Last night I had a movie night with a good friend. We went the chick flick route and wound up the evening with Emma with Gwyneth Paltrow. I must admit that Mr. Knightley’s proposal is one of my favorites. I love that he recognizes that he, his love, and their future life together are not without flaw. In particular, I love that he tells Emma that it is their combination of imperfections that make them perfect for one another.
My father had another way of putting it. He used to tell people that my brother the alpaca rancher and his lady had ‘saved two perfectly normal people.’ I’m pretty sure he said the same thing about me and Mr. Twistie. What’s more, I’ll actually agree with him. Mr. Twistie and I are both somewhat acquired tastes, for those among you who know your Gilbert and Sullivan.
I find my reaction to these facts kind of amusing in light of an article I read yesterday that discussed an article set to be published in the July issue of the journal Psychological Science. It seems that psychologist Daniel Molden of Northwestern University did a study on romantic couples and their perceptions of one another to see how that would affect the strength of the relationships.
To that end, Molden and his colleagues asked 92 dating couples and 77 married couples to answer a questionnaire on their relationship satisfaction and how (if applicable) marriage had changed the relationship.
The curious thing that Molden found in the results was that while supportive attitude, helpfulness, etc. were all listed as strengthening the relationship, what mattered most wasn’t that these attributes were there, but rather that they were perceived to be there, without regard to whether the perception could be backed up by facts.
I don’t know about any of you, but I have to say that I hope my love is clearer-eyed than that. Yes, I see Mr. Twistie as supportive…but I can point to many times when he’s been openly and specifically supportive. I can also point to a couple rare instances where his failure to support me in something has made me madder than a wet hen. He can point to specific times when he’s needed support and I’ve absolutely had his back both in word and deed. And I’m sure he can point out a few times when I’ve entirely bailed on the support thing, much to his dismay.
I like knowing that Mr. Twistie isn’t perfect. I like that he knows I’m not perfect, either. I truly love the fact that we can be imperfect together in (nearly) perfect harmony.
If nothing else, I doubt there are very few scales left to fall from either set of eyes. The fact that when the scales are gone we both still delight in what we see is what makes me feel certain that we are indeed partnered for life.
All in all, I’d rather have that certainty than an illusion.