I am by every means a hopeless romantic. I believe in true love. I believe in happy endings. I like the warm, happy feelings of love. I also live with the pain of a hopeless romantic, in my time spent in and out of relationships. As a hopeless romantic, I love to watch Chick Flicks (I can smell the emasculating judgment brewing already). This weekend I went to the theater and watched the movie Friends with Benefits. I was struck by this scene about what people truly want in life and out of a partner:
The truly traumatic loss of our mental images of relationships makes it look all glamorous, all passion all the time. Life is less about relationships like the one in The Notebook where you passionately have sex for two days, and more about who you spend your Saturday’s with. Although we love to laugh at the scene, few characters get this more right than Will Ferrell’s character in Old School (Frank the Tank).
Relationships that exist solely on passion, flee quickly. Marriage seems more about mutual submission than spur of the moment living. Marriage is about learning how to fight well. Fighting with that person, fighting for that person, fighting against that person. Marriage is about learning how to balance the daily life with another person.
There are very few things I hate more in this world than camping. I hate bugs. I hate the idea of sleeping on the ground. I don’t like food cooked on a charcoal grill. I don’t like being contained with the same people over an extended period of time (introverted thing). Any person who will want to marry will know that I will not want to go camping with them. Any person that wants to marry me should know that I withdraw quickly if you want to talk about the weather with me. A married friend of mine brings me back to a concept he calls “taking one for the team.” She wants to go camping, take one for the team. She wants to talk about the weather, take one for the team. One of you wants to have sex and the other one doesn’t, take one for the team. He says taking one of the ways to keep a marriage happy is to take one for the team.
The idea of mutual submission goes a long way. Without it, no woman is bound to be able to handle all of my personality flaws, all of my stupid impulses. Mutual submission requires radical self-awareness in both parties. It requires great communication. It also requires a literal till’ death do us part mentality. Which may mean I am going to die on the inside some Saturdays because I took one for the team and went camping. There are no perfect people; there are no perfect marriages. Camping might be my deathbed to a happy marriage.