GUEST AUTHOR: Ashley Stromenberg
IMAGE: Me, second from left, “not liking” my new friends very much.
One of my favourite things to do is to sit alone, watching TV, with a glass of wine. I could very happily live alone (especially if I had a dog) and don’t feel the need to keep the conversation going on a long car ride.
Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, who recently celebrated 70 years of marriage, once said, “If a man opens the car door for his wife, it’s either a new car or a new wife.” There’s a nugget of truth in this joke: novelty fades in marriage as much as anything else.
On Saturday, May 14, 2016, a cloudy, blustery, and unseasonably cold day, I married the woman of my dreams. As my wife and I prepare to celebrate our first anniversary, I have found myself reflecting on how we’ve grown and what has changed in our relationship.
How do I know if the person I’m with is the one I’m supposed to marry? Or, to Christianize it, how do I know if this person is God’s pick for me? What if I make a mistake? What happens if I miss the person that God is preparing for me? How do I know?
In a recent episode of The Big Bang Theory, Raj struggles with this same question. He has been dating Emily for a while, but another girl walks into his life that he is drawn and attracted to. Should he break up with his girlfriend and pursue a new relationship?
They say that opposites attract. And usually when ‘they’ say that, they mean in romance. But is it really such a good idea to find ‘your opposite’ for a relationship? Are we really attracted to people who are different from us, or actually those with whom we have more in common?
When checking out at the grocery store the other day, I realized the cashier hadn’t given me the one plastic bag I’d asked for (at this store, you have to purchase each bag). I’d filled my two cloth bags and so I turned to the cashier to to ask for one, and what came out of my mouth was, “Uh, one bag?” She told me I hadn’t paid for one, to which I sarcastically snapped, “Well, I asked for one.”
I could tell the cashier wasn’t impressed. To clarify, I hadn’t meant to sound sarcastic or rude. I wasn’t having a bad day; in fact, it was a good morning. So why was my ad hoc response to a simple miscommunication delivered with such a rude tone?
We all live with this fundamental principle underscoring our entire worldview: I am the most important person in my life.
I saw this image come through my news feed this morning. And it angered me (if you posted it, this isn’t an attack against you; this picture just started a morning-long conversation in my head). It’s a cute picture, and it’s a cute sentiment. The idea is that ‘she’ makes everything better. ‘She’ cancels out the negative thoughts and self-talk in his mind. Essentially, she saves him.
Just like that terrible movie, A Walk To Remember. Again, a cute movie, but like so many movies, idealizes a view of relationships that is actually quite destructive (I realize I’ve scandalized a lot of you by now). That movie, like this image, sets my blood on fire. And here’s why:
It is extremely selfish and a terrible burden to lay on someone you love to expect them to save you.
A common joke from married men is, “Would you rather be right or would you rather be happy?” Another simple one is, “Happy wife, happy life.” Though jokes, they seem to be a somewhat true indicator of an attitude that does exist in relationships, but is this right?
Yesterday, my girlfriend and I were joking about this as we drove to a friend’s house. On the way back, she turned on the GPS and I asked if she didn’t trust my directions. It was a joke, but it also wasn’t. Frustrated, I vented somewhat jokingly and a little self-righteously until she told me that sometimes, I talk too much. Now I was really frustrated and I felt that she’d just dismissed a valid critique. But I let the issue drop because I’d rather be begrudgingly happy than right.
Is this what relationships amount to, or is there a better resolution?