“I’m selfish, impatient, and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control, and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.” –Marilyn Monroe
This quote, from one of our culture’s most beloved feminine icons, makes the rounds on my social media from time to time. On the surface it sounds strong, confident, and wise. But when I ponder it’s implications and make it personal, it leaves me unsettled.
Why would I want my worst self to be so active that those who love me need to learn how to ‘handle’ it? And why should I only gift my best self to others if they prove themselves by dealing with me when I’m being rude or abusive? It’s kind of sad, really.
Today is my 21st wedding anniversary. My husband is clueless as to how to handle me at my worst and for that I am grateful. I’m thankful because it shows that my worst is a rarity, an embarrassing lapse in character, something he’s not overly familiar with. Because I love him, I desire for my best self to be the default setting of my day to day living.
Last Valentine’s day my husband wrote this to me:
“It has been through my failures that I have come to know your true beauty.”
I get it. When I do act selfishly and impatient, when I blow it and am out of control, when my insecurities become a yawning void no man can fill, he is forgiving. He treats me with kindness when I’m being a turd because he knows that’s not really who I am. It’s not how he sees me. And his graciousness makes me love him all the more, not because he’s somehow earned it, but because it shows the beauty of his character.
The hardest thing to learn in this marriage has been that love is not about me. It’s not about how I feel, or about what I get out of it. It’s about what I can do for the man I love; it’s about what sort of person I can become.
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. (1 Corinthinans 13:4-7, NLT)
Happy Anniversary, my Love. Thank you for all that you continue to teach me about love and life, for being gracious when I am less than loving, and for making my happily ever after so danged much fun! I’d marry you again and again if I could. A lifetime will never be enough time with you. With all that I am, and with all that I have, I honor you.