On love and marriage

Love has been a never-ending source of inspiration for the arts. For centuries, singers have emptied their lunges and poets have emptied their pens — all just to try to describe the magnitude of love; why we do the things that we do for love; and why it’s such an all-immersive phenomena.

Scientists say it’s down to serotonin, oxytocin, vasopressin, dopamine, norepinephrine and a dose of adrenaline. Those hormones aren’t just caused by loving another human being; we race on motorbikes, jump off buildings and climb cliffs — just to feel that rush.

And sure; feelings may explain why I loved Leila in the beginning, but feelings didn’t make me step into a plane to Shanghai to convince her to live with me in the Netherlands. I wasn’t under the influence of any hormone overdose. Of course I’ve been firmly nudged, but any decision I made, I made so myself.

So I think that love being seen as a feeling tells only half the story — and that other half of the story is that love is a choice. It may not sound as romantic and a lot less magical, but I think it’s more meaningful nonetheless. So I think that over time, my feverish kind of love for Leila shifted into something similar but slightly different — replaced by a slower and more deeper current; a more conscious and meaningful one. I still feel that rush of adrenaline when I see her, but now I’ve also consciously chosen to love her, I can see this is true love.

We aren’t simply passengers in love. Love isn’t just an outcome we feel because of hormones; love is also a deliberate action. Love is a choice. A verb, just as much as a noun. I often think of love as an echo. The louder you scream, the harder it comes back at you. They say the grass is greener on the other side, but I think the grass is greener where you water it.