“…as grown-ups find ourselves rejecting certain candidates for marriage not because they are wrong but because they are too right — too balanced, mature, understanding and reliable — given that in our hearts, such rightness feels foreign.
We marry the wrong people because we don’t associate being loved with feeling happy.”
~ Alain de Botton
This isn’t just about marriage. It’s about any intimate relationships. The sharings of lives.
Real sharings to be precise.
With all the mess and the romance. With all the dreaminess every ‘realist’ frowns at, and every practicality every poet seeks to ignore. With every mistake and every awkward tenderness. With all the words and gestures that torment and delight. With all we witness that inspires us and drives us insane and grounds us.
With all the love. All that crazy, illogical, impractical, impossible yet possible and most of all, necessary love.
Yes, the true sharings of lives.
And you’d think we would do the natural thing, embrace the chance when it comes. Run with it. Fight for it, be inconvenienced for it, sacrifice for it.
But it’s not what we do. Well, some do, but many…too many, do not.
Instead, we settle for those smothering why and how not-s sustained by insecurity, fear, greed, convenience, laziness.
Forgetting how insanely lucky we are to have hit such an elusive target while shooting blindfolded and spinning wildly.
I was recently asked if I’d want and need someone like me in my life to be my ‘perfect’ match. And my answer was “hell no!”.
What would be the point of that? To suffocate in familiarity? To grow smaller in the laziness of my contentment? To end up with an even more ravenous ego feeding on its own image?
I can’t think of anything more awful or toxic than share my life with a version of myself. To die unstirred, unchallenged, unsung.
No, what is good for us is stirring, challenge, song.
And yes, balanced by maturity, responsibility, generosity and kindness.
We need solid ground and also playfulness. To pay bills and to do ridiculously silly things too. We don’t just need words, but we do need them. We don’t just need a fantasy, but we do need it.
Everything can’t be magic, but we need magic. Real magic.
And yet, when we find all this…or almost all, we say it’s ‘too good’. We throw away a chance of a lifetime because it’s too soulful.
Because the other is too right. Too compatible by being so different that they keep us awake and alive.
Yes. The other is too eager. Too passionate. Too willing to love. Too vulnerable. Too genuine.
What a problem to have.
Why the hell are we so afraid of what is ‘too good’? Why am I so afraid?
Does the rightness feel so foreign? Is it so hard to believe we can be truly loved, and loved well? Embraced and thriving in the right wrongness?
Because that IS what we’re dealing with: the right flavor of wrongness for us. The right bundle of imperfections to match our own. The twin soul who is so different and yet sits beautifully with us at the same table. The mirror that shows us our demons. And the hand that lovingly holds ours while we learn to dance with them.
But let’s talk about wrongness. Not the good wrongness, but the ugly one. The one that makes us run from what is ‘too right’ and drown in prudent, cerebral choices that may or may not amuse us for a while.
The ugly and wrong wrongness is that efficient way one must run a business and never an intimacy. It is the withering no one notices because everyone is busy completing tasks.
It’s the practicality without soul, the flavorless accumulation of assets and accolades.
It is…well…it’s not so much about what it is than about what it isn’t.
So you see…
If and when we are so fortunate as to find that which is ‘too right’ or ‘too good’, we might consider that rightness feels foreign because we have yet to discover how being truly loved and happiness are linked.
And because we have to get used to it all. The right wrongness for us. The true sharings of a life.
It is difficult yet simple you know.
Something like…like looking at someone and saying: “You are everything I never thought I wanted or needed.”