by MW Cook

     Yesterday, a jillion people uttered the words, “I love you.”

     I think that’s nice. Good for you, jillion people.

     I’ve heard it said that those three words are the nicest words anyone can hear. But I think there are two better ones.

     “I understand.”

     I get you. I see where you’re coming from. I can see how that makes sense. I respect that.

     Me and my wife, believe it or not, disagree on stuff. And not just little stuff like who should pick the kid up from school. Large, world-view kinda stuff. Stuff that would get one or both of us kicked out of certain clubs and circles. I was once warned that these sorts of disagreements would lead to marital problems.

But as love covers a multitude of sins,
So also does understanding cover a multitude of opinions.

     I never ask Ruth to see things the way I do. That would be ridiculous and evil. All I ask is that she understand. And she does. Readily. Quickly. With a smile and a funny quip. And I understand her. We see where each other is coming from, even when we’re not coming from the same place.

     And I think that’s one of the main reasons why our relationship is so good. People are always tempted to base their love on something.

     “Why do you love me?”
     “Because you’re clever.”
     “Because you make me laugh.”
     “Because you’re nice.”
     “Because my body wants your body.”
     “Because you think like I do.”

     Why do we love each other? None of the above. No reason. At least, none that I can think of.

     Sure, Ruth is clever and she makes me laugh and she’s nice and my body certainly wants her body. But if all those things were gone, the love would still be there. The love just is. So I’m not threatened when her mind and conscience take her to a different place than my mind and conscience take me. When we are in different place, we find that we can still hold hands despite the distance. We respect each other’s minds and don’t judge each other.

     Someone once asked, “But what will you teach your kids if you disagree on so many things?”

     Silly, haven’t you been listening? We will teach them love and understanding. Everything else is optional.