Contributed by Nicholas Pediaditakis, MD, DLFAPA
The question has often been asked: why do humans need mutual love, often, in order for a marriage to last? After all, other mammals are not so enthusiastic.
In my cattle farm, the father of the little calves — the bull — is available to breed willing and eager cows only every ten or eleven months. The rest of the time he is not needed as a father! (Pregnancy for the mother cow is just like humans – 9 months.) So, by the time the mamma cow is again ready and willing, her calf is 12 months old, moving around and eating grass and — more importantly — now perfectly able to survive on its own. The cow is therefore, ready to have a new baby every 11 months!
But, for us humans, love and hugging as couples are important.Very. There is a good answer for why: Humans need hugging and loving for a new baby; but, this is not even the main reason! It’s important for us as humans mainly to form bonds and devotion between the partners. “Those who love together stay together” — an ancient Greek proverb aptly states. Indeed, we need the bonding, connection, devotion and the affection for each other formed and then reinforced with love and hugging as well with the mutual love for the children. We need every bit of the devotion and affection and the strong connection we can get for a marriage to last.
The human baby is really born three years too early! It has to, just in time for its head to be able to pass through the birth canal of the mother. The head of the human baby then doubles in size in a year to make room for the growing brain! But, while the brain is growing, the baby still remains helpless in need of constant attention, feeding, and care by the mother. The mother and the child now need love and Mom needs as much help as she can get from the baby’s father. And, that’s why, along with good faith, companionship — social beings as we are — the love and hugging reinforces the bonding and the desire of both partners to stay together for long time. It is reenforced with their mutual love for the children. The child is born prematurely because the brain needs to develop to it’s enormous size — special to humans — for the intellect, ingenuity, and unfortunately, sometimes even eagerness to do foolish things for ourselves and others.
Loving and hugging helps for the parents to stay together. In addition, it helps the marriage for the partners to have similar backgrounds, value systems, faith and as odd as it may sound — it helps if they compliment each other’s temperament it helps them not to get in each other’s way. People most often choose each other this way anyway! Furthermore, if each partner’s early childhood attitude was appropriate (i.e., in terms of being civil, unspoiled, not feeling entitled) it helps them be kind, faithful, and in a negotiating spirit with each other. The marriage then lasts and the baby, loved from both, is able to grow and thrive.
So hugging and loving should not be separated from devotion and connectedness that goes with them. Meanwhile, in my farm, the little calf is delivered within 40 minutes, then it gets up in another 20, it moves around in an hour, and you can no longer catch it after a few hours later. So the mother cow does not need protection for herself and the calf, besides the milk and the initial guidance by the mama cow, it does not need any prolonged help, protection and love from the father as humans do. My bull, meanwhile, sits just there quiet, munching his grain waiting for the 11 months to come up.
So, next time when you think about it, bless our ability to hug each other for an enduring partnership and then, just stay put. It is there in the Book; Corinthians I, Chapter 13. My wife and I, we were blessed; our marriage lasted 49 years!
Copyright © 2015 by Nicholas Pediaditakis, MD