Summary – Defining Love & Marriage

Lesson in life is best learnt from history. That said, this is a very interesting classic story explaining love and marriage. I’m sure many of you have heard it before. If you haven’t, I’m sure you will enjoy it. The story was rewritten based on my memory.

A wise man and his student were walking when they reached a bazaar (a street filled with hawkers selling food etc). Both of them were talking about philosophy when suddenly the student asked the wise man, “Can you explain what is love?”

The wise man smilingly refused to answer. Instead he took some money and handed it over to the student. He said, “Take this money and go buy me the most delicious food in this bazaar. However there is one rule, you must treat the street as a one way street, which means once you have passed a hawker stall and you did not buy any food, you cannot buy any food later from that stall. So choose wisely.”

The student excitedly went through the street. He was amazed with the variety of foods offered at the first stalls. He then wondered, “Maybe there are more delicious food further into the street. I’m sure”. He then walked deeper into the street, finding more delicious food at every stall.

After some time, he realized that the stalls at the end of the street doesn’t sell any food at all. They were selling clothes etc. He regretted not buying any food and had to return to the wise man empty handed.

The wise man told him, “This is Love. You keep looking for a better one, but you only realize it when you have already missed the person”

The student then asked another question, “What is Marriage then?”

The wise man said, “You still have my money don’t you? Now go buy us the most delicious food. The food must also be reasonably cheap. And of course, the same rule applies. It is still a one way street.”

The student went back into the street. This time he was very careful not to repeat the previous mistake. After about 10 minutes walking, he bought some delicious food for him and the wise man. He then returned back satisfied with that food.

The wise man then smilingly said, “This time you look for one that is just nice. You sincerely believe this is the best decision you have made. And even if there are more delicious cheap food out there, you will still be happy with this one. That, my son, is Marriage.”

/end story

– I wonder –
What do you think? Does it describe Love and Marriage accurately. Let’s discuss

———– Personal Note ————-
I’m not sure about other countries, but here in Malaysia, every year during Ramadhan (Muslim’s fasting month), we will have a lot of Ramadhan Bazaar specifically selling food for us to break our fast. You can find all the rare delicacies, a lot of which can only be found during Ramadhan. It has now become a culture shared not only by muslim but with all races and religion. Beautiful πŸ™‚

Photo Credit – Erwin

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This post has 12 comments.

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  1. 09 Sep 08 10:58 pm

    nice one banji… nice one

    keep looking for a better one,
    but you only realize it when you have
    already missed the person

    Missed the person here is as if married with another bloke?
    then i’d say this hits me right smack in the middle:)
    but then again banji, its a long bazaar street, chances are u’ll find one.
    cant say better or worse from the one we missed.. but something different.
    and can i say that the choices will be base on all the food u’ve missed.
    ‘Owh.. missed that spicy kebab over there, this kebab looks spicy. i’ll take this’

    if only the kebab knows our choice was base on ‘the missed one’
    hohooooooo πŸ™‚

  2. 09 Sep 08 11:33 pm

    even in marriages, sometimes they can end in painful divorce. one day you are so crazy in love, the next day, you realize you are out of it.
    Now was it lust or was it love?

    And the food you thought was so delicious that made you want to buy it and later when you reach home and have a taste, only then you realize the food was not even close to be called tasty. Hmmm.. have we all not being blinded by the look once (or twice)??

  3. Gale P
    10 Sep 08 1:36 am

    I liked the other comments, but I think there is a discipline and devotion missing from our minds and our hearts. I know I am lacking in those critical things. Of course, disappointment comes in all strengths and is hard to combat so a good dose of forgiveness is necessary. Then again forgiveness needs to come from either partner when necessary. Some are able to forgive even adultery as difficult a process as that might be. Some cultures hold to honor and duty in all parts of life and I suppose that is why in more ancient socieities punishment and oppression worked to keep people together, not a pleasant thought. If we want to live free with our love for each other as a privilege, we have to accept the concept of forgiveness, perhaps have religion, too but definitely be ready for disappointment and having the rug pulled out from under you….after all in a relationship you are an important part of the outcome.

    Everyone keep smiling,

  4. 10 Sep 08 3:43 pm

    “This is Love. You keep looking for a better one, but you only realize it when you have already missed the person”

    Hmm, this is a very impressive statement, but there is then a huge problem… How to ever find love in the here and now…? It will ever be too late otherwise….realizing it years after it happened….

  5. banji
    10 Sep 08 5:49 pm

    DaPocket – It is a long bazaar, and the chances of us meeting the one is very highly.

    I have always been a believer that “The One” is actually everyone. When we really love that someone, no flaw is too big, everything is acceptable (almost). Using this principle as a base, you will start seeing everyone for what they are.. Special.

    About the kebab scenario, I think the nicer word for that will be standard. We set our own standard, and everybody is entitled to have their own standard. Some people may only want rich spouse, another requires religious background. Unfortunately for that person buying kebab in your example, his standard is graphically referring to previous chances he missed. What do you think?

    @k@kPOKPEK – Very true.. Love itself is sometimes not enough. We need to fortify it with compromise, devotion etc.

    The most important thing is that the foundation of love must be rock solid. For muslim, we are encourage to find love based on religious factor. Another may find love based on attitude.
    If the initial foundation of love itself is a fragile lust, it will collapse real soon exactly like you said.

    Your next comment is equally interesting. We buy food hoping that it is the best, however, who knows the food is not even edible.

    For me, the quest to know ourself will really take a lifetime to complete. Even then we might not know what we really want in life. That is why we cannot expect to know everyone completely. Love and marriage will always be a process for us to know each other and adapt to each other. What we can do, is to use certain criteria to guide us make the choice and learn to adapt with the choice we made.

    For example, a man may want a spouse that is both religious and smart. He will then choose a woman to be his wife. Who can really tell whether or not the woman is really religious and smart. He has made his choice, he must learn to adapt.

  6. banji
    10 Sep 08 6:22 pm

    Gale P – Hi Gale, long time no hear, hows the family?

    Forgiveness is one of the most difficult thing to do. And those who can actually forgive is really an amazing person. In paper, everything seems like they are forgivable things. But when certain things happen to us, I’m not so sure we will be that forgiving.

    That is why it is always a good practice to draw a line what can be forgiven, and what will never be forgiven. When such line is drawn, usually we will be easier to forgive any other things as long as they are not the unforgiven things. Am I making sense here? πŸ™‚

    Fun-da-mental – That is the ultimate question now, isn’t it? πŸ™‚ How to identify that one person?

    There are two methods that straight come to mind.

    1) You will have to learn the hard way. Missing a few opportunities so that you will be wiser. With that extra experience, you will know better what you really want in a partner. And of course what you must avoid in the future.

    2) You can choose to be more careful the first time. Research what you really want based on other people’s experience. Learn from them a point or two. Why repeat the same mistakes right? And when you have all your datas straight, you can start strategize on what will you do with your option.

    Just my 2 cents, anybody else has an idea on how to find love the first time?

  7. ummu alif
    02 Apr 09 4:25 pm


    For me, we cannot find love by research, or by people’s experience.
    Love is very subjective.
    Love find us.
    Our love story never identical with other love story.
    When you fall in love with some one, no matter what he/she is….even she/he is not rich,pretty,smart or not from religous background….you will still say you love even the whole world against you, right..
    When come to marriage….this is the field that will test your love.
    Is it really love or just attraction to opposite gender or just attraction to what she/he have like beauty,rich,intelligent or religious.You will find the answer….

    Ask yourself, is it a ‘mistake’ when you find your beloved spouse not same as what you expect?

    Banji, is it a great idea to compare between buying food and choosing spouse?

  8. 02 Apr 09 7:12 pm

    Ummu Alif – Appreciate the comment Ummu Alif, as always πŸ™‚

    Let me first answer your last question. The whole idea of the article is to show that we can learn everything that is offered by life via experience etc to make better decision and ultimately become wiser. I can totally change the story to make the student go in the market in search for a spouse instead of food. It will make no difference. We can still extract the same lesson. I just thought buying food is a more interesting approach πŸ™‚

    While I agree that love is very subjective, and every story is different from another, I’m still a believer that there is no harm in learning from other’s mistakes or experience. You cannot apply every single lesson you just learnt but it will help you make better decision in your life.

  9. ummu alif
    05 Apr 09 12:07 pm

    I agree with you, my friend…..

  10. H a r i s H
    12 Jun 09 8:45 pm

    Hello sir,

    One of the very best example of LOVE and MARRIAGE. I have asked lot of people about the MARRIAGE, but no one can give me the answer which, I feel, relevant.

    Thank you so much.

  11. banji
    28 Jun 09 7:47 pm

    Harish – Thank you for reading πŸ™‚

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