Good relationships are a lot of work.
Not the kind of work that leaves you cranky and drained, but work nonetheless. I was shooting the breeze with my mom today and reflecting on the fact that things change when you get engaged. You look at relationships differently and people look at you differently. For instance, when it comes to dating woes I just keep my mouth shut because someone will inevitably remark, “That’s easy for you to say cuz you got a man!”
I’m learning more and more as I get older that when people complain, 99% of the time they don’t want a solution or a new perspective, but validation of their feelings. I don’t do pity parties so I just shut up, which keeps me from being subjected to the same stories over and over. Women tend to act like relationships are just this magical fairy tale romance that clothes your life in glitter and rainbows. And I’ll admit, it is like sometimes. Every once in a while I’ll look at Tex or think about him and feel like my heart could burst with love for him.
Most of the time, things aren’t nearly so dramatic. And since we don’t see each other every day, we have to communicate ALL the time. Some people don’t think an hour’s drive qualifies as long distance, but really it does. There is no sulking until he gets the point because he might not see me for two weeks to get the point. When I get upset, I can be very cordial. I will speak calmly and evenly while seething inside and you wouldn’t know it unless you can see the subtle tensing of my facial expressions and body language. You can’t hug it out over the phone and there is no makeup sex (well I suppose there could be, but no, thank you).
My parents always told me never to be jealous of anyone else because everyone comes with their own gifts and problems in life. Better for you to have the ones that you know how to deal with. I fully admit that I am blessed to have met my future husband so early in life. I’m just as surprised as any of you! It was a whole lot of serendipity that put us in the right place, at the right time to be together. Also true, on the whole I’m pretty good at anything academic. But you know what I would love to be? A creative genius–one of those people who oozes art, poetry, and music, with perfect pitch and virtuoso talent. I would love to have charisma–to be the person who never met a stranger and can’t even imagine what an awkward pause is like, who is never at a loss for words and loved by everybody. I would love to be a sophisticate–the woman with the body and face that turns heads, eclectically elegant style and perfectly coiffed hair who can work magic with a makeup brush.
But I’m not any of those people. I can play decently well on the viola, I’ve written some poems that weren’t cringe inducing, I can socialize without falling over myself in self-consciousness and I’ll probably never be a victim of What Not to Wear. I don’t have everything I wish for, but nobody can have everything. God gives us challenges so that we can better appreciate the blessings. I wouldn’t want any of those things if it meant I had to wait another 10, 20, 20 years to meet Tex or never meet him at all. This is why I hate to be the object of anyone’s envy–the road to seemingly having it all together wasn’t quick or fun. I spent a lot of nights up late writing prayers in my notebook, wondering why I couldn’t just breeze through life like everyone else. But it got me to where I am today so I can’t be mad at it.
If the grass is greener on the other side, you can bet the water bill is through the roof…