Confession: Sometimes I am tired of hearing about this “true love” bit. I suspect the way we talk about it is all wrong.
We talk about it as the one true path amid a host of bunny trails. We say that it’s waiting, that it’s out there somewhere. We say that we found it, as though after trying many times, we finally hit the nail on the head. This is it—the perfect match for me.
I don’t believe it. I think the perfect match is a myth, a hybrid legend born out of Disney and a poor understanding of predestination.
I used to think it was so—that my true love was a person out there waiting for me, and I was waiting for him. And then I found a very nice boy and he asked me to marry him and I said yes and we promised forever. So I thought okay, this is my true love. He came.
But the very nice boy turned out to have serious issues…
(True love doesn’t have serious issues, does it?)
And, surprisingly enough, I turned out to have serious issues myself… cartloads of them.
(My happy dreams of effortless harmony took a little tumble. Had I got it wrong? What if we weren’t compatible after all?)
News flash: Compatibility is overrated.
Now before you start bridling about where you think I’m going with this: I’m not here to say you can’t make a reckless decision and suffer for it. Obviously there are many people in the world who would be horridly ill-suited to you, people whose values, beliefs, and lifestyles would be nearly impossible to mesh with your own.
But true love is not a reward for those who get it right. It’s not a mystical something that happens to a few, who marry the right boy at the right time for the right reasons and consequently have everything go right. Everything doesn’t go right. Life happens.
And you are not perfect for each other.
So you are a neatnik and had no IDEA what his office was gonna look like.
So you love classical music and he really doesn’t get into that high-falutin stuff, even though he sort of did while you were dating.
So you are a foodie, passionate about flavor and texture, and his favorite dish in the world features ground-up hotdogs.
So your idea of rising at the crack of dawn is 8:30 sharp, and he’s got a game plan starting two hours before that…
Rest assured. It’s okay.
It’s more than okay. It’s infinity to the power of ten okay. Conflict and difficulty do not signal a lack of true love, but an opportunity to grow in it.
The problem with believing you married him because he’s the right one is that at some point, you will encounter an obstacle so nearly insurmountable you’ll wonder if he’s the wrong one. Just don’t even go there. True love isn’t roulette, maybe you got it and maybe you missed it. True love is not about getting the right person, finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. True love is not back there with the old boyfriend or down the road with the next cute guy. (In fact, the idea that true love might be found with someone new is a paradox in itself.)
The thing about true love is, you have to be true. If you married him, he’s the one; there are no dead ends and no blue screens, short of heinous sin that destroys the marriage on its own.
(Him drinking his coffee in richly acoustical slurps does not qualify as heinous sin.)
True love is a continual state of being, like sanctification: you are in it and getting in it and about to get in more of it and not yet fully in it, all at the same time.
That’s why “It wasn’t true love” is such a dumb thing to say. It could have been true love and if it was you wouldn’t be talkin about it in the past tense, honey.
In fact, the only difference that I can think of between true love and not-true-love is that true love wakes up the next morning and loves again. And again. And again. Despite the morning breath and the end of the honeymoon, despite the messy office and the shrieking classical, love just doesn’t give up. And about the time you think you can’t keep dishing it out when he doesn’t deserve it, you’ll find he’s been serving it back to you, most truly. And guess what? You don’t deserve it.
Love begets love begets love begets love and the last love of all is the true.