Friday, March 18, 2011


This was on Twitter yesterday. It was consequently my quote of the day in my classroom:

We like someone because.
We love someone although.
~Henri de Montherlant

Of course that meant I had to spend all day answering questions about it. First were my seniors, who sort-of understood it, but thought that it was about how you would love someone although they are a convicted felon or they have a drug problem. (Which they of course thought was unwise.) They still live in the checkerboard of black and white--extremes only. I was happy to share that I thought there were plenty of greys that might make someone a little more challenging to love and might be worth the trouble.

None of my freshmen got it. They're still in the stage of relationships which says if you do something I don't like, we cannot ever speak again. I remember those days. E and I broke up our junior year of high school and spent a good six months pretending like the other didn't exist. We'd walk by each other and stare blankly. I hear the same thing from kids all the time: "she used to be my best friend." In my adult reality it hasn't been easy to suddenly drop people. Even people who have hurt me deeply or with whom I have had to change my relationship are mostly still in my life in some capacity.

Anyway, I'm getting off topic. All day as I've been explaining the quote I've been thinking about marriage and the many althoughs that exist between me and E. I remember right after we went to Retrouvaille that I thought there was something so different about knowing he would choose me--choose to love me--when he least felt it. While it's a dreamy thing to think that someone would be infatuated with you for the next fifty years, it's not very plausible. (I laugh sometimes when I see status updates on Facebook from my former students that are along the lines of if you're not head over heels with each other forever, it isn't worth it. I don't laugh to be mean, but it is interesting how life changes over time.) I know that when I make that choice to choose to love E although _______, it changes me. So does loving the rest of my family that way, as does making that kind of choice in my other close relationships.

Love although. At Retrouvaille I remember evaluating the commitment I felt to E in light of what I felt for say, (another different but strong family relationship with) my sister. She doesn't stop being my sister if we get mad at each other. E does not stop being my E if we get mad. Making that conscious choice strengthens the bond in a relationship. It sure applies in so many parts of my life too. I see it having the potential to be huge when my kids are teenagers. :)

Loving although takes the pressure off me to be perfect or to expect perfection in others. I am definitely of the "if it can't be perfect, why try" school, and that has the potential to ruin relationships. I have to fight against it. But knowing that I'm loved in spite of my less-than-awesome qualities means I can be my true self. I think it's easy, also, to say you love someone else in spite of how they can be sometimes. It's another thing altogether to realize that there are even a handful of people in the world who love you in spite of what you can be.

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