Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A Different Kind of Fairy Tale

I met my charming husband in Chiropractic school soon after I had written down a list of ten attributes I wanted in a partner.  I've often wished I hadn't stopped at ten (just kidding, well sort of :)).  I was only twenty-three at the time and I have certainly evolved since then. 

At that time, I really wasn't looking to date anyone.  In fact, I had recently ended a relationship and was pretty adamant about not dating anytime soon.  I think the list was more of a reminder of what was most important to me at that time in my life.  Sometimes it is only after one relationship ends that you develop a better sense of what you truly want in a partner.  And other times, fate intervenes. 

When it comes to most things, my husband and I are polar opposites.  He is a born New Englander, while our heating bill confirms that I was born and raised in the Caribbean.  I am more of an introvert who enjoys a deeper level of conversation, while he plays lead guitar in a cover band and can strike up a comfortable conversation with just about anyone he meets.  I have deep spiritual beliefs, while his Facebook page lists "still searching" as his religious views.  Yes, even when it comes to politics, we don't often share the same perspective.

So how did two very different people end up together?  I was his biochemistry tutor and he made me laugh.  As it turns out, a great sense of humor was number 3 on my list.  We remained friends after biochem and the chemistry sort of spilled beyond the class notes although neither of us were willing to admit to it for quite some time. 

Months after we had "officially" been dating, we visited an aunt who has been like a mother to me.  She was living in NYC at the time.  At the dinner table that first night, she asked him, "So how does your family feel about you dating a black girl?"  Without missing a beat, he turned to me and said, "You didn't tell me you were black."   His wit and sense of humor continue to to be two of his greatest attributes. 

So, how can two people who share varying beliefs make it work especially when there have been many difficult times and much heart-break?   Even at the age of 23, I was insightful enough to write that "I want someone who will accept me just as I am"  even before I knew exactly what that truly meant.  We love and respect each other.  We have both learned to treasure the happy times and really appreciate the little things that truly matter.  We may not always be on the same page, but we somehow manage to remain in the same book. We are supportive of each other without pressure or demands.  We respect each other's interests, even take turns selecting which movies to watch together and make the effort to just be together.  Just the other day, we spent about an hour laughing hysterically when I pulled out a memory box filled with all the little notes, movie tickets and other mementos I've saved over the years.  I promised not to post any of his notes :).

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, once shared that the true meaning of love is to help the other person to “exist more."  I loved this expression because it says that we are to allow each other to be fully who we are.  It encourages mutual respect and acceptance.  We may not always agree with our partner's ways of doing things; but even when we disagree, we can do so in a respectful manner. 

Love is about giving and receiving, but best when freely given and without conditions.  As for the happily ever after, we are each responsible for our own happiness. 

Love and Blessings to you,

Kathleen O'Malley


Anonymous said...

I loved this.

Kathleen said...

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Just seeing this now, Kathy. I love it!!
Jeannie Bean