I watched parts of an episode of According to Jim wherein it was Jim’s birthday and Cheryl (the wife) managed to coerce their children to giving Jim gifts that she wants him to get. Jim ended up with a hand moisturizer (from son Kyle), a tacky, sleeveless golf vest (from daughters Rubie and Gracie) and a professional painting set from Cheryl. There is only one problem, Jim hated all of it but was pretending that he does like the gifts to avoid further discussion.

The plot thickens at bed time when Jim entered their bedroom and saw Cheryl assembling the painting kit. A confrontation ensues wherein Jim blurted out his feelings about the gifts. He said that Cheryl was doing it every year. Cheryl defended that she always put a lot of thought in those gifts but Jim countered that she was giving him gifts that Jacque, Cheryl’s imaginary ideal alter-ego of his husband, would want. She was giving him these gifts hoping that they will change him, and he doesn’t like it.

The following day, Kyle approached his dad and said that the gift was his mom’s idea and gave him his real gift. It was a long crooked stick with blue ribbons. Cheryl saw it and proceeded to take it to throw it away but Jim said that he likes it because it is a gift from his son who loves and idolizes him for who he is. The next few scenes show Jim flaunting the gift to Cheryl’s chagrin by using it in almost every mundane task. Fast forward in the end and through a couple of comic innuendos, Cheryl came into the realization of Jim’s message and traded the painting set for a large, flat rock with the word “Acceptance” painted at the bottom. Jim found a perfect use for it: crushing nuts.

This is what I love about sitcoms, they present little truths in an exaggerated comical package but if you think about it they are showing the lessons to be gathered from everyday happenings. How many marriages would be saved if both man and wife would begin accepting each other, with all their faults and weaknesses?

I read somewhere that love is not about being able to appreciate your partner’s strengths but rather how you could complement their weaknesses. Marriage is not about becoming one person, but rather growing as two persons who agree on most topics, and tolerate each other on the topics that they disagree on.

Change is inevitable but change does not have to be sudden. Sudden change rarely brings favorable results. Ice age was a sudden change and read about what it did to most species on this planet. The same can be said for trying to suddenly change your partner to bend to your will. The saying from Robert Henlein comes into mind “Never try to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and it annoys the pig.” For change to become permanent it must come at a glacial pace. This way the person changing grows accustomed to it, or likes it subconsciously. I am not encouraging people to resort to using subterfuge on their partners to instigate change because that only works until your partner finds out that you were manipulating them and nobody wants to wake up with the realization that their happy moments were nothing but an intricate scheme. The person must want the change either consciously or otherwise.

Food for thought, why would you even want to change your partner? Weren’t they already like that when you began liking them? What do you expect to gain from getting your partner to mirror your likes and dislikes, share your whims and fancy? I hear couples saying that they are perfect with each other since they share so many things in common. They like the same food, music, hobbies, etc. They even share the same taste in fashion and have the same circle of friends. Wow, the only type of people that I know who have the same kind of view are the narcissistic ones. Were you really looking for a mirror image when you were looking for somebody to love? Homogeny eventually leads to monotony. Imagine eating the same food every day, doing the same routine everyday, and talking about the same thing everyday. If you think that is perfect then either you have a very simplistic outlook in life, or a pretty bad liar.

I am blessed in this respect that my wife, Neth, was almost my exact opposite. We have very little in common in terms of what we like in things, in our outlook in life. We were classmates in high school so we have some common friends (some whom we are still in communication with). We went to different schools in college. In the end, fate (with a little help from our common high school friends) led us to each other again and we have been together ever since.

As what is typical in new relationships we strived to make our relationship work. Looking back I can say that even when we were just starting to know each other, we were already changing without us knowing. But this is the kind wherein we were adjusting to each other’s eccentricity, she more than me. We got to know each other, reveling in each little discovery. Marveling in what new thing we would find out about each other, and about ourselves. We spent six years doing that until we decided to get married.

It has been more than three years living as husband and wife, and we are still discovering new things about ourselves. Some are changes that were long in the making. The discoveries are now far in between as we have become familiar with each other’s moods. The little things that we found cute or adorable sometimes become things that drive us nuts. That’s alright in my book as I know that after those spells we will come back to the reality that we love each other. That is called acceptance, not of the inevitable and hopeless but the fact that we are two lucky persons who happened to have found love, marriage and lasting happiness. I think my wife is still trying to change me in some ways that drives me insane but I can live with that as I have accepted that part of my wife. The friendster testimonial I gave her a few years ago still stands:

How do I describe her? I will surely
fail but I will definitely try…

She is the reason why I see the world in
a whole different light. She provides
the contrast of my life; she is my
strength and my weakness; the person who
can send chills down my spine but
radiate warmth during my trying times;
she can make me laugh and shed tears
like nobody else could. My best friend
and confidante. Simply put, my better
half, my passion-embraced. She is my
little spitfire. Her diminutive frame
belies her strong grip on my heart. I
feel so lucky to be blessed by such a woman.

I love you my labsc. I am looking
forward to living the rest of my life
with you.