love still remain. The once strong waves that they have been through suddenly become calm. Everything is calm but also lifeless.

One day, they bump into each other again on the street and decide to have dinner together at their old favorite stall. And their favourite order is a bowl of wanton dumplings noodles for each. When the bowls of fresh hot soup noodles arrive, out of habit, Jen begins to take out 4 wanton dumplings out of 6 from her bowl to pass to Chang's. But before she reaches, she paused momentarily, in awkward realization that she should not be doing that anymore. Chang catches her act, and smile awkwardly too. Jen then takes back her dumplings and they begin on their meals.

Either it is to break the silence or the awkwardness of the situation, Jen reveals to Chang how she actually like to eat the wanton dumplings. Due to her love for him, she wants to sacrifice her favorites to give the best to him. Chang is so shocked by the revelation, that he pauses for a moment, and then burst out laughing. Now, it is Jen's turn to be shocked. Chang quickly reveals that he actually does not really like the wanton dumplings and prefer the noodles and the flavour of the soups. He thought that Jen must have feel the same and want to get rid of her wanton dumplings. All those whiles, by eating all the dumplings, he always becomes very full and it sometimes make his stomach uneasy. He has always wondered why Jen never bother to ask the waiters to reduce the dumplings during orders if she does not really like them.

Though it is ironic to learn that after such a long time being together, but both are very relieved to know these in the ends. They both wonder why they never share these little simple preferences when they were together and just assume that the other person feels and like the same things. Though this is just an misunderstanding on a very small thing, but it is also an indication on how they can wrongly perceive each others' love and sacrifices at times.

Making sacrifices and doing something that we do not really like doings for our loved ones are very admirable and important in a relationship. So are the basic things like hugging, kissing and intimacy. But, on top of that, are these challenges:
1) to find out and understand how our other halves really want to be loved.
2) sometimes, all it takes is ASK.
3) accepts the fact that they are different from us or even different from other people we know
4) accepts there are nothing wrong with them being different from us
5) do things for them which they really like.
6) let them do things that they like even though you do not like

Sometimes, it requires you to not be "yourself". Sometimes, it requires you to get out of your comfort zone. These are all very unique in each relationship and for different couples - means it is totally different situations with your ex and with your current.

The finding and understanding part is the most challenging. And often than not, it takes a long period of observation and probably have to go through a lot of misunderstandings to finally come to the right understanding. Then, it comes to the equally important part - accepting who they are and being able to compromise.

Photo Credit : Stock.xchng

In the story just now, Chang and Jen reunite in the end after they go through a whole cycle of learning how differences they are and yet how similar they are in misunderstanding each other.
Chang also becomes the true hero in this community when his honorable deeds are finally revealed. A fairy-tale story but there are things to learn from too - when you really love someone, just loving them may not be enough - love them the ways they want to be loved.


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