…As Much As You Love Your Child?
I married a man that I think is perfect – for me. As you can imagine I’m not the easiest woman to live with. God, I’m not even the easiest woman to hold a conversation with. In fact I’m a mood-swinging, gobby, temperamental, emotional firecracker. Some have referred to me as a little Pocket Rocket, but most would agree I’m just a veritable pain in the arse. And guess what? So is my husband. Which is great because it means we have met our match. We’re both prize dicks. Hurray!
Let me tell you all the reasons why I love my husband. Ha, not really, I hate it when people do that. It’s so nauseating… no one actually cares why you love someone. They are just happy you are with them and that you’ve stopped moaning about the fact that there are no good people left in the world. So I’ll keep the details to myself.
In short, my husband and I are good together. We have our ups and downs and shout and shag, but mainly we just plod along living life. Like most couples. We also disagree a lot – except about two things.
1. We agree that (most days) we love each other
2. We agree that our love for one another in NOT unconditional
The phrase Unconditional Love between couples is bandied about a lot… which I find very strange, given that it is something that doesn’t really exist. That’s right. Love does have conditions.
Let me clarify. Describing your love for someone as ‘unconditional’ is as romantic as it gets. It’s saying that no matter what they do, whatever they do, you will love them. In a theatrical Romeo and Juliet style you will lie for them, cry for them and even die for them (weren’t they lyrics to a Bryan Adams song?).
Clearly that’s so much more poetic than proclaiming your undying love for your sweetheart and then producing a list of get-out clauses along with the diamond ring. Even at the altar we say all the reasons why we will stick with someone; through sickness and in health, richer or poorer, til death do us part blah blah blah. But not the exceptions.
It’s all so sweet.
It’s all such bullshit.
Being that devoted to your other half is Bunny Boiling territory, or it’s being a doormat. It’s not normal… it’s scary.
There are a million things that could alter the love I have for my husband and stop me sticking around. In fact my fellow housemate The Duchess touched upon this point in her article about Marriage Without Sex. She’s much nicer than me though and she said, in her Dolly Parton way, that she would stand by her man through thick and thin. Yep, even if he couldn’t get it up any more. She would live a life of sexless nights with her husband because she loves him.
Well I would not.
Call me shallow and mean and nasty but I don’t care – I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t stay with him if he got morbidly obese either, or committed a horrific crime, shagged his secretary, beat the cat up or started having fantasies about Justin Bieber.
Honestly, there are at least a further one hundred things he could do that would jeopardise our relationship. And I’m sure the same would go for him. If I got a tattoo on my forehead and moved my 19 year old cross-dressing lover into our home, would he be expected to hang about? Well that bit wasn’t mentioned in our marriage vows either, but I wouldn’t hold it against him if he packed up and buggered off.
But my children. Now they are a different matter.
Let me tell you about the love a woman feels for her kids. Because unlike choosing a husband, your love for your offspring has fuck all to do with common sense, morals or choice.
I didn’t choose my children (and they didn’t choose me as a mum, had they had a choice the poor things would probably have chosen a mother that baked more and shouted less). My girls were what nature decided to give me and from the moment my little plastic wee stick turned blue I had a love so ferocious for that tiny bundle of cells that I was ready to kill for my bump. It’s quite scary actually, that natural instinct in a woman when you first feel that true pure unadulterated love.
Having a child is like turning yourself inside out and wearing your soul on the outside. It’s waving your heart goodbye at the school gates every morning and kissing the forehead of your very world every night.
The love a parent feels for their kids is – or at least should be – unconditional. It’s ingrained in us all. I guess the human race wouldn’t have survived as long as it has if we mothers (and most fathers) didn’t have that acute chemical reaction that we have to stand by our kids regardless of what they have done and what they are like. Even if we wish that wasn’t the case.
My God how it hurts when your children tell you that they hate you, or they disappoint you (no child will ever understand how they are your walking talking reason for living), but without that natural urge to protect them at any cost you can’t really call yourself a parent.
I can’t think of one single thing my kids could do to me or say to me that would make me walk away from them forever. Whatever they did I would make excuses for them, defend them, protect them, lie to myself that they don’t mean it… all things I would never say or do for anyone else… because they are my girls. My blood. My soul.
Immoral and stupid, but true.
I was talking to a friend the other day who said that she always puts her husband first. His needs go before hers and her children’s. Because in her mind, without him, she and they have nothing. She relies on him to provide her with the life she has, so she keeps him happy, to keep them all happy. I don’t understand that – in fact that very thought petrifies me. There’s something so very inhibiting and claustrophobic about needing your man.
Yes, I need my children in my life. I wouldn’t be able to breathe if they weren’t part of it. But not my husband. We don’t need each other – we simply want each other. Big difference. Every day that we spend together is a choice. He is free to live his life and I am free to live mine, our lives are not co-dependent, we both know and respect the fact that we’d survive perfectly well apart. And I truly believe it’s that lack of restraint and freedom of choice that makes us so strong as a couple.
So do I love my husband as much as my children? No. Never.
And does he love me more than them? Of course not. And that’s exactly how it should be, because our love for one another has conditions.
But will I always love my children unconditionally? Definitely. And yes, even if they became Bieber fans.