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
"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
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
That feeling that the two of you make a whole, that alone you are
incomplete. Togetherness develops as a result of friendship and
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