She’s seen me through it all. From the worst of times to the best of times. And she always shares her wisdom with me. She’s been married for 39 years. And today she told me something I’ve often felt but have never been able to express quite like she did today. It’s sort of a secret to love but then again it’s bigger than that. I mean, most people fall in love in their life. That part is easy. People are falling in love all the time. But to be in a good relationship with the person you fall in love with is harder. Trickier at least.
Sometimes people think that finding your carbon copy is the trick. To find someone who likes all the things you like. It seems logical that if you like the same things you will do lots of stuff together, won’t grow apart and live happily ever after…but people who are too much the same often find out that over the years that if you share the same weaknesses, there is no counterbalance to reign your partner back in.
Other people say opposites attract and think that people who are as different as night and day have the spark that lasts. That can be true but if you’re too much opposite there will be a disconnect over time or the thing you loved about a person becomes the thing you loathe.
She basically told me today that it didn’t matter. Whether you’re a lot alike or a little makes no difference in the end. The secret was this: Allow whoever it is you love to be themselves. Don’t try to fit them into the idea of what you wanted for your life, or in a spouse. Just let them be who they are. And if you both can do that, there will be peace and things will be… easy.
And she is completely right. Think about it…my marriage broke up because I didn’t want a weak, subservient husband and I strove to change him into a strong, decision-making leader. But that is not who he was naturally. He likes to follow. He wanted me to be neat. But I’m messy. We want our significant others to be something different from what we got…they need to be thinner, more athletic, more romantic, less of that, more of something else whatever it may be…and we’ll never get it for real. If you put pressure on them to be different they will try out of love, but it will leave them feeling resentful and over time there will be deep-seeded issues.
If you have conflict in your relationship today…think about why. You want them to be something they are not. You want something changed. And the magic that I wrote about in my last post about my Harry. The peace and contentment and happiness I’m experiencing is maybe there because both Harry and I have grounded our relationship on that very principle. We picked each other because we actually LIKE each other. And we don’t want to change the other person. And the love we share that comes from that is one that celebrates the person we love instead of one where we keep trying to get our own needs met.
Do we ever fight? Yes. But it’s not about things we don’t like about the person we are with. It’s about misunderstandings, or philosophies behind actions that we don’t yet understand about each other. It’s never out of disrespect for the person we chose to begin with as if they weren’t good enough anymore just the way they are.
And the other light bulb that went off as I listened to my hairstylist, she said, “And now you know what it feels like and you can teach that to your kids.” And I thought…she’s right. I never knew what it felt like before and now I do. My husband, I wanted to change, and he was good man just the way he was. We were just a bad match. Slimeball, I wanted to change because he was a lying cheating, horrible man and deep down I knew it and I was right to get out of that relationship because I realized he would never change. And you know what I would say to my kids? I’d say this:
If you are in a relationship where there is conflict because there is something about the person that you want changed, or if you feel like you are suppressing a part of yourself in order to make the other person happy…get out. End it before marriage. No matter how much you think you love the person, they are not THE ONE for you. No matter how hard that might be. It’s for the best in the end. Wait until you find that person who likes everything about you. And if they are very different from you…it’s ok if they find joy in observing the REAL you. You just have to honor the person you are with enough to allow them to be completely 100% authentically themselves. And if you like them enough to not want to change anything about them…then you have your answer.
It’s all about being honest with yourself too because if there is something that you don’t like and you suppress it until after you are married because you LOVE THEM SO MUCH…you are making a huge mistake that you will regret. Look at the person you fell for honestly. For your sake and for theirs. Don’t play the fear game that says, “What if I never meet Mr. Right and this is as good as it gets?” Because you will never meet the perfect guy…its not about him being perfect. It’s about you two not colliding in your YOUNESS.
It took me 44 years. But it can happen. I’m proof.
To read the other nuggets she’s given me over the years see these posts: