My ex-husband and I used to say ”I love you but I don’t like you right now.”
We said that a lot.
If I could encapsulate the failure of our marriage into any sentence, it might be that one.
I have loved many people in my life, but I haven’t always liked them.
The same has been true for those who loved me but didn’t exactly like me, either.
Hell, I grew up in a family who loved me but certainly didn’t like me.
Now that I genuinely like and love the person I’m married to, I realize the importance (and rarity - at least in my life) of what it is to truly like, and be liked, by someone.
I talk a lot with women and couples about how imperative it is to ruthlessly protect one’s high regard for their partner. But what I realize I really mean is to ruthlessly protect one’s liking of their partner.
I like Ken. I like and appreciate everything about him. Even the stuff I don’t like and appreciate. And that liking is what supports and drives my respect for him. It makes me want to see him clearly. It has me really listen to him.
My love didn’t always have me do those things in my relationships. I have, without a doubt, loved people deeply without respecting them or what they had to say.
My love had me only hear what was convenient or would help me get a good ROI.
And most times, my love got in the way of me seeing them exactly as they were and were not.
For me, loving people is easy. I love plenty of people.
Liking them - genuinely liking them - however, is more challenging. Liking (or at least the ongoing kind, in marriage, friendships, business, etc) requires more effort. It requires more honesty, more communication, more skill, more vulnerability, more growth, more authenticity, and more courage.
It may even require totally different choices.
Recently, I’ve been in a new found inquiry into what it would take for me to like more, not just love.
What about you? Do you like your partner? Yourself? Your people? Your life?