My kids are home today, my spouse is not. I’m working two jobs and wanting to post something on this blog today. I thought I would let the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speak for me.
There are people we love and those we just like and we generally know the difference, but I contend that there are also people we love, but don’t necessarily like.
I had this debate with a coworker recently. He said it was impossible to love someone if you don’t like them. His theory is that like comes first and leads to love. I agree, that is often the case, especially when it comes to people we choose to love, people we choose to bring into our lives as opposed to those who just sort of end up there.
My theory is based mainly on relatives, but can also apply to romantic love.
Sometimes, because we are related to a person and we know them, their story, their struggles, so we love them. If they really need help, we would be there for them and we genuinely care and want the best for them in life. These can also be the last people we would choose to spend time with.
Maybe it’s a relative who has addictions and trashes every event they attend. Or it’s a naysayer who can pick apart any party and have you hating life and welcoming the end of the world (that they just spent hours detailing.) Or maybe you just have an opposing personality to someone in your family. They are outgoing and you are shy, or they are sports crazy and you could definitely pass.
My criteria for deciding if this is a person that I love, but don’t necessarily like is: would I want to spend a weekend with them? We can tolerate almost anyone for a few hours or a day, but a whole weekend? If you have to admit that that idea sounds painful, you just don’t like that person.
As a teenager, I knew a family very well where it was beyond obvious that the mother really didn’t like one of her kids. She would never admit it, because the world would see her as a horrible person, but she and her son were like oil and water. They never found any common ground.
I think it’s possible for couples to love and not like. We choose a spouse for a multitude of reasons and we bond with that person. We share kids, mortgages, day-to-day life with them, but would they be our first choice for a vacation? We can be very attracted to someone with opposing traits because we want more of those traits in our lives, we look for balance. But that same balance can equal problems when we need to create a plan that involves things both parties like. How do you plan a new years eve for an all-night party person and their early-to-bed shy spouse? (hint: the answer is compromise).
It’s hard to admit you don’t like someone you love. The fact that you care for their feelings gets in the way of telling them that you would rather not spend too much time with them. And I don’t have an easy answer for a way to do it. Being honest with yourself would be a good first step, but telling them. . . not so sure. Thoughts?
Today is my wedding anniversary. I count this one as 16/20. We’ve been married for 16 years, but together for 20. The day we got married might be exactly 16 years ago today, but a lot of important milestones, events that formed who we are as a couple, happened in those four years that we dated. So they count.
The biggest event or moment happened when I decided that I might actually be interested in being married. Before I met my husband I had absolutely no interest in marriage. I had never seen a marriage that made me think I might want that kind of life.
So I set my sights on a career that works best if you are completely unattached, and I was sailing along, having just finished my Master’s degree when I met “the one.” I hate the idea of love at first sight, and this wasn’t (I mean, I thought he was a real cutie, but love?). But I did know early on, sometime in the first year that this was a really great man, the type you should marry. He had somehow snuck in under the wire because I was committed to dating completely unmarry-able men.
And I wasn’t all excited and happy because I had met “the one.” I had plans and goals and now I had this amazingly perfect-for-me man who could throw a wrench in them. But the choice was mine and I decided to throw the wrench in my plans. My head said, “why would you sign up for marriage, you know what it’s like, ICK!” But my heart (which was a closet romantic and gambler) said, “this guy, he’s the one, I bet you two can rewrite the script on marriage.” Smart heart.
Sixteen years ago today I put on an annoyingly big, heavy dress (it took two people to help me go to the bathroom in it!) and we had a big, fun party to announce to the world that we were making a life-long commitment to each other. But in my heart, I had already made that commitment. Twenty years ago, sometime in the fall, I paced around my apartment, and debated, and over-thought, and weighed all my options; then tossed that all aside and took a leap of faith and love and decided not to run away, but to make a commitment to making it work with my “one” instead.