What makes you know that someone is the one? What makes you decide that someone is the person you would like to spend your whole life with?
[Disclaimer: I am no expert and, judging from my previous failures, very far from one. I don’t claim to be right in any way; this is only my personal thoughts and my version of the truth.]
After a number of encounters and farewells, I have come to the realisation that the perfect relationship should be based on a 50:50 principle:
50% head, 50% heart.
Simply put, an ideal relationship is one where
1) being with your partner is both a reasonable idea and a carefully-weighed decision (reason), and
2) you love being with your partner.
It goes without saying, more often than not, we have a mental checklist of the ideal partner. Be it religious considerations, intelligence, looks, riches, loyalty, social standing… the list goes on. In our encounter with a prospective partner, we would unconsciously weigh them against our checklist. Yet, once all (or almost all, because nobody’s perfect) boxes are ticked, we are left with one more box:
The inexplicable, irrational factor of love.
While I understand that the heart is fickle, feelings change, and love fades, I still stubbornly believe that love is an essential factor. Again I must reiterate that this is just me, and this is probably not Islamically justified, but I personally don’t want to be with, let alone marry, someone I am not in love with.
Love balances out every unchecked box in our checklist, making it irrelevant and of less significance, while reason keeps our mind clear in judging whether or not a relationship with this person is feasible.
Without reason, the relationship would just be as fragile and fickle as fire, based on a love which may probably disappear in 10, 20, 30 years. But without love, the relationship would be as dry and dull as the desert, based on pragmatic reasons which do nothing to fill up the soul. Therefore one should not outweigh the other, and one should not go without the other.
In my case, for instance, I went out with a guy who ticked almost every box in the checklist, and after some time I did grow fond of him. But considering religion, geographical distance, and future plans, reason told me that it would be unrealistic to consider a long-term relationship. For all the checked boxes ironically there were too many ‘against’ factors; love wasn’t big enough to trump over reason; and reason ultimately won. (Such a cool reasoning from both sides is probably why we remain good friends.)
In other cases with other people, as much as I was infatuated with or interested in them at one point, reason would always find a reason to annul such feelings. He doesn’t practice Islam properly. His political views are too different. His outlook on social causes is incompatible with mine. Our visions for the future cannot be compromised. He doesn’t believe in gender equality or women’s rights. He’s a die-hard smoker.
Frankly, I’m not sure whether it’s me being too rigid with my considerations (read: being an overly picky bitch) or it’s all simply because I was not that into them (thus unable to overlook the aforementioned reasons). But I remain steadfast in my belief that love and reason should go hand-in-hand in deciding one’s partner.
Because I had been in a relationship which was based on the 50:50 principle. Where being with him was a good idea, and where I loved being with him. Where he checked every single major box on the checklist, and where I happened to love him so much that the unchecked boxes no longer mattered. (Obviously that was before he turned into a complete and utter dickhead.)
But the point is: don’t settle for less than that. 🙂