I used to hate country music. Isn’t the storyline always the same? My boyfriend is cheating, beer is a staple, and God blesses America despite high taxes. I never let my radio venture to that corny side of the airwaves. I found it just plain annoying.
But then I met this guy who became my boyfriend and that boyfriend became my husband and, go figure, he liked country music. I know, how could I have been so naive? Was love really so blinding that I missed this epic flaw in his character?
And then one day in the car, he asked me: What is so terrible about country music? I cited the obvious and waited for the light of common sense to dawn on him. That’s when he did the unthinkable. He set the car radio to The Gator, our local country station, and he said simply, “Listen, and give it a chance.”
I did listen, not because I wanted to give country music a chance, but because I understood something pretty fundamental about our relationship. Living life together is a joy, not because we like all the same stuff, but because we love each other enough to care about what the other cares about.
Love is most content when it is giving. What more simple way to give in a relationship than to put forth the effort to show interest in something that is important to the person you love. I would venture to guess that the happiest marriages are those in which each person make much of the interests of their spouse.
I believe my own marriage to Victor would be quite boring if we only ever listened to MY genre of music. Now I actually enjoy when my Victor fiddles with the radio dial and picks up a country station. It’s not so much that I go crazy for “On a Pontoon,” as it is that I go crazy for that smile on Victor’s face.
I really like life like this. The same can be said for any “baggage” that a partner brings to a relationship. We each have enough needs and wants of our own to occupy all of our life efforts in order to meet and fulfill them. Bringing the needs and wants of someone else into your life can seem like additional baggage you don’t need. Who would want to take on more than you’re already dealing with?
But, as a woman who has embraced all that comes with a man in a lifetime relationship, I am here to say that all those extra needs and wants don’t have to be “baggage.”
The burdens of life become, well, less burdensome when you have someone to carry them with you. For example, moving out of your house is a terrible job to do alone. But imagine how the mood changes when you invite a few friends to help. It’s not a struggle any more, it’s a party. You laugh as you struggle to squeeze that sofa through the doorway. Alone, you might have sat down and cried when you blocked your own exit with an armoire, but together, you make light of the difficulties.
Relationships are no different. Carrying your own burdens alone is tough. But when you have someone to help you, even though they are bringing their own weights with them, it’s no longer a struggle. It’s a joy.
You know, when I listened to The Gator that day, I realized that country music honestly wasn’t that bad after all. But more importantly, I gave it a chance because my husband liked it. It wasn’t about changing my opinion to conform to his. It was about giving thought to something because it was important to him.
And each time Victor and I face a struggle in life, we know that we don’t have to face it alone. When only one of you is doing the heavy lifting, a relationship begins to break under the strain. But when two of you stand shoulder-to-shoulder, lifting together and walking in step, that burden gets lighter.