Go and look again at the roses. You will understand now that yours is unique in all the world. Then come back to say goodbye to me, and I will make you a present of a secret.”
The little prince went away, to look again at the roses.
“You are not at all like my rose,” he said. “As yet you are nothing. No one has tamed you, and you have tamed no one. You are like my fox when I first knew him. He was only a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But I have made him my friend, and now he is unique in all the world.”
And the roses were very much embarrassed.
“You are beautiful, but you are empty,” he went on. “One could not die for you. To be sure, an ordinary passerby would think that my rose looked just like you– the rose that belongs to me. But in herself alone she is more important than all the hundreds of you other roses: because it is she that I have watered; because it is she that I have put under the glass globe; because it is she that I have sheltered behind the screen; because it is for her that I have killed the caterpillars (except the two or three that we saved to become butterflies); because it is she that I have listened to, when she grumbled, or boasted, or ever sometimes when she said nothing. Because she is my rose.
…“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
“What is essential is invisible to the eye,” the little prince repeated, so that he would be sure to remember.
“It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.”
“It is the time I have wasted for my rose–” said the little prince, so that he would be sure to remember.
“Men have forgotten this truth,” said the fox. “But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. You are responsible for your rose…”
“I am responsible for my rose,” the little prince repeated, so that he would be sure to remember.
-Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
I have a book filled with poetic fiction, inane comments made by FOX journalists, parodies of said inane comments, friend’s Freudian slips, and deeply dark song lyrics. It’s a book that chronicles the last 6 years of my personal, cultural, and political leanings, and it’s a book I would save over everything but my cats and my loved ones in case of a fire.
About 5 years ago I fell in love with the line ‘It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important,” but it simply sat in my little dollar store black book until this Sunday when I sat down to write the first draft of our wedding ceremony.
I have never believed in love at first sight or the concept of soul mates. To me, the belief in soul mates equals laziness. If two people are destined to be together…if their fates were preordained from before birth…they have no need to work at their relationship. They have always, and will ever be bound together in a way they themselves had no part in making, so there is no need for personal responsibility in maintaining that relationship.
My fiancé and I are not soul mates. We are not two separated halves searching desperately from birth to be reunited and fulfilled. My very being has not yearned for him my entire life.
When we met in a classroom at a not-so-unknown adult hogwan, there was no instant connection although there was an early indication for both of us that the other had an interesting character. Rather, the ties that now bind us have been forged overtime through sickness and health, through triumph and trial, through innumerable mundane moments and cutsie banter. It is the time I have wasted on Mr. Lee, the time spent texting, the going out of my way to pick up his favourite beer, the moments before sleep, the jumping through Korean immigration hoops to stay here, the silly things I will do and say to provoke a smile, in short, the accumulated seconds, minutes, hours, months, days, and years I have spent thinking of him, doing things for him, and planning a future with him that make him so important to me.
Mr. Lee could have been a Mr. Jones, a Mr. Cruz, a Mr. Khan, a Mr. Dubois, but it is Mr. Lee whom I have created this life with and with whom I have begun to envision a future.
Marriage is about love in so far as you define that word as the tingly feeling you have when you are with another person, but it is also about loving the true person you have seen over time, the person you have seen develop over time, and the person with whom you would love to build a family and life.
So I hold on to this quote: I hold onto it deeply in my heart, put it at the front of my mind, and oft repeat it on my tongue just as the Prince does as a daily reminder that we both are responsible for the success and health of our marriage.