Regular readers of my blog might have noticed the way I compare myself to others and/or compare my life to some imagined life I might have had if only . . . I talk about those things mostly as a way of purging them from myself, of recognizing that it’s somewhat silly to make comparisons. This post from Gretchen Rubin, an interview with Lori Gottlieb, author of Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough, reminded me of something I don’t find myself making comparisons about: my marriage and my spouse. I don’t tend to look out in the world at other men and think, if only Mr. Geeky dressed or looked or acted or worked like him. Mr. Geeky is who he is, and I love him. He’s far from perfect. I’ll spare you the details, but most importantly I’m not perfect either. There’ve been many times I’ve said, “How the hell do you put up with me?” As Gottlieb says in her interview with Gretchen, “happy people are grateful that they’ve found a person who has decided to spend his life with them, despite all the compromises he’s going to have to make, too!” While we sometimes mention the quirks in each other that we put up with, mostly they’re unsaid. Why bring up flaws that we mostly can’t do anything about?
Similarly, though our marriage has not been without some drama, mostly I compare our relationship favorably to everyone else’s. When I see a couple that seems happy, I don’t think, oh, I wish we were like them. Instead, I think, we’d probably be good friends because we’re both happy in our marriages. The discontent, the arguments, the flaws that occasionally stand out pass away quickly. And when issues arise, I know they’re going to pass and am better able to deal with them because I’m thinking of them as temporary problems in need of a solution rather than permanent damage to our relationship. It’s a nice feeling, really, when a lot of other things in life are filled with uncertainty.