Flaws and Relationships

This morning I was awakened by the sound of raindrops striking the rooftop of my motorhome. It was a very pleasant sound. Then I took a quick look at the clock. At 2:30 in the morning there are not too many sounds I would refer to as pleasant, but the pitter-patter of the rain comes close. I rolled over, closed my eyes, and allowed the soothing sound of the spring rain take me back into a deep slumber.

When I finally eased my aging body out of bed, four hours later, a thought came roaring through my mind. It seems that during that short time with my eyes closed my brain took a stroll through the small number of words I could remember of the book I am reading. A short passage took up quite a bit of space in that gray matter sloshing around between my ears.

Larry McMurtry published The Late Child in 1995 and allowed one of his minor characters to utter a statement from his deathbed, “We choose our lovers for their flaws,…. People would be bored shitless if they had to love only the good in someone they care about.”

I don’t know why that short passage was bouncing around in my mind, but as I drank my first cup of coffee of the morning I thought deeply about that statement. I don’t think I know anyone that has chosen their lovers based on flaws. Love is blind, and about the only thing it lets through that blindness is the good we wish to see in someone we love.

I’d say that we don’t consciously choose lovers based on flaws, but sub-consciously there’s no telling what we might be basing our choices on. If, by some unknown criteria, we are selecting mates (whether short term or longterm) based on their flaws it’s no wonder relationships don’t last. We’ve overlooked their flaws and expect only perfection from those we love. It’s only after we’ve been exposed to the good and bad in someone for any length of time that we are able to judge the level of acceptance we are comfortable with.

As I was pouring my second cup of coffee another idea came to me. I believe we’re too judgmental in our relationships. We begin to see fault with those we are close to, but remain ignorant or our own faults. What we should be doing is realizing that everyone, especially oneself, has faults. No one is perfect. Perfection would be boring. It’s the differences, and the flaws, we each have that make life interesting.

Whether we choose our lovers based on their flaws, or do not recognize their flaws during the beginning stages of a relationship, this is something that is beyond my thought patterns. I just know that McMurtry’s character has left me with thoughts of change—change to myself that will allow me to more easily know, and accept, the flaws in those around me. I do know that when it comes to love, that in order to be happy we must accept the entire being, and not just the good in the being.

It might not be flaws at all that we must consider, but the differences in individuals that make relationships interesting. Who’s to say what a flaw in a person is anyway. It may only be a characteristic that is different from our own that we are labeling as a flaw. Differences in individuals, whether those differences are thought of as flaws or not, or what we are defining as a flaw, is what makes this world so interesting, and interesting is good.