Foreword - My Personal Views on Love and Marriage
I should explain that I am not the easiest person to live with – I have opinions about life generally which are unusual and atypical, and there are some things or values in life which are to me more important than others, which can be difficult for a partner to accept.
I am entrepeneurial by nature, by which I mean that I would far rather be my own boss, than climbing up some corporate ladder, with a safe salary. This can go “against the grain” for many women, who naturally prefer the comfort of safety and security in the marital home.
So what is love exactly?
If I am honest – and that is the point of this Blog – or “memoirs” – love has always been a tricky word for me to understand. When I first meet someone of the opposite sex, the first thing that has to happen is sexual chemistry – in other words, I have to find her sexually attractive. For there to be a possibility of an ongoing relationship, I have to continue to enjoy her company, and find her interesting and/or stimulating.
At some stage in that relationship, for it to progress further, I need to feel that I would like to spend my life – or invest my future – in the other person as my permanent partner.
Marriage was introduced many years ago primarily to protect women, and to give them a status in life: this gradually led to emancipation and then (in the UK at least) to explicit “rules” to ensure fair division of property in the event that a marriage was ended or dissolved for any reason. I fully support these principles, even though it does provide the legal profession (one of my least favourite “bodies”) with an unending source of income.
Amongst my values, perhaps the most important of all to me is loyalty. I expect my life partner to be publicly loyal in all matters. Of course there will be private disagreements, which is healthy and part of any relationship, but I need to know that the person I have committed to “has my back”.
Because of my own strong beliefs and my need to be entrepeneurial – with both the risks and rewards that such a lifestyle inevitably bring – I expect my wife to be fully supportive in both good times and bad. In matters of business (or family income and lifestyle) if I am the one doing the work, and creating the income, I also expect constructive support.
My view is that I do not need or want the approval of the Church or Society when it comes to choosing to share my life with another person. I make the committment, and nobody else is involved in my decision. I hope that I choose wisely and that I know and understand the person well enough to make that personal commitment.
Of course, this goes “both ways”, and similarly I hope that my partner knows me and my values well enough to accept the challenge. And it goes without saying that if one is lucky enough to have children, then personal priorities have to change, because a family has been formed, and – in most cases – the wife will need to devote more of her time and attention to the family.
If I had the choice, I would not have been married at all. I would have preferred an open partnership – it is only social pressure “to do the right thing” and the need to “protect” the spouse that did persuade me to get married on three different occasions.
It is not in my nature or character to be disloyal or to cheat on my partner – this never happened except when the marriages had irretrievably broken down and divorce was being initiated. There is no doubt that men are progammed to be more sexually active and to procreate with as many partners as possible – just take a look at the animal kingdom from which we all evolved – and no matter how much “civilisation” tries to intrude, that basic programming will never change.
For me though, much as though I may have been tempted, and important as sexual relationships are to me, fidelity was one of the ways I always demonstrated loyalty to my chosen partner.
In all my marriages, I have been the one to instigate the “divorce” or, as I would call it, the “parting of the ways”.
And in each case, my wife has received the lion’s share of the “estate” and I have not provided any legal challenge in the divorce proceedings, because – in my view – it is the price I paid for not choosing wisely enough in the first place. My overall feeling subsequent to each divorce has been one of disappointment with the woman concerned..