Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you thought you knew someone only to discover a new facet of them that puts an entire new face on the person you have known for years?
Last night, my husband of 33 years showed me a new dimension to his character. More to the point, when I paused my overwhelming big personality long enough to give him space, I was able to take in what has long been an interest of my partner, and was struck and impressed by the depth of his passion…for music.
I’ve assumed that for the last few years, he’s been dabbling in music, listening in the evenings to his favourite artists like Nora Jones and Adele and music samples on YouTube, when in reality, he was pursuing specific music genres and artists with an exacting interest and deepening his passion and education in music.
I am humbled by the way he was excited to share the music of an artist he had been following for years. A Canadian artist no less…Jesse Cook, a Toronto-born guitarist that delivers a unique fusion of Flamenco guitar with hints of Arabic, Celtic and other influences.
The excitement with which he summarised the artist’s evolution, selecting tracks to illustrate his commentary, left me speechless in appreciation. In those moments, I saw another side to the man I have loved, and often taken for granted, for more than 35 years.
Can love grow? Absolutely. How is it possible that in that moment, I loved him more? Because, it impressed me that he was pursuing his interests quietly, without pulling me in the way I drag him into my latest passions everytime. It reminded me that recently he was also showing me his pleasure in gardening, tending to his plants and in cooking, finding new ways to improve his already infamous stews and chilis, making bread, making ice cream and even pretzel.
To be clear, he was doing it without needing any validation or endorsement on my behalf. He just set his sights on his project, and went for it. You have to understand that in our household I typically “ announce” my latest project, explaining why it’s the most passionate thing I have ever embarked on, and take up ALL the space, while I do it. In contrast, my husband just goes about his business, experiencing a discreet joy from his accomplishment and fulfillment.
But last night, in our downsized apartment, it was as if my husband finally decided that there was enough room for him to take his place.
I love that he has interests that are separate to mine. It’s as if it liberates me. I feel less responsible for his happiness and his accomplishments. As it should be.
We are individuals..even when married or united in “coupledom”, with interests that are unique to us as a person. We chose to live in pairs because of similarities and common interests, but let’s not lose sight of our individuality..that which makes us unique.
So, if you like to dance, but your partner doesn’t, then go out and find a dance partner. Find a travel partner if that’s what you need, but as my husband…12 years my senior always said “ it doesn’t matter where you get your appetite…just come and eat at home!”
That’s the point..encourage each other to thrive and grow and be the best of yourselves. If you are in a committed relationship, then honour that commitment, but Bravo! If you have separate interests and activities, that allows you the opportunity to impress your partner every once in a while.