It’s easy to love your life partner. Years of sharing, spending time together, seeing them at their best and worst and raising children together will have that effect on most people.
But lately I’ve realised that not all couples who love each other like each other. My mother often told us when we were being horrible that she loved us, but she didn’t like us very much at that moment. It made us start behaving pretty damn quickly.
So the other day I was rather nonplussed when someone (a judgmental, mean someone) suggested that I don’t like my husband. You see, I’m impatient and loud and often come across a lot harsher than I mean to, but it had never bothered me. Until then.
The very next day, as if to illustrate the meanie’s point, we were drinking beer in my sister’s garden with Charles clowning around as usual, when both of my sisters suddenly ordered him, in perfect unison to “Shut UP Charles!” Guess where they got that from? Hell, even the intonation was a perfect imitation of how I say it.
Anyway, I panicked a bit and searched my soul and eventually confronted him about how he felt about being married to such a bitch.
He couldn’t have been more surprised if I had told him that I’m leaving him for Justin Bieber.
“Dude,” he said, “I’m often tempted to tell MYSELF to shut up. Your sisters were hilarious. So don’t be absurd, you moron, you’re not a bitch. And of COURSE you like me,” he said knowingly. “In fact, you ADORE me.”
He was so smug I had to stop myself from telling him to shut up again.
But then I realised my silly husband was completely right. I like him. I just do. He annoys me often and we fight enough, but there’s something intrinsic about him that I like. I like his politics, his body, the way he sounds and smells. I like talking to him and listening to him and looking at him. And all of these things aren’t because I love him. Trust me, I liked him loooong before I started loving him.
So while my mother’s line is very cool and very effective after a fight, I shouldn’t really use it because – and I hope he doesn’t read this – it’s simply not true.
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So there. I’ve confessed my soppy little secret. Now it’s your turn. Do you love or like your partner? Or both? Or neither? Or does it vary? Don’t be afraid to let the claws out, ladies. Tell us your story in the box below.