I think I’ve mentioned before that I belong to a book club. Last month at our get-together, the selected book was “The White Masai” by Corine Hofmann. It’s the auto-biographical tale of a woman who travels to Kenya, falls in love at first sight with a Masai warrior, and turns her entire life upside-down to move there and marry him. I think I got six or seven chapters into it before I couldn’t read anymore. There were a few reasons I couldn’t get into this book.
One, I don’t really enjoy reading autobiographies or non-fiction at all, really. Two, I have a really hard time believing in the whole ‘love at first sight’ thing. I’ve heard people tell me that sort of thing has happened to them before and sometimes, it works out. That’s great! I just think those stories are the exception to the rule. Three, this woman was supposedly a smart, self-assured business owner on an adventurous vacation. And she gives it all up, throws it away, for a man she doesn’t know, someone she can’t even speak to because they don’t speak a common language, and someone who ultimately turns out to be the exact opposite of what she’d wanted in a husband.
Needless to say, it led to some very interesting discussion at our book club gathering. Some of the ladies in the group thought the strangest part was moving to another country to be with someone. Granted, we’re talking a difference not only of simple geography but an entire culture and way of living. It’s a little different than, say, a woman in London meeting and falling in love with a man in New York. Sure, it’s two countries, but at least the way of life is similar enough that it wouldn’t be such a shock for one or the other to move.
Like I said before, the thing I had the hardest time with was the love at first sight. I can completely understand someone meeting someone from a different country/city/continent and getting to know them, then falling in love and deciding to make those decisions after that. It’s not all that uncommon. In today’s digital and internet age, more and more people are meeting on-line, all over the world. Yes, more often than not, people restrict themselves to mingling with those in their own city.
In my usual, roundabout way, I wanted to ask just what someone might be willing to do for love, or for the love of their life. Would the average person uproot their life in order to move across the country or to a new continent to be with them? Would you?
Sometimes the biggest gesture or sacrifice you make for your partner doesn’t have to be moving to be with them. If you’re lucky, that’s not a decision you have to make. There are other difficult things to decide though. If your partner is allergic to animal fur, would you give up any hope of adopting that puppy you’d been eyeing? If you wanted to fly to Tahiti for a vacation, but your partner was deathly afraid of airplanes, would you plan a road trip across the country instead? If you wanted to see the latest romantic comedy this weekend, but your partner had their heart set on the latest superhero movie, what would you do?
All right, so not every decision is a big one. I think you get my meaning though. What exactly are you willing to give up or do for the one you love? It starts with small things like deciding what to do each weekend. As you grow closer and fall deeper in love, your decisions change to include things like furniture and mortgages, then children and retirement plans. Somewhere in there, really difficult choices have to be made about careers and school and sometimes where to live, as I’ve mentioned above.
I wonder about this in relation to my writing, of course. I always wonder how these situations could be written into a story and how plausible I can make them. In the world of my “Ice” stories, I think the sacrifices are obvious. A woman would have to be willing to give up seeing her partner every day or having him there for every important occasion. That does mean the man in those relationships is giving up the same thing. I think it would be hard to sustain a relationship like that and I applaud those that can make it work in the real world.
That’s not to say people who aren’t hockey players – or dating hockey players – don’t have to face similar choices. What about the man or woman who chooses a career that requires settling in a remote location? As their partner, would you pack up and move with them, giving up the conveniences of a big city, if that’s what you’d always been used to?
I’ve had to make difficult decisions in my relationships, and I’ve had my heart broken by someone else making those decisions as well. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be willing to face these tough choices again someday. Isn’t that what we all want anyway? In the end, don’t you want to have to make those sacrifices? Don’t you want to know you’d be making your partner happy because you decided to see the new superhero movie? 🙂
So…in the end, what would you do for love? Or maybe the question should be, what wouldn’t you do for love?