A YouTube video changed my life. One little video, a video lasting less than six minutes completely altered the way I look at the world – so much so that I believe it’s the reason I am married right now.
I have shared it with more friends than I can count. I have ended so many chats with, “There’s this video you should watch…” And so many friends have then told me that it was gold, it was just what they needed to hear, that they went on to share it with others.
And now, I share it with you. Because, while it has over 350,000 views on YouTube, I am quite certain that there are more couples out there that could benefit from this little nugget of wisdom ravioli.
I don’t remember how I stumbled upon it but at the time when I first watched it, I was trying to figure out how I was going to get Jeremy to…well…change.
In the video, Dan Savage is speaking somewhere, answering questions from the audience when a question launches him into a lecture on the “Price of Admission.” According to Savage, the sex wiz behind the advice column, Savage Love, your partner’s flaws are the price you must pay to ride that ride. Jeremy is super fun. I was having a blast with him. And I really loved the life we had together. But, there were these things about him that…well, you know.
And then I heard Dan Savage say,
There is no long term relationship without, not just putting up with your partner’s flaws, but accepting them and then pretending they aren’t there.
Yep. If I wanted to continue to ride the Jeremy ride, I’d have to pay the “Price of Admission.” Meaning, I’d have to look the other way when when faced with dirty dishes everywhere or the white dress shoes he insisted on wearing to any upscale event. He wasn’t going to change. All those things were part of the package.
I watched that YouTube video and then moved forward with a different attitude.
Savage says that in order to make a relationship work we have to pretend that our partner is the “idealized self” they presented to us while we were courting. And in return, they do the same for us. Our best self is our “lie self.” He says,
I pretend everyday that my boyfriend is the lie that I met when I first met him. And he does the same favor to me. He pretends I’m a better person than I actually am…And we then are obligated to live up to the lies that we told each other about who we are. We are then forced to be better people than we actually are.
THAT is the magic chocolate pudding that makes relationships work.
I believe it saved my relationship and led me to a place where I could become someone’s partner for life. And that’s pretty great. Nope, I take that back. It’s all kinds of awesome. But the magic didn’t stop there. I continue to learn from this little piece of marvelous again and again.
Case in point: when I was pregnant Jeremy doted on me. But I thought it was some primal thing, like he needed to ensure that his offspring survived. Whatever. It will be different after the baby is born, I thought.
I imagined that once the baby was born I would have to work really hard to get him to make googly eyes at me again. I’d have to wear make-up even when I had no intention of going out of the house. I’d need to lose the baby weight lickety split. And I’d have to work really hard to be interesting and engaging even though my brain was sleep deprived soggy toast.
I didn’t think he would stop loving me. I just thought that our relationship would change; we would go from being lovers to being Team Baby – an asexual force, focused on all things baby, most importantly, keeping baby alive.
In reality, he loves me even more now than before. He adores me. I know because I feel it. His eyes get googly all the time. He flirts and tickles me and says things like, “Let’s make another baby.”
In the beginning we work hard to hide our flaws because we fear that once our partners see them, they’ll love us a little less. We think that our flaws will suddenly eclipse all of our sparkle. But that’s not it at all. At least, that’s not how it works in long-term relationships. They see them, accept them, and then keep on believing that we are our “lie selves” (with or without a baby added to the mix).
When I overlook the flaws and see the funny, generous, dynamic guy I fell in love with, then I can be the sweet, charming, sassy gal he fell in love with. And when I’m that person, he’s even more funny, generous, and dynamic. It’s a cycle that feeds itself for the better.
What that looks like in our house is Jeremy being silly and pinching my tush while we’re getting ready in the morning and I forget about the fact that he didn’t ______________ (fill in the blank). And when I forget about it then I can make up a silly song about his tush, kiss him on the back of the neck while he’s making coffee, and listen in earnest when he wants to check in with me about something.
This is how we make it work. Magic chocolate pudding.
He still leaves dishes everywhere. And he still wears those crazy white shoes to every formal event. But we’re both busy making our lie selves come true. So, I accept those things. And in return he accepts me.
I bet you wanna watch that video. Well, here it is, in all its awesomeness. Enjoy! And let me know what you think in the comment section below.
*Both photos in this post were taken by the lovely Jordan & Chris of Next to Me Studios.
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