For Better or Worse . . .

by Fernando Perfas

Nature-loving couple at Knukles Moutain Range | Photo by Hemaka Pathiranage via Wikimedia Commons

I’m sitting in Minneapolis airport waiting for my gate to open, and on my lap are two boxes of chocolates I’m tending lovingly. I bought them for my wife at the last minute. My days in Pasadena went by so quickly while finishing a training project – there was hardly time for breakfast before hopping into a car that took me to work. By the end of the day, there was hardly any time for anything else. On my flight back to New York, I was pleased to find a store at the airport that carries the chocolate brand from the West Coast that she likes. I seldom disappoint her when she asks for something to bring home from my travels. I always make an effort to please her, even when I could make excuses.

“We both have our own ideas of ideal mates, and neither of us met each others’ standards. We are quite very different people and with diametrically opposite temperaments. The differences are gulfs with spans difficult to bridge.”

I’m not here to write about my wife’s weakness for chocolates. While musing on the boxes of chocolates on my lap, I thought of the years we’ve spent together and what brought us together for the first time. We both have our own ideas of ideal mates, and neither of us met each others’ standards. We are quite very different people and with diametrically opposite temperaments. The differences are gulfs with spans difficult to bridge. Consequently, our relationship had a tumultuous beginning, a clash of two souls with very different ideas of what makes either one happy. We are both proud and stubborn in our own ways, which did not bode well for any cooperative enterprise. For sure, we’ve been through some rough waters. There were uncertain times in the early years of building our home. Nonetheless, we somehow managed to find common grounds. I always wonder why we did not quit and give up on each other. It must have been fate.

Underneath the turmoil, something always makes us feel bound to each other, our lives entwined. The mutual intuition of our enmeshed fate tempered our individualistic proclivity. We learned to compromise and adjust our expectations with each other. Our differences evolved into an enriching contrast between styles and approaches to situations. Our conflicting priorities are only differences in perspective and timing. We found room to grow and influence each other, which allows us to spouse whichever position is more superior depending on the situation at hand. I know that we are still very different people whose core values might be fundamentally the same but have different ways of going about life and living. Our internal lives are different because we have different upbringing and discernment of this life and beyond.

“As we grow older, we have become less insecure about ourselves and our relationship. We are less inclined to compete with each other anymore; instead, we increasingly enjoy each other’s company. There is more give and take and tolerance for personal idiosyncrasies that used to bother each of us.”

As we grow older, we have become less insecure about ourselves and our relationship. We are less inclined to compete with each other anymore; instead, we increasingly enjoy each other’s company. There is more give and take and tolerance for personal idiosyncrasies that used to bother each of us. We curse and call names to each other in the heat of the moment, knowing that it’s merely blowing off steam and does not diminish the love that binds us. We can now laugh at those traits which define our unique individuality — quirks that sometimes I miss when my wife is not around for a few days. As our children leave home to strike their own path and establish themselves in life, we are now alone with just ourselves. These can be trying times to find out if there is anything left in that relationship to tide us over for the rest of our days.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR  Dr. Fernando B. Perfas is an addiction specialist who has written several books and articles on the subject. He currently provides training and consulting services to various government and non-government drug treatment agencies regarding drug treatment and prevention approaches. He can be reached at fbperfas@gmail.com.

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