One night, about a year ago, I had an emotional melt-down. I was pregnant. Very. Feeling fat, ugly, and uninteresting. Frumpy, mom-ish, and hormonal. Totally hormonal. I told my husband, “I am so gross. So boring. I wouldn’t be surprised if you just left me. In fact, you should. I’m sure you could find someone else much more interesting, exciting, and attractive than me.” Guess what he said? Just guess. He said…
“I’m sure I could, too.”
Hold up, what?!?
How about a slow clap for the most UNromantic thing a person could ever say?
There was more. A second part to this super warm and fuzzy statement.
“I’m sure I could, too. But I chose YOU.”
It didn’t sit well with me. At first. But as we continued talking, and as he continued unpacking what he meant (and also insisting that I too could probably find someone more interesting, attractive and fascinating than HIM) I quickly began to realize that, actually, his definition of marriage and commitment was substantially more realistic, deep, and REAL than mine.
The idea of a “soulmate”…only one person in all the world who could ever be “the one” for you. It’s sweet, but is it realistic? If you had never met your spouse to begin with, there is a good chance you would be married to someone else whom you loved just as much. What about if your spouse passed away? I know a man who loved his wife dearly and completely for over 30 years..and then she died. He is now remarried, and though he still loves, mourns and honors his first wife…though he cherishes every memory he ever made with her…he loves his new wife dearly and completely, too. How does that play into the “soulmate” theory? Or, what if you traveled the whole world over…every city, in every nation, in the entire world…are you quite sure that if you tried really hard, you could NEVER find someone else who makes you equally as happy as the person you are currently married to? Maybe not. But…maybe?
You and your spouse may have initially chosen one another because you had never met anyone else who was as funny/attractive/kind/intelligent as them. Or because they “got you” better than anyone else. You found their company to be more enjoyable to you than anyone else’s. But.. it’s POSSIBLE you could meet someone else who is funny/attractive/kind/intelligent, right? I mean, you MIGHT run into someone else out there who “gets you?” What then?
Or, what if you are too worn out from your babies to be the funniest person your spouse knows anymore (at least for a while)? What if your spouse is stressed out and in a bad mood from work, and someone else treated you more kindly this week than them? What if your children have caused you to lose brain cells, and you don’t seem all that intelligent anymore? (that can happen, you know). Well what then?? It’s not really unconditional love, if it hinges upon a condition.. having to retain the status of “most” something.
Maybe the idea of a “soulmate” isn’t all that romantic and lasting after all. Maybe THIS…the rest of what my husband said that night…was the most romantic thing of all….
“None of that matters. We chose each other, we committed to each other for life, and so we don’t worry or care about who or what else is out there. We just keep on CHOOSING each other.”
I just finished reading a book. It was not a religious book. Not a marriage book. Just a completely fictitious, best-seller at Target, kind of book. It’s called What Alice Forgot. In the book, the main character, Alice, falls down at the gym, bumps her head, and loses the last ten years of her memory.
When she wakes up, she thinks it’s 1993, she is a newlywed, completely besotted with her husband Nick, and expecting their first child together. In reality, it’s 2003, she and her husband are in the middle of a nasty divorce, and she is involved in a serious dating relationship with a guy named Dominick. For the life of her, she cannot remember what has happened to bring them to this point, and a lot of the book revolves around her trying to figure it out. By the end of the week, her memory returns, and she begins to remember all the reasons why, over the years, she has become less and less enamored with Nick, and she recalls all the reasons why Dominick seems to be a better fit.
Fast forward to the very end of the book….
(***Spoiler alert, by the way***)
The story seems to basically be over. You are led to believe that Alice and Nick proceed with the divorce, and that she lives happily ever after with Dominick. But then you turn the page, and it’s the epilogue. It’s 10 years LATER now. 2013. She wakes up, in her bed, with…Nick. They have resolved their issues, stayed together, and now have three almost grown children. And here is what Alice has to say about it all:
“She (Alice) had always thought that exquisitely happy time at the beginning of her relationship with Nick was the ultimate, the feeling they’d always be trying to replicate, to get back, but now she realized that was wrong. That was like comparing sparkling mineral water to French champagne. Early love is exciting and exhilarating. It’s light and bubbly. Anyone can love like that. But love after three children, after a separation and a near-divorce, after you’ve hurt each other and forgiven each other, bored each other and surprised each other, after you’ve seen the worst and the best-well, that sort of love is ineffable. It deserves it’s own word.”
She goes on to say how “quite possibly, she could have achieved that same feeling with Dominick one day,” but that she had chosen Nick. Again. And he had chosen her. Again. And how as a result, all these years later, their love had grown and changed and deepened and turned into something so much better than what it was at the very beginning.
Pretty deep for a Target beach-read, right?
I agree with Alice.
Anyway. My point is…
Happy with your spouse? You could probably be just as happy with someone else.
But you chose them. So keep ON choosing them.