Thursday, June 18, 2009

Is It Love or Companionship?

I've been watching a scene from an American soap opera, when I found the conversation very interesting. It took place between a man and his wife about the word Apathy. They were having breakfast before the husband goes to work. He was reading the newspaper and she kept looking at him and contemplating:

Wife: How about the word Apathy?
Husband: What! What did you say?

Wife: The most appropriate word "Apathy". You feel it. Don't you? Don't you?
Husband: I try not to.
Wife: That's the exact definition trying not to feel something.
I'm aware we have problems, but we also have life to live.
Wife: Oh let's go on with our lives and put our marriage on the backseat for everything else.

Husband: Is this all leading to some suggested course of action?
Wife: No just discussion.
Husband: Then it is a little self indulgence.
Wife: Well I'd like to be little self-indulgent in this issue if you don't mind. 
Husband: By all means, if it's what you want.
Wife: Of course, that's what I want.
Husband: You want to argue about this, is this what's leading us?
Wife: I can't recall the last time we had a GOOOD argument that's the problem you know? We're so polite so civil! no conflict! no confrontation!
Husband: You don't build what we built together on confrontations.
Wife: What we built? Big House in Beverly Hills, what we have 4 children, What about love, what about fulfillment? what about friendship? companionship? What we have together? We live in a big house in Beverly Hills, we sleep in the same bed and we are so far apart, absolute estrangement!
Is this satisfying to you? (he kept silent and didn't answer) Is it really? because it seems to be.
Husband: No, no it is not satisfying to me. Do you want to continue this discussion?
Wife (furiously): NO!!!!!!!!! Why don't you just go to work
Husband: I'll see you at dinner
Wife nodded Sarcastically

These two people loved each other, but what the wife misses is companionship. They got used to be in love with each other, do the same activities together every day because they have to not because they want to (We have life to live). Their relation became a daily use. However, they lost the essence of any fulfilling relationship whether love, parental relations, friendship, etc. which is Companionship.

When I thought of the idea, I started to understand why a person can feel lonely though he/she is surrounded by people who love him/her. It is not all about love, it is more about companionship: Sharing your feelings, thoughts, interests and whole being NOT merely sharing activities, Finding someone to understand you, someone with whom you can talk without boundaries, Someone you understand and ready to listen to without boundaries.

I believe that this kind of companionship can apply to any kind of relationship: brotherhood, motherhood, fatherhood, friendship, even with daughters and sons, NOT just your partner.

However, if you are lucky enough and your partner became your companion, this would be the most amazing and fulfilling relation you may ever have. At the same time, if you don't find this in your partner, either you start by being your partner's companion yourself or seek companionship elsewhere; with your sister, brother, friend, etc. But don't blame it on anybody, if you don't seek it first.

In the mid of shared activities, like raising children with your partner or working with your friend, you can search the hobbies and interests of the other party. Even if they are different from yours, you can start trying them, showing interest in them, asking to share your partner or friend in doing them. By time the other party's hobbies and interests will become a habit and an easy-to-do thing. If the other party really loves you, he/she will automatically show an equal interest in your hobbies and interest. Here begins the companionship. With time your companionship will grow, you will find yourselves getting to understand each other perfectly, and sharing everything else, your thoughts, feelings and being.

One of the other elements of companionship that a friend of mine drew my attention to is listening. Sometimes when someone wants to be listened, you may give him/her the deaf ear
"You might be hearing but not listening". This often happens when you are not interested in the thing the other party is speaking about or not interested in or caring enough for him/her. In the conversation above, the husband showed no interest in listening "Is this all leading to some suggested course of action?". That is to say he is not ready to listen to just a discussion or an expression of feelings. If his wife wants from him a certain action, she can just state it and save him all this discussion. While this wasn't what she wanted, she wanted the discussion, she wanted to be self-indulgent on this subject, which he couldn't understand.

If you are looking for companionship, you should be ready to listen for things you are not interested in. The more you listen, the more you care for the other party and vice vers
a. The way you listen tells of the way you care for the other party. You are listening NOT out of an interest in the subject itself BUT out of concern for the other party. Being concerned about him/her helps you listen and understand. Understanding the other party will lead you to use his/her way of thinking and feeling to lift his/her burden. This is one of the main definitions of companionship, "Being able to become the other person emotionally and mentally, wearing his/her own glasses, seeing the world from his/her eyes to get to the essence of how to help him/her".

But what if you try and find yourself unable to understand? I believe that at this moment, if you are really honest and sincere in your trial to listen
and understand, the other party will feel it. Your honest and sincere listening would be a proof of your companionship intentions for him/her.


  1. First of all, no words can describe how fantastic this post is. I am even not convinced as fantastic as a description, it is very deep, and mentally enlightening.

    This quote is very important "You are listening NOT out of an interest in the subject itself BUT out of concern for the other party." I said it over and over, not all people understand it. If we all apply it, our world will be completely different.

    I like the definition of companionship very much, it is brilliant.

    I wish all married couples will read this post.

    Now I have one question, I would like to hear to different opinions:

    Till 2009, why it is always women who suffer from apathy and talk about it? Why it is always women who feel frustrated and make an action or do any indication for it, and men rarely do that?

  2. تذكرت كلمات أغنية ماجدة الرومي
    الحب والوفاء

    ما نفع ها الأساور والورد والمرايا
    ومخمل الستائر يراقص الزوايا
    وصمتك المناور يسلبني صبايا
    والقلب لا يحاور يسكنه سوايا
    خذ قصرك الجميل والجاه والبهاء
    والمرمر الأصيل ووحشة المساء
    قنعت بالقليل
    فنعت بالقليل بالحب والوفاء

  3. I agree with your thoughts on companionship. However, I do think you misread what the soap opera scene was showing. In fact, this couple do not love each other, and I think that is the writer's point. Companionship can exist without romantic love, so your points there are valid (IMO). But longstanding romantic love cannot survive without companionship; if the one dies (or was never present), the other dies as well. Again, IMO.

    Sent by mail from Thomas Neuburger

  4. Thomas, I appreciate your opinion. On second thought, actually I agree with you. If it is a true longstanding love it has to have companionship. Otherwise, if people are living with each other for years without companionship, then they live together out of habit but not true love. (IMO)

  5. شيمو وريكا

    كنت لسه بكلم ريكا من يومين عل نفس النقطة دي

    كنت بتكلم على فيلم
    Break up

    ومدونة كنت عايزة اتجوز

    غادة كان نفسها بس تتجوز واحد لما تروق البيت يشيل معاه المرتبة



    يا ترى في حد ممكن يشيل المرتبة؟

  6. عارفة يا شيمو لسه كنت بتكلم مع ريكا على الموضوع ده بس من يومين

    واتكلمنا عن فيلم
    break up
    ومدونة أنا عايزة اتجوز

    we need the feeling of caring, is it too much?

    ولا إيه رأيكم

  7. This is an excellent piece of work....I believe that one can live without a husband/wife, or any type of romantic relationship but I for one could not survive without companionship, a true friend....I was blessed to have 27 1/2 years with my best friend, companion and I am very happy and content with family and friends of which I consider many to be true companions. To have a friend one must be a friend first.
    .......:-) Hugs

  8. It is amazing post, I really felt each word.

    you express my fears explicitly. I discussed this issue with my fiance before as every married couples loved each other before marriage but after a while they found that the feelings they had before become a memory and they are living together because they should as they are married not because they love, need each other or want to stay together as before marriage. You simply introduce the cure "friendship". I deal with him like a friend more than my fiance or beloved and it really works I become new person.
    you touched my thoughts, my deep thoughts.

  9. "All intimacy is rare- that's what makes it precious." Amy Bloom

  10. I've read one more time ur writing, Shimaa, and I found it quite interesting and true. It was a pleasant reading and I basically agree with all u said.

    If we consider love as passion, then we are talking abt the emotional and physical side of that love. I'm not talking abt mere sex, but exactly the EMOTIONAL side of love, it is what makes a relationship start.

    I see companionship as still love, but it's something more than just emotional. It's a love that's linked to a mutual project of life together in the long run and that includes common is what holds the relationship when all the passion fades a bit, it's a matured stage in the relationship...

    I also think that the best, of course is having a bit of the first kind of love and a bit of companionship coz they compensate and complete each other. But, imo, the companionship can exist, in the long run at least, without the passion, while passion can't exist in the long run without the companionship...
    Let's say that companionship corresponds to the foundations of a house while the passion corresponds to the roof of it. And the roof can't exist without the foundations.

    Hope i have been clear enough...


  11. Anna I agree 100% with you on this and like the relationship between companionship and passion. Sorry for not replying earlier but i have just seen your comment. I wish you read the rest of the posts and let me know your opinions

  12. Companionship is the basis of love. If you find someone who accepts you as you are and you accept them and you enjoy your time together....and prefer that person over anyone else. What a gift to keep and what a fool you would be to throw it away, for any reason. Companionship is rare. Protect it with your heart.