I Love You Just The Way You Are
One day while my wife and I were watching football, I saw a couple do a fancy high five with each other. I said to her, "we need to have a signature high five move!" And to this she said, "No" and that was that. This morning there was an obnoxious commercial where the woman said to her man "babe" a lot. I said, "You should do that. Throw some 'babes' in now and then when you're talking to me." And to that she said "Hell no."
She also said that I wanted her to be someone else and although it was partly in jest, I could see a wonder in her face where a part of her maybe did feel I wished she was someone else. Nothing could be further from the truth. So I looked her in the eyes and told her I loved her just the way she is and how ever she wants to be. Whatever she is - is what I love. I hope she believes that because it is true.
Billy Joel knows what I'm talking about. Although, unlike me - he's been married and divorced a few times so I guess he's not loved some of the girls he used to love for being just who they are. Still, that doesn't take away from the truth in the message of his song. That to truly love someone you need to love them just the way they are.
The thing I disagree with in his song is when he sings "don't go changing" - if that is the direction they want to go then go ahead. We need to accept the changes our mates make in their long lives and love them for what they are even if that is a bit different than they way they were. Because the one constant in life is change. You aren't the same person you were twenty years ago or ten years ago or maybe not even who you were last year. People change and people need to be true to themselves. Being who you are isn't a problem but being a person you think someone else wants you to be so they will stay with you is. You can't be true to another person unless you are true to yourself first.
I think a lot of divorced people know this. Perhaps, divorce isn't as bad a thing as we all make it out to be either. If people grow so far apart that they can't really co-exist even though they still share some of that love they once strongly held as well as a history and other bonds - it might be best that they divorce. If you can't accept the changes and you want your love to go back to being something more to your liking then it just isn't going to work. You have to turn and face the strain of changes sometimes...
Who am I to give out relationship advice? Well, I've been with my wife for over 32 years and happily married for over 26 of those now. My sister used to say it was because we were lucky, that we were soul mates but that isn't it by a long shot. Maybe we are soul mates but if we are we are soul mates who work at our relationship.
There have been many ups and downs. There have been times where we had to break off into separate functional roles to get through a crisis or difficulty. We've had the essential ingredient, I think, and that is a true love for each other and a knowledge that what we were at 16 is not what we were at 26 or 36 or 46 and not what we'll be at 56 or 66. That we accept the changes.
She puts up with my musical tastes which aren't quite in line with hers. She's more rock n roll and a variety of softer sounds that I'm not into and I like more 80's music and groups like the B52's which she pretty much despises. But now and then there is a cross over. I like Five for Fighting now and maybe wouldn't have if she hadn't liked them. I think I brought in Death Cab for Cutie and we both really like them now. We have our musical leanings but we also give our differences a try now and then; and find we actually appreciate the other's tastes once in awhile.
And yeah, I really would like to do an aerial chest butt after a Packer touchdown and know she'd rather do a fist bump or just cheer. I'm working on her on that one but if it doesn't happen I'll still love her. She puts up with me and I put up with her and we accept that we have different tastes and embrace those as well as the ones we share... sometimes we just don't embrace everything together and that's OK.
The thing you can't talk through or work to perhaps though is just the love we share. You need to have a real love and fondness for each other to have a relationship work. It is the key ingredient. The Beatles said "All we need is love." in their song and I think that is true but at the same time you need to respect that love and nourish it.
Marriage vows warn that the relationship is to be shared through good times and bad times and in sickness and health. I truly believe that needs to be respected. To know that with love the bad times will be good times again if you keep it together and keep working at it. Sometimes love just needs some time, some heart and a lot of talking with a lot of listening to regain itself. Listening being the key - we all love to talk but you truly do have to listen as well.
So to my wife... I want her to know that I love her despite the fact that she doesn't want to call me "babe" like I joked about this morning or give me a fancy high five to a football touchdown or any of the other shortcomings she might feel I think she has. She's the woman I love, how ever she is or however she becomes. It's what makes our love special. Our adaptation to changes with the backdrop of love, respect and admiration for who we are as people - both together and apart. Adaption to change, caring and listening to each other is what keeps us together and in love.
She is definitely the woman I love... no matter where she is on Life's Path. I love her not because she's all that I want her to be but because of who she is. Even if that includes telling me to "forget it" a lot to some really awesome high five maneuvers or routines I come up with. She *might* relent on that someday. What? C'mon she just might someday... ya never know.