The early theories of interpersonal attraction (Byrne & Griffitt, 1973; Sykes, 1977; Berndt, 1984, etc.) largely focused on physical appearance (such as beauty) and physical proximity as the motivators of love and attraction. These factors are among reasons why some people are attracted by others, but they can only open the door of love, courtship and, sometimes to marriage because some people are carried away by beauty nowadays (especially men). Some women are also gradually attracted to men through physical proximity, frequent eye contact and sweet stories by the men with promises of a better future (which might be empty promises).
These twin motivations to love and attraction cannot guarantee a stable and lasting relationship in the aftermath of the marriage. In other words, they can tell the beginning of a love story but not its end, because if the beauty and other outward characteristics of a person begin to fade due to wear and tear (apology to “law of diminishing returns”), only the inward behavioral qualities (say sincerity and true love) of the spouses will allow the relationship to remain intact.
Also, those theorists have excluded the fundamental driver of love and attraction especially in Nigeria; that is materialism. It is obvious that money has become a determining factor for love and hatred, acceptance and rejection in the contemporary world. In Nigeria, it’s worst.
Therefore, these theories did not lay emphasis on person’s “morality” or “good character”, which is the motivation for real love and attraction and can make person a magnetic personality that can attract true friends and lovers. This argument is valid because it is not far from our co-values.
But the early theories have left these things (materialism and morality) untold in their analysis of love and attraction, even though subsequent researches have added more measures, such as likability, verbal and nonverbal measures.
For us to have an enduring relationship, therefore, emphasis should be placed on those elements that allow relationship to last longer, such as morality, sincerity, honesty, tolerance, sympathy, true love, respect, and righteousness among other things.
In conclusion, I’ll close the chapter with the words I once saw written in a piece of by my uncle, Dr. Umar Mukhtar, in my early years that:
“true love is not in physical beauty, wealth or educational qualifications. Although these can enhance love, but the most important thing is to make sure that the person cherished and truly care for you”.
The above statement was written by him in the early 1990s.
Excerpt from chapter two: The Strength of the Existing Theories
Jamilu Ibrahim Mukhtar writes from Jigawa, he can be reached via email@example.com