Prince Humperdinck: Skip to the end.
The Impressive Clergyman: Have you da wing?
As an early, cynical teen, I watched The Princess Bride for the first time and found to my heart ‘s delight a soul-mate in William Goldman and Rob Reiner’s vision of “tru wuv” and the false trappings of Western romance. Buttercup was an idiot. Wesley only loved her for her perfect breasts. The Prince needed a helpless victim so he could justify going to war. Vizzini loved only himself. The only “tru wuv”s in the movie were the deep friendship between Inigo and Fezzik and the love of the grandfather for his grandson.
Which suited cynical me just fine. I cheered when stupid Wesley died in the first five minutes. My sister reassured me, “He doesn’t really die,” spoiling the rest of the movie for me. (I almost quit watching, but she insisted it got better, including the best sword fight ever, so I stuck it out. It was worth the sword fight.) I hated the fact it ended up being a “kissing book,” but when I read the REAL book and found out the REAL sad, depressing, heart wrenching ending, I cheered even more! Down with romance! Down with “wuv”! Romance is stupid!
So, I grew up, determined not to fall into the trap, determined to live single my entire life and, whoops, what happens? Uh, hmm. Yep. God has a sense of humor. Never say never. I protested too much. All that jazz hands.
Seventeen years ago I married an amazing man who has cheered and suffered with me through all of what life has brought us. And not brought us. It’s been wonderful. It’s been awful. It’s been hysterical. It’s been depressing. But through it all, we’ve clung to each other, relied on each other, and supported each other with a singular focus: divorce is not an option because love is sometimes a choice, not a feeling.
Now I realize this is a philosophy not everyone can accept. I’m not going to judge, scream at, look down on, or make fun of anyone who disagrees with me or who had gotten a divorce. Everyone has to make their own choices in life. And it has to be a choice that BOTH parties make. For us, this is OUR choice and it has worked for us.
See, the Greek language describes love better than English does. We have this one word “love” and it covers a multitude of feelings. “I love pizza,” doesn’t really mean the same as, “I love Hugh Jackman,” and “I love my husband,” is in another category altogether. And when I say, “I love my neighbor,” I may not like them, but I respect them as a fellow human being and that is another type of love.
In my opinion, Western love has been warped into this strange creature, flighty and unknowable, that changes with the seasons, is focused mainly on the act of sexual gratification, and carries little meaning other than what one feels in the moment: what is good for ME right NOW. That isn't love. That's selfishness. Greed. Self-gratification.
Wouldn’t the world be a strange place if—crazy concept—love was instead a commitment to creating an environment--a community--where other parties are uplifted and happy? Feel safe and secure? Where others' needs are put before the needs of the self? Delayed gratification for the self—especially physically—so that other people's needs are met first? Hmmm. A bit of life revision might be needed there.
A strange thing happens when you serve others with this kind of love: you receive more love back AND you feel better about yourself. WHOA! I don't know if we're ready for THAT kind of world. No riots, no shootings, no rapes, no burglaries...I can dream, right?
But let's get back to reality. Can "tru wuv" exist in this awful world of ours? Can people stand each other long enough to live 20, 30, even 50 years together anymore and be happy? My parents have hit 50 and Husband's parents are close. They're happy. I know others with some time on their rings who are happy. Something has to be working for some people.
Therefore, I decided I would publish MY list of what I think are examples of “tru wuv” in my relationship. It might not be for yours, but it is real and it is raw and it is from the heart:
“Tru wuv” is:
- A husband who quietly searches through laundry baskets for his clothes because the wife only does “emergency” laundry until there’s nothing left to do, then she does a panicked fury of seven loads in a day (the number of baskets we have) but doesn’t put the clothes up.
- A husband who patiently scoots over the wife’s piles of stuff to do his work. Note that “piles” is plural and that every flat surface in the house is covered with piles. Including sections of the floor.
- A husband who calmly listens to his wife scream about how hard her job is, watches her fall asleep on the couch, makes her mac and cheese or chicken quesadillas for supper, then holds her as she cries and eats it.
- A husband who helps her find her lost keys. Again. And again. Did I mention again?
- A husband who washes the dishes without being asked. And puts them away. Unlike the wife who forgets to put away the laundry.
- Did I mention helping her find the keys?
- A husband who knows when to comfort his wife, when to let her grumble in the corner, and when to ask her, “Do you want to go for a run, dear?”
- A husband who is still at home when the wife doesn’t get home from work until 8:00 or 9:00 pm several days in a row.
- A husband who can discuss politics, religion, Dungeons and Dragons, Internet memes, and computers with the wife and not only keep up, but keep her intrigued. And teach her something.
- A husband who forgives his wife for what she can’t give him and lives with her depression and craziness when she can’t control it.
- A husband who isn’t perfect but tries to be the best husband he can, so the wife will reciprocate.
I have to admit, I haven’t been the best wife I can be lately. My job, my writing, my editing, and my life in general have taken over and I haven’t been spending the time I should on my relationship. I aim to change that, though.
Revision. It’s what makes life interesting…and hopefully better.
To commemorate my step in the right direction, I decided to do something I’ve been putting off. Not out of any other reason other than forgetfulness. It has to do with that box up at the top.
You see, when I started running, I began to lose weight. Soon, I couldn’t wear my wedding ring. So, I took it off and put it in my jewelry box so it wouldn’t get flung off or lost somewhere. Husband never complained but he did mention it a few times. I know he missed seeing it on my finger.
Last week I took it to a jeweler to have it resized. I didn’t tell Husband. During our anniversary dinner, I gave it to him to give back to me. He smiled, pulled it out, and slipped it on my finger.
Full-circle revision. The power of the One Ring.
See what I did there? (See last week's post.)
Now, you try.
Next main course on Revision is a Dish Best Served Cold:
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