Different Point of View
An elderly couple walks into my business—no, it’s not a bar and this is not a joke about an elderly couple walking into a bar—it is a true story. So, this elderly couple came to get their car washed. He opened the door for her, and they both walked to the cashier holding hands tenderly and lovingly. My wife looked at them with amazement and exclaimed, “Oh, how sweet!” Then she turned to me and said, “Look, my love, just like us. They are so cute.” I think I even saw a tear or two in her eyes.
Well, that’s how my wife sees us getting old together, showing affection, respect, and love. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that they were probably holding hands to keep each other walking upright. Their walk was so wobbly, that if they let go of each other, they would probably fall to their sides.
Fast forward to another time. Another elderly couple walks into my business. He was using a walker to support his…well…walk, while she was able to walk on her own. She opened the door and came in first. She didn’t hold the door open for him. He struggled to get inside and made his way—slowly—towards her. She encouraged him by shouting, “Come on. Hurry up. You are holding me up.” His reply was, “I am coming! I am coming!”
Once they made it to the register, after what may have been fifteen or so minutes, she paid and asked him if he had any cash for the tip. He said, “How in God’s name am I going to have some cash?! You are the one carrying a purse.” She left him standing there and walked out through the exit door. It took him a while to realize that she was gone, so he started his own exit. As he took his first step, he exclaimed, “Oh, I hate that woman!”
It’s a true story. I had to hold the door open for him. Once they were out of earshot, I busted out laughing. I looked at my wife, with a tear or two in my own eyes, and said, “Now, that is cute!”
Man, did I get in trouble for that.
What my wife didn’t understand is that while the first couple showed love and affection, the second couple displayed raw, unbridled passion. It must have taken them decades to build such intense feelings for each other. While it is nice to have the comfort of a loving, adoring spouse; it takes hard work to spend one’s life with someone that ignites so much fire inside. It is one thing to wake up with someone, smothered in a tender embrace. It is a totally different adventure to wake up smothered with a pillow on your face. The first couple can easily be classified as “boring”, but the second couple will make for a movie that I would love to watch.
In my wife’s own words, “You have to put up with my [s-word] and I have to put up with your [s-word].” All relationships require a lot of effort to make it work; some relationships require an absolute, deep commitment to make it last. It is easy when the two souls are cooperative, but it is absolute magic when two uncooperative souls go the distance, come hell or high water, through thick or thin, for better or for worse.
As we all know, for worse is more common than for better. It takes a real man (or woman) to make it through worse. My admiration goes to that hard-working individual, who ploughs ahead through all kinds of adversity, even if that adversity is from one’s very own spouse.
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