On love: The meaning of marriage
A personal Hasselblad portrait project by Reni
Riaan: The older I get the more I see how this works. We are selfish creatures, we are born being so selfish and so self-focused and the whole world is set up to 'how can I assert myself? How can I do better, how do I feel comfortable, how can I reach my best potential?' In marriage, if you are going with that mindset - like how can I get served - everything will fall apart. You have to swap it around.
For instance, I serve Louise out of love, all my focus is on her and the kids and in that it frees me from that selfishness and self-centeredness. That stuff disappears with age, but also if that’s the core of your relationship then you can practice it with each other. You can do it with the rest of the world also.
Louise: I think also if you make that commitment to one another there’s a shared thing of no backdoor. For me, in every relationship that I was in before, there was a backdoor. I thought if this gets too hectic and I have to get out, then I’m safe – it’s not something that you deliberately do – but somewhere in the back of my mind there was always some kind of backdoor to get out. And for me, marriage is a thing which closes that backdoor.
Riaan: The D-word doesn’t get mentioned.
Louise: This is it. If people actually knew what they were promising on their wedding day they wouldn’t stand there so happy - “For rich and for poor, in sickness and in health”- because, it does happen.
Riaan: Shit gets real
Louise: It’s not if it happens to you, it’s when it happens to you. The longer we are married, the more we kind of awaken to that reality. Things can get really hectic and when they do, the security of knowing that there is someone else that shows that he closes that backdoor with you and to be in this together. I think that is the difference for me.
Riaan: Yes, that’s cool....yes.
Louise (34) & Riaan (37) have been married since March 27, 2010