“What do I do when I don’t feel love with my husband?”
More than a year ago, a friend asked me this question. She felt that she was in a difficult situation and that she hoped that she could find an answer to this question.
This is a question that most of us, if not all of us, must face and solve. We value our intimate relationships. They are our sources of comfort and assurance. It is hard to imagine life without love. We will do anything and everything to find and keep it. Often times we find them slipping away from our hands. We are chasing him and we discover that the more we run after him, the further he gets away from us.
My friend’s question is valid. After all, our first understanding of love is feeling. It was mostly our mothers who taught us that. We learned it when we were young. Soft touch and hug my mom. His kisses are warm and light. Her loving outlook – it all gave us that feeling we later called love.
From a feeling, our understanding of love has become a passion. It is something we “feel”. We believed that the feeling lay in our hearts, although doctors and psychologists have always told us that this feeling came from a part of the human brain called the hypothalamus.
This must have led to the thought that the correct way to express your love is: “I love you from the depths of the hypothalamus.”
Love is in the brain and not in the heart, as the saying goes – in scientists and doctors at least.
Doctors and scientists explain that this romantic feeling is the result of a specific hormone production. This is called “dopamine”. When dopamine is released into the brain, we feel happy. Somehow, we become addicted to this feeling of enjoyment. This should be the reason why the substances that cause severe dependence are called “dopant” – perhaps an abbreviation of “dopamine”.
This must be the reason why feeling romantic love makes people soar.
This also leads us to ask whether this is the romantic “summit” we are looking for. Could the “high” from dopamine release into the brain be what we call “in love”?
I think the challenge posed by my girlfriend’s question lies: Can we rely on hormonal secretions in certain parts of the brain to stay in love?
Not sure that we have complete control over all of our brain’s functions, let alone the frequency, intensity, and direction of hormone secretion. Should we base our romantic relationships on the uncertain? Somewhere in the red avalanche that falls into the trash, somewhere in the mess of heart cards and wrapping crumpled candy, there are love stories.
At some point, while accumulating (and beyond) another Valentine’s Day, most of us said that love cannot be bought. But given that consumer consumption on vacations has long since reached the final speed, let’s move on to something else – the truth is that these stuffed recipes and swollen tons are writing a story we want to believe about love. How it is granted, how it grows, how it is accepted and how it is presented.
We always want to know what love will look like, if we can make it and shape it.
For me, love has the shape of a skinny little guy wearing a loose, misty hoodie and always dancing his eyebrows with a confusing ballet. He found me somewhere in the fog last February, when I was so depressed that I didn’t even bathe. He does not seem to notice. Instead, I crept into space next to me, and he stayed by my side ever since: Between my talent for pouring ketchup on myself and his improvised laboratories on black panthers or observation state, we are in good shape.
So there is a way to form love.
But most importantly, love is shaped by a thousand daily actions that reduce the edges of a difficult society. Love listens. Love is the choice not to speak, so those who are silenced may have more room to speak. Love is the way the Missouri Tigers football team has not leaked into the media saying Mike Sam is gay. Love allows people to decide when to see their stories, for whom and in what way.
Love extends this property of history to people of all cultures and ethnicities. Winnipeg Art Gallery