Yet for that we can be grateful: Sometimes a challenge can make it clear to us that we're meant to leave a partnership. But with the woman he ended up marrying, he suddenly knew all the right things to say.
That a bunch of our breakthroughs, triumphs and joys occurred when we asked a few big, bold, paradigm-shifting questions? Such a statement suggests that I've given away my power without even bruising my knuckles.
Don't we owe it to ourselves—don't we deserve—to live an examined life? Never mind that we all, to some degree, worry about what people think, because we're, you know, human.
Can you remember why you like each other, even when you disagree?
That principle inspired the best wedding present my husband and I received: a set of Groucho Marx glasses/noses/moustaches to be donned in moments of marital discord.
That friend also says you can tell a lot from the most ordinary moments: On an unexceptional night, when you've ordered pizza and you're watching movies, when you're wearing moth-holed sweaters and each other's socks and you both have miserable colds, are you happy? Another friend—one who told me, in an awed tone, three weeks after she met her future husband, "I'm going to marry that man"—says it's all about how you fight.
In the midst of your worst arguments, the ones where you threaten and accuse and generalize and ungenerously compare, bringing up events buried years ago and slitting your eyes in disgust—at those moments, can you step back and perceive your ridiculousness?Can it be said that asking questions is what keeps us honest, drives us to aim higher—and is the very thing that makes us human? I don't care whether you're a shock jock or the president of the tacky Christmas sweater club: There's always going to be someone whose love, attention and respect you're courting.So I'll just give you the honest answer: Yes, I have often cared too much.We're not talking about a soul mate, though modern usage often spins it that way; the original meaning is more complicated.Your basherter won't always make you happy, and your life together won't always be easy. She used to spend hours talking to her friends about guys—analyzing, deciphering, strategizing—but when she started seeing the man who became her husband, all of that stopped.Remember when you were little and you felt like you might explode because you had so many questions? Was it when we became busy, distracted, overwhelmed grown-ups, feigning expertise, acting like we know everything all the time? And that all knowledge exists precisely because people have, persistently and for centuries, asked tons and tons of questions?