Basil Rathbone's
Views on Love

  Basil and Ouida Rathbone 

Basil and Ouida Rathbone were considered one of Hollywood's happiest couples. Here are Basil's opinions on love: how one can know love, and what is the best road to a lasting love. 

"There is perhaps no single theme which absorbs our thoughts or motivates our lives to a greater extent than love. For love is the answer to our many hungers--physical, mental, spiritual." Rathbone goes on to say that even though a man must think of his career first, love is behind almost everything he does. "I firmly believe that behind the success of every man there is a woman. . . . her belief in her man, her confidence in his ability, and the influence which she exerts over him, are the compelling forces which give his life direction."

Why does a man choose one particular woman over another? Although it may seem like a chance encounter that brings two people together, Rathbone believes that it happens for a reason. Although Basil and Ouida came from different parts of the world, they met in New York in 1923, seemingly by chance. A friend invited Basil to a party and Ouida was there. Although she was not the most beautiful woman there, Basil couldn't keep his eyes off of her. He noticed something so vivid and alive about her. Even when she stood across the room from him, he still felt the magnetism of her presence. When Basil saw Ouida again, and they went horseback riding, they encountered a group of gypsies. One of the gypsies read Ouida's fortune and accurately predicted that a tall dark man would come into her life and make her very happy. Over time Basil came to believe that he and Ouida were meant for each other. And after 14 years of marriage he wrote, ". . . she has given my life purpose and, through her never-failing belief in me, I have gained confidence in myself."

So how do you know if you've found your soul mate, the person with whom you will spend the rest of your life? Having been asked what are the secrets of a happy, successful marriage, Rathbone offered the following opinions:

Slow Romance
Take time getting to know each other and developing a relationship. "Violent romances that begin with 'love at first sight,' and rush into hasty elopements, seldom result in lasting, happy marriages."
Marry someone with similar tastes, interests, desires, and goals. Two people need to be able to cooperate to ensure a continuance of love, and they cannot cooperate unless they have similar tastes.
Rathbone also believes an always kind and always loyal friendship is a key element of a happy marriage. This kind of friendship is stronger and far more unselfish than passion or sexual attraction.
That feeling that the two of you make a whole, that alone you are incomplete. Togetherness develops as a result of friendship and congeniality.
Nourish your love. "I truly believe that if, instead of promising to love each other 'till death us do part,' the participants to a marriage would promise to make just as much of an effort to attract each other after marriage as before, and to show the same thoughtfulness, tenderness and affectionate consideration not once in awhile, but every day--that more marriages would endure."

From "Why I am a Happy Man," True Story Magazine, published by McFadden Publications, Inc., July, 1940. 

wedding photo, 1926

Basil and Ouida (still happy), 1938



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All original content is Marcia Jessen, 2011