I was thinking today about two of my friends who are very happily married. Well, at least as far as I can tell.
And it occurred to me that neither one would’ve married their spouse if they’d stuck with what they though they needed in a relationship.
The first girl is Catholic and married a previously divorced guy. They actually broke up at one point for almost a year because of the religion issue. But she finally realized that all of the things they had in common were far more important than sharing a religious belief.
That’s a tricky one. My dad was religious and my mom wasn’t and I always noticed that it was a challenge for them. So, I’d never recommend that anyone dismiss a religious difference as a non-issue. But my friend and her husband have made it work so far. And my parents did, too.
I think it’s easier when one person has a clear religion and the other doesn’t. Because the person with the strong religious belief can apply that to the children and the other spouse can just let it go. And there’s no debate about which one’s religion is “right.” There’s still sadness on the part of the person who believes that the person they love can’t “see the light.”
But, it does seem doable.
My other friend had a notion of what her married life would be like, which involved being a stay-at-home mom living in a very expensive area. The man she married doesn’t earn as much as she would expect her husband to earn in order to allow that to happen, so she will be working when they have kids.
It really was a matter of concern for her. I think it’s a large part of why she ended her prior relationship.
But she and her husband are so good together that I’m glad she got past that. She would’ve missed out on a lot of happiness if she’d let him go because of money.
As a matter of fact, I know another woman who did lose out on a wonderful relationship because the man she was with didn’t earn as much as she wanted him to. He was in a public service job and it just didn’t pay as much as she thought her future husband needed to earn. He had his own house, he was crazy for her, she was crazy for him. But…
She just couldn’t get past that vision of what her life should be.
Last I heard she’d moved to New York and was dating a hedge fund manager. More like the life she thought she wanted, but I’m pretty sure she passed up on a really great guy that would’ve made her very happy.
It’s sad that sometimes we can’t get past our hang-ups. That we can’t let go of that one vision of what our life has to be like and instead embrace what we’ve found.
There are some things I MUST have in a mate: kindness, respect, intelligence, sense of humor, a reasonable level of attractiveness.
But all the rest? I think there’s a lot more wiggle room there than most of us allow.
So, if you’re with someone and it all feels right except for one little thing. And that little thing isn’t a serious addiction or anger issues or horrible financial management or serious mental health problems or something else that means you’re blind to who they are as a person, maybe let it go. Maybe you don’t need that in a relationship.
Maybe you have the exactly right person in your life if you’d just let yourself see it.