Love and marriage aren’t necessarily synonymous. But that does raise the question – what is the difference? Today we are going to answer this life-quest-worthy question that has plagued mankind for almost an eternity.
And we are going to be doing this with the help of a beautiful, allegorical story that has a lot of wisdom to offer for those who care to listen. However, before we get to our magical tale of wisdom, why not take a look at how the question of love has been answered so far in the millennia?
A Dilemma Of The Ages: What Is Love?
Three simple words but when weaved together they pose a question to throw a grown adult into a downward spiral of agonizing confusion. Since time immemorial, humanity has strived to decipher the meaning of love. Some have even gone so far as to claim it is the center of our existence – the meaning of all life.
So very fascinating is this phenomenon that most of humanity has thirsted to possess some part of it. If they couldn’t attain the emotion, they proceeded to abuse the word. Which is why, currently, the true meaning of the word “love” has been tragically lost in a generation’s worth of misuse. The exploitation of this word has occurred to such an extent that it is rather unfair to blame a millennial for turning cynical to the concept of love.
After all, we use the word “love” to express a strong affection for someone (I love you) but, at the same time, we also use it to express our pleasure (I love pizza).Complicating things further, “love” as a word is also used to describe a human virtue – one that reflects kindness, affection and compassion. This happens to be a state of being and is by no means related to anybody or anything outside you. It is claimed that this is the purest form of “love”.
Since “love” possesses so many different shades, how do we know if the romantic love we feel is legitimate – theactual, real-deal? What is true love anyway? If it is as pure and sacred an emotion as people claim it be, how is it different from the pure and sacred institution of marriage?
This answer lies in the following story.
The Story Of A Student And His Teacher
Once upon a time, a young man was troubled with the questions that often trouble young men. So engrossed was he in his internal dilemma that he could scarcely concentrate on his daily tasks. He paid no heed to fashion, food or friends and began looking decidedly unkempt and gaunt. But he never noticed this outward deterioration for his internal state was in a tumult.
One day, his tutor, a wise old man who lived next door, decided he had suffered enough of his young student’s disinterest in the lessons. Exasperated, he proceeded to ask his pupil just what it was that plagued him so.
The young man recognized his tutor as a man of intelligence; however, he was hesitant to reveal the personal burden on his mind. Finally, after further prodding and a few stern admonishments, he gave in.
The student met his teacher’s eyes and asked, “What is love?”
For an instant, the older man’s eyes widened in surprise. Then he smiled in understanding.
“To answer this question, I need you to go to the wheat field and pick the biggest wheat that you can find, then return home. However, obey one rule: only go through the field once and don’t ever turn back to pick”.
The student nodded his assent and ventured into the golden wheat field. In the first planted row, he came across several big prospects. But these only served to raise his ambition. Thinking that there must be an even bigger prize further along, the student greedily wandered deeper into the field. He came across bigger wheat but each time he encountered a worthy prize he wondered if there was an even bigger treat waiting deeper inside.
The unsatisfied student continued this process until he had traveled through more than half the field. This was when he realized the remaining wheat were not as big as the previous ones. He began to regret his decision and was forced to return home empty-handed.
His tutor wasn’t surprised.
“This is love”, he explained. “During your quest, you kept searching for something better but later you came to realize that in your assurance of plenty big wheat, you had already missed the best one.”
The student pondered his mentor’s words for a while then posed another question.
“What is marriage?”
“For this, you must go to the cornfield”, answered the wise old man. “Once again pick the biggest corn and come back home. However, remember, once you pass them you cannot return.”
This time the student went prepared. Experience had made him wiser and he was determined not to repeat his mistake. Once he reached the middle of the field, he picked corn that he thought was relatively bigger than its neighbors and satisfied, presented it to his teacher.
His teacher smiled. “This time when you went to get corn, you settled for one that is good. But, more importantly, you chose one that you believed was the best you could ever get”, explained the old man. “This is marriage.”
It can take a lifetime for people to truly understand what love and marriage mean. For some, even that isn’t enough. What did you think of the wise, old teacher’s interpretation? Did you happen to agree?
Let us know in the comments down below!