I was reading the preview of Elizabeth Gilbert's new book in O magazine. In the excerpt of the book, she talks about committing to other people and how scary it is. None of us are perfect. She had been through one divorce and didn't want to get married a second time, but through a series of circumstances she makes peace with marriage and decides to try it again. For those of you who have read Eat, Pray, Love, she marries Felipe who she met at the end of the book.
Before the big day, she decides to write a "prenuptial informed consent release" where she lists her five worst character flaws. That way her fiancee walks into the marriage with his eyes wide open knowing exactly what he is getting. I found the five to be fascinating reading. They are:
1. I think very highly of my own opinion. I generally believe that I know best how everyone in the world should be living their lives--and you, most of all will be the victim of this.
2. I require an amount of devotional attention that would have made Marie Antoinette blush.
3. I have far more enthusiasm in life than I have actual energy. In my excitement, I routinely take on more that I can physically or emotionally handle, which causes me to break down in quite predictable displays of dramatic exhaustion. You will be the one burdened with the job of mopping me up every time I've overextended myself and then fallen apart. This will be unbelievably tedious. I apologize in advance.
4. I am openly prideful, secretly judgmental, and cowardly in conflict. All these things collude at times and turn me into a big, fat liar.
5. My most dishonorable fault of all: Though it takes me a long while to get to this point, the moment I have decided that somebody is unforgivable, that person will very likely remain unforgiven for life--all too often cut off forever, without fair warning, explanation or another chance.
I agree with Elizabeth that marriage is about loving each other despite our flaws. I couldn't read her list, however, without thinking about what my flaws were. After so many years of positive affirmations and focusing on the positive, I became gleeful at the prospect.
Take a deep breath. Here goes:
1. I like to talk and will talk more loudly and often than necessary. I love to interrupt others when they are talking and do so often and without apology. I am not the best listener.
2. When dealing with conflict, I don't know the meaning of the word "tact". I like to dig right in and be very direct about how I see the situation--no holds barred. I do not like the idea of you "taking space for a while". I want to "strike while the iron is hot" and hash it out until we have dealt with every last issue.
3. I tend to repeat myself. I will say things more than once and not realize I am doing so. I want to warn you that this may drive you crazy
5. I ask for help before I have thoroughly tried to figure something out for myself. That could be not taking the time to look for something in the kitchen or figure out how the computer works or a myriad of other things. When I ask for help, I don't bother to go to where you are. Instead, I yell into the other room and hope you will hear me and come to where I am.
Wow. That was so much fun!! I thought of way more than five. It was hard to narrow it down. The easiest way for me to think of my flaws was to remember what my kids have told me. They are experts at pointing them out and have no hesitation about doing so.
Thank you Michael for sticking with me for 26 years and loving me in spite of it all. You are the best.