Does Loving Someone Mean You Have to Like Them?

red-headI love my wife. She is my partner and best friend but there are times when I don’t like her all that much.

This may seem a paradox, but it is not.

Love is a less changeable thing than liking. Love is the climate of a relationship, liking is the weather – and the forecast for tomorrow is frost.

It began like this.

After returning from the supermarket, I parked the car and began unloading groceries, but my wife didn’t move. She remained in the passenger seat, staring straight ahead.

“What are you wearing to the wedding?” she asked.

There are no innocent questions asked in a car that is not running. She knows that I own but one suit, so I humored her.

“The blue one,” I said.

She shook her head no.

I argued that the suit has provided decades of loyal service for both me and my father. I reminded her that he paid a lot of money for it back in 1972 and the investment had yet to be fully recouped.

It took me a while –  but eventually I realized all I had done is agree to go shopping for a suit.

Having passed that hurdle, we went into the house.

In the entryway, she reminded me for the twentieth time, “This is YOUR friend who is getting married.” She then made a beeline for a tower of boxes that UPS had been building all week.

“Before we get you a new suit, “she said, “let me try on a few things.”

We have just established that my taste in clothing is — well — utilitarian, but that did not stop her from modeling a parade of clothing.  The first dress fit her like a tarp draped over a CSI victim.

“Nice,” I lied.

“Isn’t it a bit – loose?”

I carefully offered no more than a nod of consensus.

The next dress looked like what a naturalist might wear to mingle into a herd of zebras. I struggled for a comment.

She helped me out, “Is it too much — ?”


She agreed with the word choice. We were both very pleased and the dress was returned mercifully to its box.

As she dug deeper into the pile, each dress became looser and more contrasting than the last.

“So what do you think?” she asked, as the last dress was folded into its box.

“Fine, all very fine,” I said. By now I was not even standing in the shadow of truth.

Then I heard those dreaded words…

“I don’t have a thing to wear!”

An hour later — at the mall, I found myself on the guy’s bench at Macy’s looking up from my novel at a series of dresses.

“Nice,” I nodded, “good, very good.”

“How can you say that?” she accused, “you are wearing your reading glasses.”

Grudgingly, I put on my distance glasses.


I told her that.

“REALLY nice,” I said, and this time I meant it.

“It’s expensive,” she informed me.

“How much?”

She pitched me a figure.


“Will you buy it for me?” After all, it is your friend who is getting married.”

There was no way out of it. I could bob. I could weave. I could duck. But I would still pay for the dress.  I agreed to do it, and she was properly pleased.

As we left the store, I asked, “So when did you pick it out?”

“Two weeks ago.”

“Figured. So what am I going to wear?”

She looked at me incredulously, “Your blue suit of course. Why? What were you thinking?”

Our relationship has a warm Mediterranean climate but a cold snap is forecast for tonight!

Author: Almost Iowa

47 thoughts on “Does Loving Someone Mean You Have to Like Them?”

  1. Very funny! And I think you have a very good understanding of the husband/wife relationship. Personally, I used to start by modeling the more expensive clothing items, and then work my way down. By the time I got to the dress/coat/whatever I really wanted, the price didn’t sound so bad to my husband. But I do admire your wife’s strategy….

    1. I have the perfect counter-measure for that… a left ear that doesn’t work too well. All I do is tilt my head until I hear what I want to hear. 🙂

  2. I just read a quote by Barry Lopez: “The essence of love, of a loving relationship, is reciprocity, waves of energy moving in opposite directions but in parallel along the same path. And it’s exactly these reciprocated, “loving” relationships that, taken together, create the literal and figurative entities we call “ecosystems.”

    1. You are onto something. I have found that small town hardware stores often serve as social centers. A few couches would be great. They could even sell coffee.

  3. Do you hear me laughing all the way down in Almost Iowa, which isn’t all that far? This is a gem. I may have to show this to my husband. I bet he can relate, just like all husbands.

  4. Isn’t that the same blue suit that Clark Kent wore when he picked up his Pulitzer? I’m not saying…well, I guess I am but I’m not telling anybody, Mr. S.

    1. No, it is not the same suit… but you have given me an idea. It would look great with a superman t-shirt. You know, the one with the big S.

  5. In Bentonville, Arkansas, at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, there is a sculpture dedicated (at least informally) to all you fellas. Tell me — isn’t this life meets art?

  6. You’re going to hate me but my wife does not like shopping. She leans toward simple, practical clothing and she buys most of it mail order. This was s fun read I remember the guys bench but only from when shopping with my daughter. Now, if she wants to go shopping, I suggest that she take her mom.

    1. It is not so much hate that I feel, Don, but envy. We are talking, turning Wicked Witch of the West green with envy. You are a lucky man. I think you should have your daughter shop with her mother… Maybe that is how your wife got her aversion to shopping. 🙂

    1. That is absolutely no fair. Those benches are a wonderful place to read and relax. I have consumed many a novel while waiting on my wife and the best of all, it is guilt free. There is no way she is going to complain that perhaps I should be checking the cat box or cleaning out the shed rather than doing what I am doing. Women deserve that right too!. 🙂

  7. So true and appreciate that this cold front moves through other places as well as mine. Today it was shoes as in ” Do these shoes make my feet look big?”

    1. I have developed a tried and true defense mechanism. Whenever she asks me if what she is wearing looks good, I always say, “Of course, but then again you always look good.” She then smiles and gets advice from a more reliable source.

  8. I loved this story but I’ve been married 43 years so I had an inkling of how this might end. That just happens with time😀

      1. Lol…you’re so right. And considering g I’ve known my wife since third grades, words are rarely necessary to convey thoughts…:)

    1. Please make sure to clear you browser’s history and cache after you are done reading this, I wouldn’t want you husband to find out where you get your ideas. 🙂

    1. Yes, the blue suit. The best that can be said of it is that it is durable. At the wedding, a kid asked me if it could stop bullets. He was not joking.

  9. Ah…the vagaries of these gals is always our undoing! With the dresses she was trying on being too loose you could maybe have gone the ‘my you’ve lost some weight’ route…although that route would be either a major success or an absolute disaster!

    1. I hear you there, Mike. Most often my fashion critiques are absolute disasters which I have led myself into believing were major successes.

        1. Yeah, they do. Since Meghan Trainor’s All About The Base came out, it is impossible to know how to respond. Thankfully, our forefathers blessed us with the Fifth Amendment which allows us to withhold incriminating testimony. I invoke it on a daily basis.

  10. Another great/funny column, Almost Iowa, with another nearly O. Henry-like ending. It’s been said that “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus,” but I’m still trying to figure out how they could breath on those home planets…

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