I’m considering getting a filter for my mouth. Sometimes, especially with those closest to me, I say too much. It’s like there is a select group of people with whom I practice radical honesty. It is possible that the radical honesty thing is something to which all involved parties should agree. Seriously folks, imagine what happens when one person is like “Hey, I’m going to tell you exactly what I think even when it makes you feel bad.” And then the other person is like, “Hey, why are you making me feel so bad? Don’t you know which thoughts need to remain just thoughts and never become spoken words?” Let me offer myself up as an example. This non-agreed upon radical honesty thing may be a seriously bad idea. Here’s why.
Wife is an incredibly loving, demonstrative, loyal partner. She will go out of her way, to lie and maybe cheat and steal to try to prevent me from feeling crappy because of something that she has said or done. By the way, the degree to which she tries to avoid causing upset has only a limited correlation to how frequently she is the trigger to my unhappiness or anger, but that’s not the point. Because of her great efforts to avoid causing me unhappiness she is profoundly distraught when she discovers she has done just that. I, on the other hand, accept that she will cause upset and heartache sometimes.
I’m not nearly as kind as Wife. I expect to upset her and anger her. We are married for crying out loud! We have shared a bed, a bathroom and a refrigerator for 10 years; of course I annoy her! I think that what annoys her most though, is my lack of mushiness and great pronouncements of love. I say I love you and stuff but I also say things like, “Fifty percent of marriages end in divorce and having multiples and children with special need increases the chances of this happening.” I also say things like, “I knew that we could have children together because if we had to parent them separately, not in a relationship with each other, we would still be a good parenting team.” (This, by the way, sounds like the nicest thing ever, given that I have said recently that we are the worst parenting team ever, citing our poorly behaved children as proof!). These comments above, do not, in my opinion, call my love into question; they simply highlight my belief that in love there should be radical (bordering on mean, if necessary) honesty! This belief is probably the thing that Wife hates most about me.
So with my radical honesty commitment in mind, I told her earlier today that I read this article in Huffington Post by Shanell Mouland titled, “Dear Husband, I Don’t Love You More Each Day. YES! THANK YOU! Finally, somebody challenges the ridiculous, hallmarky statement: “I love you more each day.” In the letter Mouland argues that what is more truthful, is that she understands her partner more every day. Yes, that is it.
I told Wife that I so agreed and that there is no way that I love her more each day. How can I? Has she seen our days? Our life is not good fertilizer for love. It’s good fertilizer for commitment, healthy codependency, even respect, but not romantic love. I just don’t feel the love growing. Look, I explained back in March in this post about meeting and falling in love with Wife, that I choose her and our relationship, consciously every day. It’s hard people! I totally love this smart, stinky (seriously the farts), intense, dedicated, stressed, funny, loving woman, but for the love of all things holy this is not exactly the season of our life together when the love is likely to grow!
So I leave you with the thought that I left with Wife when I was done telling her that Mouland’s letter is brilliant and that I don’t love her more each day, and she told me that she totally disagrees and thinks I mean: “Honey, it’s not like I’m saying that I love you LESS each day. That’d be mean. That would be taking radical honesty too far. I just don’t love you MORE. So friends, go ahead and tell someone that you pretty much love them the same as you did yesterday. The truth will set you free.
*** Please do not get the wrong idea from this post. I truly, truly love Wife! In fact, if you must know, while this may not be the perfect season for growing love, it does seem to be the perfect season for expressing all the love that I do have for her (wink, wink).