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 — ?”

“Contrast?”

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.

“Wow!”

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.

“WOW!”

“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!