Wednesday, December 01, 2010

wifercize wednesday: reacher & settler

We watched the How I Met Your Mother episode the other night that outlines the "Reacher and Settler" phenomenon in a relationship. 
Robin: "Every good relationship has a Reacher and a Settler."
Ted: "Exactly, one person reaches for someone out of their league, the other one settles for someone below theirs."
Which makes me think of the romantic banter that ruins single people's appetite the world over: I love you, I love you more, I love you more, no I love YOU more, etc.  Andrew and I, as in most things, are ferociously competitive in this area:


I had a date with my dad the other week (a tradition we began in my 20s and try to maintain despite busy schedules) and he recounted the tale of when he took Andrew out on the sailboat for a chat, mano a mano, when we first began dating.

Out in the middle of Lake Ontario, my Italian, I-don't-swim-very-well husband did a clever thing.  He told my dad, "To be honest, when I first met Sarah, I thought I didn't have a chance because she was out of my league."

Dad was satisfied, and scratched the plan to stage a capsizing.

"Leagues" aside, I figure the best partnerships are found where it is necessary for both parties to participate as Reacher and Settler, depending on their situation, season, or strengths.  Where both parties are convinced that they are loved the most.  Andrew had to reach for a good, long first year of our dating relationship while I wrestled my petty angst, and I reached for the next year while he worked out his independence.  

In the end, we both settled: for someone less than perfect, less than ideal, who wakes up with pillow scars, who is cranky when they're tired, and doesn't always communicate effectively.  We also settled on the one that neither of us could ever imagine living without.  We settled on the best.
Nearly all marriages, even happy ones, are mistakes: in the sense that almost certainly (in a more perfect world, or even with a little more care in this very imperfect one) both partners might be found more suitable mates. But the real soul-mate is the one you are actually married to.  (J.R.R. Tolkien)
It's easy to speculate about a relationship, even your own, and diagnose who Reached and who Settled.  I believe that there is love between every couple, whether demonstrative or subtle, and we may never know its nuances.  

As for me, I'm happy to leave the mystery unsolved.

"We're adrift on a sailboat
My love is the sea
Yours is the horizon
Constant and steady"
 (Brook Fraser, Sailboats)


Viara said...

Love that J.R.R. Tolkien quote!

What matters is what you've made for yourself, not what could have been :)

Andrew G said...

oh love, let’s be honest... we all know who was the reacher.


Andrew G said...

also, I would love someone to make fake definitions for these “word” verifications:

Galouss - Verb
“After a long day, Nick galoussed the uncooked turkey into a roasting pan.”
-To toss, carefully