Have you ever tried to make one instrument sound like a different one? If you play instruments, you know that certain instruments are used for certain things. The cool part about this question is that you can answer it without any experience playing. Sure, maybe some instruments can sound like another, but they can’t fulfill the same purpose as the one they actually are. As a married man I am guilty of trying to make my wife fit this mold I imagined. Tori and I have been married 7 years now and I can say I spent the first 3 or 4 of those trying to force her into the person I had in my head. The problem with that is she was so loving. I know that doesn’t sound like much of a problem but I mean she was loving in the sense that she wanted to be what I wanted her to be. The deep sadness in of this was that all I had in mind was someone just like me. On her side though, she was conditioned to believe that who she actually was just wasn’t enough.
I started creating this mold in my head when my love for her stopped being driven automatically. When we first met I was captured by her looks, her acceptance, and her freedom to be herself. She ran a stop sign on our first date too and I thought that was pretty neat. But that auto-drive shut off after about a year of marriage. We started arguing some, we were tired because we both worked full time, and we didn’t have as much help as we were used to our on our own. We had barriers in our communication because we had yet to find out that she was a clarinet and I was an oboe. So to make it easier on myself, I would daydream about “the perfect woman” who never disagreed with me, who helped the way I wanted, and who helped the way I would help. As a result, everything she did became everything she didn’t do, everything she was became everything she wasn’t. It wasn’t long before our marriage started falling apart.
Fast forward to two years ago and I realized how little I actually wanted another me and how badly I wanted her. I realized the clarinet won’t sound like the oboe, and I was thankful for that for the first time. What helped me realize this was seeing her pain in the fact that she wanted my acceptance and my love. She didn’t care anything about sounding like me or looking like me, she was only concerned with whether we could work together or not. I started fighting for her and laying myself down looking for ways to leverage her personality. I started seeing someone far more beautiful than the person I originally met.
We all have a different role to play. If we go on trying to force people to play the role we were given, we rob them of their purpose and we lose our own as well. If you have a parent, a friend, a sibling, a coworker, a spouse, a whoever in your life that you are trying to make like you, I encourage you to take a step back and look for their role. Once you know their role you will be able to see how you can work together.