I know, I know, the Carly Rae Jepsen hit from this summer is So. Darned. Catchy! So, YOU’RE WELCOME for getting it stuck in your head.
But have you ever really listened to those lyrics you find yourself repeating in the shower? Besides the fact that saying, “Call me . . . maybe,” and getting all worked up because he doesn’t call is dumb, the tag at the end is a little confusing (not to mention grammatically incorrect, but we’ll let that slide just this once).
“Before you came into my life I missed you so bad.”
Ummm . . . what?
How can you miss someone you’ve never met? Apparently this can be done, because it comes up in lots of songs and even the always accurate-in-portraying-real-life romantic comedies.
From Reba McEntire and Rascal Flatts to Lenny Kravitz and K-Ci & Jo-Jo (yes, I did look up the correct spelling and punctuation for that group), singers have been crooning about this convoluted idea of destiny and determination for years. Here are a just a couple recent examples:
- “Wherever you are, whenever it’s right, you’ll come out of nowhere and into my life . . . And I promise you, kid, I give so much more than I get I just haven’t met you yet.” – Michael Buble
- “Where have you been, cause I never see you out. Are you hiding from me, yeah? Somewhere in the crowd? Where have you been, all my life?” – Rhianna
And then there are the movies. I will concede that the basic premise of The Wedding Date with Debra Messing and Dermot Mulroney is heinous. But I will not deny watching it anytime it’s on cable, no, I won’t. And before I thought about it, hearing these words from the main character’s mouth seemed oh-so-dreamy: “I think I’d miss you even if we never met.”
I even found an appearance of this craziness on several “top romantic movie quotes” lists. (Yes, I know. The things I do for you. Oh, the sacrifice. Heh.) Apparently, in A Place in the Sun, Montgomery Clift’s character says to Elizabeth Taylor’s character, “I love you. I’ve loved you since the first moment I saw you. I guess maybe I’ve even loved you before I saw you.”
Now, look, I am not some hardened, embittered soul who scoffs at the idea of romance. If you’re new here, a quick perusal of my archives will reveal my extensive and unashamed love of the romantic comedy, TV shows ripe with romantic tension and even romance novels.
But come on. What are we doing to ourselves by swooning to the tune of, “I knew I loved you before I met you. I think I dreamed you into life.” Note to Savage Garden: You cannot dream someone into life!
If only we could. But we can’t. And by perpetuating this idea that the person we love is the embodiment of every dream or fantasy we had, we are simply setting ourselves up for deep disappointment.
It’s been a long time since I fell in love with my husband, but I [vaguely] remember how exciting it was. In the beginning of our relationship, it really did seem like he’d stepped out of my teenage fantasies, perfectly designed to fulfill all of my romantic wishes.
Your guy might seem like the one you’ve dreamed of . . . until he forgets your birthday. Or shows up late for your date. Or accidentally offends your mom. Or wears khakis that are just too tight. Or tells you he hates your favorite band. Or refuses to see one more chick flick. Or admits that he knows all the words to every New Kids on the Block song. Or watches football all weekend, ignoring your pleas for conversation – or bathing.
None of those things is really a deal-breaker, but when held up to the impossible picture of Your Dream Man, the discrepancy is harsh. And it can torpedo a perfectly healthy relationship in no time at all.
As many of you know, I love reading all kinds of books, including serious, grown-up books. And that’s why I’m not [too] embarrassed to tell you that I particularly enjoyed a series of romance novels a few years ago about a romance novelist and two of her characters who somehow came to life. Yes, it’s a ridiculous premise, but I found it wildly entertaining.
The issue causing tension in the book wasn’t actually how the main character had to keep her fiction-come-to-life friends a secret or how the three of them solved murder mysteries (I know.). It was how, in real life, all the qualities that had made the leading man an ideal romantic hero were actually quite annoying.
See, that’s the thing. We don’t dream about real people. And the people we dream of are probably not all that great in reality. So let’s quit singing about how we’ve been dreaming our honeys into life (gag.) and, more importantly, let’s stop comparing our significant others to our dreams.
No, I mean it. Let’s stop it. Right now. All together. I’ll go first.
My husband has never written me a love song or poem. But the man of my dreams never collected inside jokes with me over the years, tickled our daughter until she couldn’t talk through the giggles, or made my heart skip just by winking at me 18 years after I met him.
Now it’s your turn. Your significant other probably doesn’t live up to your dreams in some ways, but what does he or she do that is WAY BETTER than anything you could have dreamed?
This post is part of 31 Days of Giving Up on Perfect, because seriously, nobody – our significant others or ourselves – are perfect. All month long, I’ll be working through a whole lot of ways I’m fighting perfectionism. For more 31 Days, visit The Nester.
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My husband is completely unromantic. He’s not great at gift giving and doesn’t plan romantic dates for special occasions, however, he is the kindest man I’ve ever met. He totally goes along with my crazy dreams and ideas. He has a heart for orphans and when we went to Ukraine to adopt our daughter, we came home with 2 girls (and he wasn’t even phased by it). Last year, he readily agreed to have a young Afghan refugee whom we had never met move in with us (with about 24 hours notice) because she needed a family. And right now we’re in the process of adopting 2 more girls from Jamaica.
Would I like a little more romance? Sure, who wouldn’t….but I’d much rather have an amazing man who loves God, loves me, and loves our family! I am truly blessed!
Brings me Reese’s cups and laughs with me when our kids are funny LIKE NO ONE ELSE. I LOVE that!
I loved this! Not only do I have two young daughters (who are really a bit too young to really take in all the wisdom in this post) but I’m blessed with nieces who are entering into the “ready for serious relationship/marriage” age who will be getting a link to this post ;). I could never have dreamed how much I would still enjoy spending time with my fella after 20 years. I think the biggest surprise is the absolute joy it brings me to make him laugh, you know, really get a good belly laugh out of him. And I know he feels the same way!
I really liked this post (and it made me chuckle) :) I am 37 and single. I love romantic comedies (You’ve Got Mail and While You Were Sleeping are two of my favorites) but I try not to watch them too much. It’s not hard for me to separate reality from “fantasy” BUT, it’s hard to keep my heart from going where it doesn’t need to go, from longing for something other than Jesus, from allowing my dreams to take over (and that right there is the real issue). So, I keep it to a minimum (even with my reading) and try to focus on becoming the person God wants me to be. And, trusting that I will, in time, if God brings one into my life, love wholeheartedly and completely and “real”.
On a side note, I know it’s a silly song, but it’s great for my running playlist and yes, it does get stuck in my head ;)
Ha! I just worked out to that song on my iPod–loudly!! It is catchy, but I totally see what you mean.
Here’s the great thing about having teenagers. When I talked to them about the meaning behind the song they said, “Mom, have you seen the video?” (Obviously not.) Then they told me that in the video the girl is totally crushing on this cute guy, hoping he will call her. At the end though, you know how the music just goes down on the last note?, it’s because it turns out that the guy she likes is gay. How’s that for a song-killer?? At least it made my girls take the song much less seriously.
hahahaha. Ok, now that the laugh is out of the way.
My husband is NOT spontaneous. He’s a scheduler and a planner and if it isn’t on the plan for Saturday, there will be no surprise rides through the country to look at the leaves, or going out for an ice cream. I’m the opposite – I love when a day turns out completely by surprise.
However, he knows me. When someone hurts my feelings, he knows it and he knows how to put it into context to heal my heart. When I get excited about something that stresses me out, he’s already played the scene through and has the words of reassurance I need to take things in stride. AND, when our daughters would do something ridiculous and I was sure that was their last lesson before they understood their silliness… he knew they had a couple more to go through and he wasn’t out of sorts … it was just part of their growing up. I really love that.
I’ve learned that every “flaw” is a strength in a different situation. He can be stubborn – but sometimes I need to know that no matter what, he’ll stubbornly be loyal to me and our kids. He isn’t spontaneous, but he always does what he says he’ll do and not get side tracked.
“He knows me” – that’s a big one, isn’t it? I love how you’re choosing to view his characteristics in a positive light!
Haha. I did know that about the video, because I saw someone mention it on Facebook. Definitely a perspective changer for us girls!
My hubby is wildly hilarious and optimistic. Sometimes it can grate on my nerves, when he jokes about everything, but honestly, it is one of the things I love the most about him. He isn’t afraid to laugh when things are really hard and there is nothing left to do but laugh. Thanks to him, our house is filled with a lot of laughter, and our kids are learning to enjoy life for what it is, and not what they wish it was.
Laughter and joy are very big deals. I love hearing how it’s a part of your family!
He puts gas in my car so I don’t have to do it. He has cleaned our floors so many more times than me. And he puts up with me and my craziness daily. All while laughing about it. Love him. :)
Yep. “Putting up with my crazy” is one of the most amazing things my husband does, too.
I don’t have a husband or significant other, but I thought I’d comment anyway on this great post. And….. where can I get the phone that’s pictured at the top of this post?!?!? LOVE it! :)
Isn’t that phone great?! I think the caption on Flickr actually said “I love my new phone”! Haha!
He puts gas in my tank, washes my van (with my 3 year old son, cutest thing ever) he takes over breakfast on the weekends, he misses the kids when they go to their aunt’s for sleep-overs (this still amazes me, since he was the guy who was never getting married or having kids), he pours me a cup of coffee when I’m supposed to be out of bad but just.cant.make.it.
I’ll have to finally listen to this song I guess. I’ve heard it’s really catchy.
He sounds great. :) Thank you for sharing, Sabrina!
My husband is not that great at gift giving. He also doesn’t get romance. He just doesn’t.
He sends me texts that say “mornin’ sweetie”
He takes a day off work to take care of me and the two kiddos when we all three had stomach flu at the same time (I would have run for the hills!)
but this is the most important one for me: He makes me instantly relax when he walks in the room. I can actually feel my shoulders relax slightly and I breathe easier just because I know that no matter what, he is going to take care of me. I know because he has shouldered the weight of my emotions, my struggles and my pain for the last 15 years. And he does it without asking for a thing in return. Then he kisses me in the middle of my forehead and says “love ya sweets”.
I’m more relaxed when my husband is around, too. That is huge and goes so far, doesn’t it?!
Love this post. My husband is not terribly romantic or spontaneous, etc. But he is so kind, sincere, etc. that it all balances out and I’ve learned to just let little things go because the big picture is so good. 14 years today and we’re still crazy happy. You’re quest to “give up on perfect” is both inspiring and relaxing. Thanks so much!
Happy 14th anniversary, Tonia!! Thank you for the encouragement to let those little things go. Great advice!
This is a great post. My husband was not my dream man at all, but I realized a year before I started dating him that my “dream man” was not good for me and I needed to let God show me what was. We were both going through very stressful periods in our life (me with illness and him with a PhD) while we were dating and engaged, so there was really no fantasy at all to our relationship. It was pretty “real” from the beginning, but one of the things I love about him is that we’re friends first and there was no anxiety about what if things don’t work out while we were dating. We were just there for each other and there was a comfort.
Sometimes I wish he shared my dreams or passions and a lot of times I wish he wasn’t in school, but there are so many things I love that I never expected. He went out of his way to decorate his apartment to make it feel like my home when we were married, he worked 16 hours a day for several months to raise money for an engagement ring that I never expected, and if I randomly comment on how beautiful something is he’ll go out of his way to surprise me with it later (he knows I’m a cheapskate and won’t spend on myself).
I love how you describe your relationship as being friends first. I think that makes a huge difference and helps us remember to offer each other grace. Thank you for sharing, Kim!
SUCH a great premise, Mary. My guy isn’t as emotionally plugged in as I might like, so sometimes I go too long feeling like I’m not understood. That’s hard for me. BUT he actually is great at making me feel heard when I shake his shoulders and say, “Hey, I really need you listen to me right now and try to get it!” Maybe it’s a guy thing. :)
Just spelling out exactly what we need DOES work so much better than waiting for them to just GET it, doesn’t it? If only I could remember that all the time!