I was reading a great book by Barbara Delinsky this weekend, not my usual sort, much too chick-lit compared to what I tend to read, but it was well-written and she does have a strong grasp of character development so I kept reading well into the night. On Sunday, as we enjoyed the delight of reading in bed till an ungodly hour, I came across a section where there was multiple cheating going on and it turned into this interesting discussion with my husband about love and cheating and what exactly makes a person decide to cheat? What possesses someone in a good relationship to put themselves in a position where they are vulnerable? Because I don’t think it’s always about a bad relationship. Sometimes it’s just a low point in a good one, and if you go for that drink with a colleague of the opposite sex, or have a late dinner, and it’s under the guise of “work,” does that become the time when you see someone in a new light?
I know that we all get used to our partner. You come home and change into the comfy clothes, not the well-tailored options you wore to work. Your makeup is off, your tie is undone, you shake out the hair and all of a sudden you’re ordinary. That’s what we see every day. That’s what we trust. That’s who we trust. The person without the artifice, the person who allows us to be who we are, who we don’t have to dress up for because they’ve seen us in our finery and they know we can look damn good when we need to. The militant right of homemakers feel that we should put the same effort into our non-work lives as we do during the day but for me, that’s just another kind of artifice. If you have to “look your best” when you’re tired and worn from work, then you’re still putting on the false face you might have used when you were first dating. It’s the years of experience that tell us that this is a person we love, who looks as beautiful to us in their jammies and makeup-free as they do in their lace cocktail dress. I know that I find my husband endearing in his cargo shorts and favorite tee. Do I wish he’d wear a different tee more often? Sure I do. But I don’t expect him to wear a dress shirt and pants to dinner at home. I know how the change in clothes signals a change in how he feels, and that a lot of that has to do with my acceptance of him. Now we’re not talking sitting around in your underwear, either.
Still, I’m missing the point. Reading these books and watching the stars in Hollywood shift allegiances every second week, I am convinced that it’s easy to find love, or an approximation of it. What is difficult to find is trust. And that, my friends in their softest tees, is why we don’t worry when we’re in the kind of relationship that is more difficult to find and more compelling to keep than any other kind of relationship in this world. Because trust is the Holy Grail in relationships, and finding it is rare and precious. Tomorrow, I celebrate the glory of trust with my husband as we look back on another wonderful year of marriage. This, in all its ordinariness, is love.