Walked past a restaurant this morning. I saw a couple sat by a window – on holiday – eating their breakfast. They had the same expression you see on the faces of just about all married couples eating their breakfast. Fear!
Have you ever noticed that we set each other so many rules to live by that, sometimes, being in people’s company is like walking on eggshells? And that married couples are generally the worst cases!
I guess the origin of the problem is partly that our courtship strategies tend to put us together with people that we only half like. We figure that we can work on the other half over time and hopefully then end up with someone who we can fully like. Trouble is, it hardly ever works out like that.
We want to become someone with a perfectly moulded and ultimately contented partner. Instead we wind up being with someone who resents every attempt we have lovingly made to change them into someone they never wanted to be. And it will show on their face. It will look like fear of making mistakes.
You see the thing is – everyone thinks that they are perfect just the way they are. The reasoning for this goes: I was doing fine before I met him/her, so I sure as heck don’t need anyone to make me into a ‘better person’ now!
Perhaps you have experienced this? Someone attempting to make you into a better person just feels like a rule that has been imposed on you from the outside. Remember when you were a kid and your parents were always telling you what to do? And they told you it was for your own good? Well it feels like that, right?
Sure, sometimes we abide by the rules – especially if we see some advantage to them. But for the most – we begrudgingly fall into step. And, of course – sometimes we rebel.
This rebellion will usually be in the form of arguments, but a glance at your morning paper will demonstrate that sometimes these turn into something more serious. And the reason for this? Because we choose to be with someone we see as being in need of renovation.
The thing is though – we are not buildings. We can’t be purchased, gutted and then fitted with new floorboards, plasterboards, cupboards and fittings and then given a fresh coat of paint. We’re just not like that. We are people. And we have feelings. And they can be hurt.
So, if you’re blissfully single at the moment – think hard before you marry a renovation project. It’ll be much better for all parties of you instead pick someone who you like. And this doesn’t necessarily mean choosing someone who is good looking. Make sure that you plump for someone who you can talk to. Someone who understands you. Someone who you understand in return.
If you can do that, I hope that I will see you in years to come, sitting by a window, eating breakfast with your partner. And when I smile at you and wave frantically to catch your attention – you won’t even notice me, because you’ll be so engrossed in a conversation with the love of your life. And you will have a lovely big smile written all over your face.
And when I see this, I will smile too – because we all know that happiness is contagious, right?
And if you’re already married then don’t despair. Here’s something to try: accept your partner for who they are – warts and all. And do you know what? You might just see a big smile appear on their face too!