Love the One You’re With

Twelve Years Ago, in North Carolina

“No matter how much you hate each other, just stay together. It’s easier.”

This was the exasperated musings of a recently almost-divorced friend to me in passing a few weeks ago. I actually wasn’t even complaining about Anson or even upset with him in the least. She just sort of threw it out there after wrestling with some custody complications with her almost-ex-husband. It made me think.

Lucky me, I do not hate my husband. In fact I quite like him. Ok ok – let’s just get it out in the open, I L-O-V-E him as in two-little-lovers-sitting-in-a-tree LOVE. I love that guy with all my heart, and actually truthfully? I really really like him as well. I believe we would be the best of friends even if we weren’t together. He’s all the things I’m not, and while that can drive me totally crazy, it also is the mechanics of why we work together. More importantly, he is a person who knows how to love me back and not stick it to me for all the ways I’m a weirdo. There are many ways. Many. Many. Many. Annoying ways in which I could probably drive a person to not love me. But he does, so I’m set.

But it hasn’t been all rainbows and sunshine.

Anson and I have been through some excruciatingly tough times together. We have been on the verge of throwing our hands up in surrender on this relationship more than once. And while those times kind of unnerve me to look back upon, I think it’s healthy to admit that you’ve been there. And that you’re not there anymore. So how did we get through? Well….my friend kind of summed it up…no matter how bad it was, we just kind of decided to stick it out. And then, it got better. We made it better. We believed it would get better and then it was true.

This is not to say that we’ve got it all figured out. Far from it. But I have found that an important piece of being happy in a relationship is simply believing in it. Believing that it’s worth working really hard for. Believing that it’s something worth compromising for. Believing that it’s something that is more good than bad. Really, just having faith that the person you’re with is worth loving. And also believing that the love your receive back is actually deserved.

I have two friends who are getting married this weekend. Two girls from Utah who came to New York to make it official (Yay New York!!). Anson and I just celebrated our Twelfth Wedding Anniversary last week. I’ve got love on the brain and I’m letting it out here. I just really do believe that barring huge gaffes (infidelity, murder, leaving the cap off of toothpaste), we can be in amazing relationships with the people we love. And that if we’re willing to not walk away when it gets hard, that those relationships get even better. I am convinced that if you look at the person you are committed to with kindness rather than scorn, they will be the teammate you want them to be. They can be the love of your life, for your entire life.

Congratulations to my almost newly wedded friends Bev + Jaime, and Happy Anniversary to my Old Man, Anson Call. Love.

8 thoughts on “Love the One You’re With

  1. oh love love love! i *love* love! and, in fact, i have been in love with your relationship for awhile now.

    …creepy? maybe so. but really, in my mehhhnny single years, i would often quietly refer to you in my mind, as an example of what i’d like one day. i needed your template… because without it, i would end up in the same ol’ crappy situation.

    so thank you. and, it worked. viva love!!

  2. Yes! Right!

    My husband drives me bananas on a daily basis. I think he wonders if I’m insane at least once an hour. But he is my best friend and I love him and I trust him with my heart and with the welfare of our children. Whenever things are unfun (frequently) I remind myself that nothing will ever be fantastic every single day and that nobody will ever love me as completely as my husband does. That I couldn’t ever love anybody the way I love the father of my children. So I put all my faith and energy into being married to him and, somehow, that always brings the fun back.

  3. There have been moments – months, even, long loooooong months stretching into years – where I was simply staying in the relationship because I knew that although it felt irretrievably broken, I needed to view it in the proper context – of a lifetime. Neither of us had done anything horrid – we’d just grown apart, begun to crack under the strain of myriad crushing outside pressures (extended unemployment and the resulting poverty; unplanned pregnancies that yielded much-beloved, but inconveniently expensive and burdensome children; law school and its attendant pressures). We were no longer really friends, no longer happy, just scrapping through. But there was no reason to separate, no reason to believe that the same drifting-apart and falling-out-of-love wouldn’t happen with someone else, and so I stayed put and so did he. And we just put the lid on one of the schmoopiest, sexiest, most romantic weeks we’ve ever had together. I won’t say we needed to overcome adversity and distance in order to be this happy – but I will say it was worth trudging through to get back here.

    I told my young sister, recently wed at 21, that there will be times when you don’t feel like being married anymore. And in those times, you just pretend you feel like it, until you do again. I think that was good advice, and I’m glad I followed it myself.

    (N.B. – If you’re divorced, I’m not attacking you for failure, or saying if you’d just stuck it out, you’d find your way to happy again. I will not crawl into someone else’s marriage and judge.)

  4. Right! Sometimes it’s about believing in the relationship and riding it out. Sometimes changes that are needed take a while. But they get there. My hubby and I celebrated 8 years in March. We have our challenges, ways we don’t meet each other’s needs. But we are in love. We both always say that these have been the best 8 years of our lives. I can’t wait for many, many more!

  5. “if you look at the person you are committed to with kindness rather than scorn, they will be the teammate you want them to be”

    You nailed it. Needed this reminder today, desperately. Thanks.

    Now how do I get my husband to read this?!?

  6. Pingback: Pistols and Popcorn » The (Gay!) Wedding

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