Men in the pursuit of Love
by Felix Obi
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I have always wondered why we (men) can't easily resist the emotional pull that beautiful women exact on our hearts. We would go the extra mile to marry any lady that is certified as "beautiful" not just in the eye of the beholder. This agreed beauty is not the one we talk about in relative terms but that which all and sundry would not pick up a fight to accept as beautiful. At least beauty pageants are known to have the right statistics and variables that make society class them as beauty queens. In a sense, we have some degree of congruity in what we seen as beautiful, especially in relation to women. These beautiful women also know they are beautiful to behold, and some revel in and relish that reality.
There is this subtle or seemingly palpable pride associated with men who are fortunate to have married beautiful women. At social functions, the couple would become the cynosure of all eyes courtesy of the glitter from the woman's well sculptured frame. Guys whose girlfriends are beautiful would always steal the show at parties and shows. Somehow, dating or having a beautiful woman beside a man does something positive to his male ego that ranges from pride to the outer fringes of possessiveness. I was the least bewildered when a man did a full page advertorial in a Nigerian Newspaper sometime ago, literally begging the stunningly beautiful Ms. Modupe Ozolua ( Nigeria's Queen of Body Enhancement Surgery ) to marry him. A man would like people to acknowledge his wife's beautiful look, but wouldn't feel safe if the wife freely accepts or acknowledges such compliments from 'on looking men' who would like to 'appreciate God's handiwork' as we'd normally say.
It might be a little safe to say that many are the travails of man with a beautiful wife, spouse or girlfriend because he would have to fight battles with 'other men' much of his life time. Men with beautiful wives have had their wives forcefully taken away from them by kings and regents in yore years. In today's world, you need not be a king to be able to snatch another's beautiful wife. All you'd need is to have so much money, status, fame and whatever that would enhance your social status and guarantee you some power of influence. Why is it that men would go all out to win the love or attention of a beautiful woman?
What psychological or behavioral model can we use to deconstruct this pervasive behavior in man? Laboratory animals may shed some light on certain aspects of behavior but no social or behavioral scientist would claim to be a master in this complex 'issues of the heart". In my search for answers, I had to try and go way back to consult some records of how sages of the past dealt with this phenomenon.
I checked out the first man, Adam and I discovered something that amazed me as a poet and I have drawn inspiration from him since then. His innate creative talents came alive like a bubbling spring when he first spotted his beautiful wife, Eve. Her beauty so stunned him that he became the first recorded "romantic poet' of all times whose rhymes have been recited at most marriage ceremonies for centuries. Generations down the line, this quest and pursuit of love in beautiful women has not waned. And a man with a beautiful wife keeps drawing the envy and even ire of his fellow and seemingly 'unfortunate' men.
I also checked out good' ol folks like the father of the Jews, Grandpa Abraham. Papa Abbey's wife, Sarah was described as "a woman of beautiful countenance". The 'crime" of having a beautiful wife nearly caused him his dear life when he immigrated to Egypt . Save that God intervened; Pharaoh would have made a mincemeat of him for having a beautiful wife. His son Isaac towed the same path to seek for a spouse that made eyes turn and heads to roll. His wife Rebecca was described as "young and very beautiful to behold; a virgin no man had known before". He married Becky shortly after his beautiful mother (Sarah) died, and her love brought him so much comfort and succor as recorded in the Bible. Like his dad Abbey, he had to 'lie on oath' to the men in Gerar City of the Philistines that beautiful Becky was just his sister because "he was afraid they would kill him because she was beautiful to behold". King Abimelech had to enact and pronounce an edict banning all the 'interested men' in his kingdom to steer clear of beautiful Mrs. Becky Isaac when he found out the truth. Thus confirming the maxim that many are the travails of a man with a beautiful wife!
Little wonder Abraham's grandson, Jacob could not resist the allure of a beautiful woman. A man born of a beautiful mother would unlikely seek for love in a woman not considered beautiful. Moreso, Jacob was a witty and trendy guy; a go-getter who goes all out to get what he wanted in life without having to play by the rules of romantic engagement. By all means, he had the trappings of a lady's man and didn't hide his disdain for ladies not considered beautiful.
Rachael's beauty smote him for real the first time he saw her by a well because " Rachael was beautiful of form and appearance" having all the right curves and the right specs! He broke convention and used his macho power to pull away the stone cover of the well so she can water her flock. He was so overwhelmed by the emotion of love that 'he kissed Rachael, lifted up his voice and wept" (Genesis 29:11). And within a month of dating her, he expressed his interest in marrying beautiful Rachael, for marrying a beautiful wife was one dream he had set out to pursue and fulfill by all means. He was penniless to pay the agreed dowry but he had an idea.
He was ready to work for seven good years of hard labor, so long as Rachael would become his wife eventually. But Mr. Jaycee was in a hurry that he didn't even check out the customs and traditions of his in-laws which forbade a younger sister from marrying before her older sister. His father-in-law used that legal loophole as a leeway to outsmart him. Jacob was thus made to marry Leah, whom he considered not beautiful enough. His heart yearned for Becky still. They struck another deal to serve an extra seven years of hard labour and the bible said it succinctly, "So Jacob served for Rachel seven years and they seemed only a few days to him because of the love he had for her".
Like other men before him, Jacob had to face the grim reality that marrying a beautiful woman wouldn't solve all of his life's problems, nor will she be able to meet the deepest emotional needs he had. The same Rachel that made him do the irrational and unthinkable later made life almost miserable for him at some point. Though Jacob had a fulfilling career and was a very rich dude, he never really had a happy home due to presence of the 'contentious but beautiful Becky" and her tantrums. He had sought and found love in the hard places but it never gave him that true fulfillment he longed for in life.
The powerful Samson of old had a similar experience. He went to war against the Philistines because of a pretty babe he had toasted in Philistine...an enemy country! Like Jacob, his father-in-law gave out the love of his life to Samson's buddie. He was given another option, but his heart had to go for another pretty babe, Delilah who became his utter nemesis. King David would relate with Jacob's travails too. As a lad from a poor background, the thought of marrying the first princess of Israel , Merab spurred him to fight Goliath, the hit man. His father in-law, hoodwinked him with that offer because the princess for whom he risked his life was later given out in marriage to some guy called, Adriel. When he saw that his pretty sister-in-law, Michal was in love with him, he had to fight to kill, and excise the foreskins of 200 Philistines instead of the statutory 100 that was required for her bride price! Later in his life, Michal would become a thorn in his flesh too. A beautiful woman who disdained and deprecated his core values! But his love for beautiful women did not wane for he still added other men's beautiful wives (Abigail and Bathsheba) into his special collection of beautiful women. But was he ever satisfied having them?
When Jacob had acquired all that he loved; women and children, a business conglomerate, he still felt a hollow within which the things he loved could not fill. This became so real when he faced the threat of losing all that he had amassed .Esau, his twin brother whom he had outsmarted earlier had come for revenge with his mighty army but Jacob was defenseless and vulnerable. In his quest to win the love of a beautiful woman, he had forgotten his vows to God. At this place of watershed in his life, he sought God with a deep sense of desperation and passion far deeper than that with which he had pursued Rachel's love. His was a life transforming divine encounter. God visited him and filled that void for which a woman's love couldn't fill. And for the remaining part of his life, that longing for God never left him like a never filling notch!
Dave would experience a similar encounter with love personified. His verses and poetry changed into sacred songs and solos. The lute and harp which he played to enthuse and stoke his love for Michal and his other women had another audience after he got captivated by love at its most sublime form. Someone more beautiful and pleasant had captivated his heart. Someone who longed for whom to love unconditionally saw a heart yearning for true love. David, though a king would not hide this love for someone who said, "I have found in David, the son of Jesse, a man after my own heart". In response, David began to couch volumes of love notes to his beloved who had no other rival within his heart. Just have a peek at excerpts of his romantic verses:
"O God you're my God
Earnestly I seek you
My soul thirsts for you
My flesh longs for you
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there's no water
So I have looked for you
In the sanctuary
To see your power and your glory..
My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness.
My soul follows close behind you." ( Psalm 63:1-2,5,8)
This love he had for his Beloved spread and infected his fellow poets and troubadours. Chief among them were the sons of Korah whose verses were as passionate as David's. Join me as we scan through the excerpts below:
"As the deer pants for the water brooks
So pants my soul for you, O God
My soul thirsts for God
For the Living God
When shall I come and appear before God
And see his face?" (Psalm 42:1-2)
"How lovely is your dwelling place
O LORD God Almighty
My soul longs, yes, even faints
For the courts of the LORD
My heart and my flesh cry out
For the living God." (Psalm 84:1-2)
I never knew men can be this passionate about love. Jacob and David must have encountered love at a deeper level which most men have not yet discovered because they had all that men toil for years to acquire: money, fame and beautiful women! We (men) need tutorials, life coaching and mentoring from these passionate "lover boys" in our contemporary times. What do you guys think? An idealistic love worth pursuing or just another fable? Maybe we'll learn a thing or two from their passion for women and fame!
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