"Have you ever known a married couple that just didn't seem as though they should fit together - yet they are both happy in the marriage, and you figure out why?"
That's the prelude to the above article i found in my RM2-May 1997 Reader's Digest i bought yesterday.
The writer, Ms. Joyce Brothers, shares about one of the most telling, mysterious force that drives us into the arms of one person, while pushing us away from another who might appear equally desirable to any unbiased observer. It is called "Lovemap" - a term coined by John Money, a Professor Emeritus of Medical Psychology and Pediatrics in the USA.
Our Lovemap is a group of messages encoded in our brains that decribes our likes and dislikes and records the kind of personality that appeals to us. The gist is - we fall for and pursue those people who most clearly fit our Lovemap.
This map is largely determined in childhood, where by the age of 8, the pattern of our ideal mate has already begun to float around in our brains (i was once informed that we wrote our life script during our early childhood, hence, child development is imperatively crucial stage in our life).
When a group of couples was asked on what drew them to their dates or mates, there would be many similarities between their ideal mates and their moms. Yes, our mom - the first real love of our life - writes a significant portion of our lovemap.
When we are little, our mom is the centre of our attention and we are the centres of hers. So, our mom's characteristics leave an indelible impression and we are forever after attracted to people with her facial featuers, body type, personality, even sense of humour.
Mom has an additional influence on her sons - she not only gives them clues to what they will find attractive in a mate, but also about how they feel about women in general.
While mom determines in large part what qualities attract us in mate, it's the dad - the first male in our lives - who influences how we relate to the opposite sex, so much so that dad has an enormous effect on their children's personalities and chances of marital happiness. A dad, too, influences how his daughters relate to men, just like mom does to her sons.
Robert Winch, a longtime sociology Professor at Northwestern University in the USA, stated in his reserach that our choice of a marriage partners involves a number of social similarities and our complementary needs. He also observed that it is the balancing out of social likeness and psychological differences that seems to point the way for the most solid lifelong romance. Despite this findings, our lovemap is still predominated by our moms and dads. So even if the couple comes from different social backgrounds, they could be happy together for they complement each other or they see their mom and dad in their partner.
How about love at first sight? It happens if the couple probably discovers a unique something they have in common, which complements their own personality.
The writer herself experienced it first hand when she fell in love with her husband the instant she saw him during a family dinner - a love that Eric Fromm called a "feeling of fusion, of oneness", even while they both continued to change, grow and fulfill our lives.
p.s. No, I'm yet to meet, in person, my Mr. Right but I am excited by my mom's words - "If you really like someone, pursue him". Wow! My Dear Mak, you really read your daughter's mind :)
p.s.s. Now, I know why i admire Yang Berkhidmat Husam Musa - whenever i look at him, i see my mom and my dad. Really...