I feel like I need to set the record straight about love, not that I am an expert at relationships or that I think I am a qualified know-it-all just because I have a ring on my finger. I just think everyone needs to know the truth about marriage, or just relationships in general, because I’ve been getting lots of squeals from friends and readers who come to me and say ‘you’re soooooo lucky that (insert text, usually along the lines of ‘you have such a sweet husband’)!
Now, have you ever looked at another couple (whether we’re single or not), and sighed in exasperation, thinking how loving the couple is, wishing that you could have a relationship like that or worse, wishing that your significant other would behave like that significant other?
*Hands up* I have. With different forms of severity on occasions, when I was single, dating other guys and even when I was engaged to M.
But, have you bothered to look at these couples through a microscope?
*Hands up* I have. Too. Not because I want to seek out flaws that would make me feel stoked about my relationship, but because I need to realise that what we see with the naked eye is the tip of the iceberg, and a couple’s relationship is what it is today because of the trials and tribulations they have gone through, and the trials and tribulations that they are still going through today.
Take our relationship for example. Yes, I have waxed lyrical about all the wonderful things M has done for me. I have also gone on and on about the precious life lessons that M has taught me and the beautiful experiences that we’ve shared in our lives together. But not everything is a bed of a roses. No relationship is perfect. We don’t always brush our teeth before our morning kiss. No, we don’t always have a morning kiss, or even a hug (we do stand stone-faced in the toilet, facing the mirror, brushing our teeth and moaning about how each other snored the night before). We have our daily lives to manage. We have each other’s idiosyncrasies to bear with. We disagree, we argue and yes, we fight. We elbow and nudge each other about each other, about our families, about friends, work, laundry, toilet seat, refilling the water jug, oh the number of things we disagree on, however mundane they are! One day, we’re going to even frown our way out of how best to teach our children – his way or mine? Heck, guess what, we even had a huge fight in front of our bridal party during our wedding rehearsal two days before our wedding, and this was something that raised an eyebrow or two about our relationship-almost-turned-marriage about 1.5 years ago! But we’re still here, hand-in-hand and even more so in love today.
What I am saying is every relationship has its quirks. Not everything is a walk in the park. I don’t dress in pink, he doesn’t dress in blue, and we don’t share an ice cream by the Parisian sidewalks (although I would very much prefer a macaron from Pierre Hermé, and no I don’t like to share those macarons…), not every single day, anyway. A relationship is not about the number of gifts that have been exchanged, or the number of fancy dinners and exquisite travels that you’ve been on together. A relationship is most certainly not about the number of times that he or she has given in to you. Forgive me for my less than elegant words, but a relationship, to me, is a big life lesson of some sort. We choose to be with a person and we choose to learn from that special someone. He or she will come with cracks and chips that you wouldn’t like. He or she might in theory, be your arch-enemy if you try and match up your traits. But the one you love, will be the one you choose to be with in spite of all this. I don’t mean to draw a comparison to inanimate objects but you know the feeling that you get when you simply have to buy a knitted top you laid your eyes on even though it’s a little unravelled? That is love, my friends. You love that unravelled sweater, even though there’s a perfectly nice and fault-free silk blouse on the other shelf. You love the chosen one, even though he irks you sometimes, even though you fight.
And that is how I love my husband, M. Personality-wise, we were poles apart when we started going out. He is gregarious, warm, chatty and so very optimistic. I am….well, let’s just say that if he’s the sunny Carribean, I am probably London, cold, bleak, grey and brutally pessimistic. We got together despite the naysayers and the gambler’s nightmarish odds. We fought it out to be where we are today. More like each other, and generally, just very happy with who the other person is despite the glaringly obvious kinks. We still argue, yes, but we do so now with a well-learned knowledge about how best to communicate without tipping over the edge, and we do so with the consciousness that we will emerge from it learning more about each other than if we were to whisper sweet nothings over a candlelit dinner every day for the rest of our lives.
So yes, I am sooooo lucky, not because I have a sweet husband (which he is on the occasions that we aren’t fighting), but because I have found my unravelled sweater.
Have you found yours?