The song “Lips of an Angel” became the anthem of many young people a few years ago… or 12 years ago; I know I’m old because it doesn’t seem that long ago I was watching it on MuchMusic because there wasn’t youtube… okay, now that seems like a long time ago. This song about an ex the lyricist still loved really connected to a large audience because a lot of people have this person who is the ‘one who got away’. This is someone you can’t help but wonder what life would’ve been like if you had pursued a relationship with him or her. I don’t know if my wife has a specific person she’d classify as this, and I have no desire to ask her, but I do know she started dating her first real boyfriend when she was 16, and ended up dumping him because he was too perfect. Insert joke about me here. She claims he was ideal marriage material, but at 16 she wasn’t ready to give up that fun and flirty part of her life. 15 years later, she’s 25 (don’t do the math), and she’s now married to me. Fun fact, he now makes a ton of money and is moderately rich. I do not make a ton of money and far from being considered moderately rich… unless I was living in a trailer park, and not one of the nice ones people camp at, but one of those live-in trailer parks for people who’ve given up on life. Compared to this, I’m loaded. Essentially, this guy my wife dumped has every right to say to her, “Sucker,” and I’d be like “Yeah, he’s right. What were you thinking?” At the same time, maybe he’s like: “I dodged that bullet. She was crazy.” I’m not saying my wife is crazy… I’m not denying it either; she did leave a guy who’s moderately rich and ended up with me. But he can say she’s crazy because that’s ideally what you’re supposed to say about an ex. Sometimes, however, an ex or someone we just liked at a distance can become a lasting thought of: “I wonder what life would be like with them?”
Do I have this? Good question me. I’m the kind of guy who finds a lot of girls attractive (girls are the attractive gender, so that makes sense), but when I was single only a select few became someone I’d want to date. This means when it came to one night stands, even if I was capable (emphasis on ‘if’), I wouldn’t find anyone I’d want to sleep with because ‘not a skank’ is on my requirement list. This also means if a girl made my list of interests, she was pretty darn amazing. For instance, I liked this one girl from kindergarten until grade 5, and yes, even as a child I was committed with this 6 year interest… and I clearly struggled to get her to notice me. She was blond and blue eyed… the preferred choice; my brown haired wife doesn’t read my posts, so I’m safe to write that; bonus. I actually saw this girl last year at a friend’s wedding and she’s now actor hot. I clearly had good taste as a 5 year old. When I was 21, there was another blond and blue eyed girl I fell for in my group that went to Europe. She actually let me in her pants… literally in her pants as we were visiting St. Peter’s in Rome and they wouldn’t let me in because I was wearing shorts. This girl bought a wrap to wear as a dress, and gave me her stretchy track pants. Of course, they may have been stretchy, but on me they were skin tight track pants. I’m still not sure why that was considered appropriate when my baggy shorts weren’t (insert inappropriate priest joke here). Even now both of these women are incredibly beautiful women, but I wouldn’t say they are the ‘one who got away’. They’re just beautiful women, which is the main reason I wouldn’t pursue being their friend; that’s setting myself up for potential temptation (Tip: don’t make close friends with gorgeous looking people of the opposite sex if you want your marriage to last). I do have someone I’d say is the one who got away, but no one will have a clue who that is. In fact, I’d say if you know me and you think you know who it is, your guess is wrong. Saying this is not only fun for me because it’s like saying ‘I know something you don’t know’, I get to share a lesson out of this. I like to preach ‘there is good in all situations’ and there is definitely good in having someone who is ‘the one who got away’ as the following list demonstrates.
- This person reminds me how great my wife is. Despite my past options, I chose my wife, and this clearly means my wife is pretty incredible since my standards only got tougher over time.
- Being married means I made a commitment to my wife; thus, when things are less than stellar with her (and they will be from time to time because that’s what happens in marriage), I have to honor that decision. Keeping my word demonstrates my character… or attempt thereof.
- I have logic to know I will never meet anyone like this person (who is now mostly imaginary because how well do I really know her?), so why would I allow myself to ruin my marriage pursuing anyone else I meet because this new person is now fighting for third place for best option in my life.
- I have wisdom to know if I was with this other girl I’d simply be facing a different set of problems because everyone brings their blessing and challenges.
- I have wisdom to know leaving a marriage for someone else, no matter how perfect the person seems, the problems and damage are astronomical, and not worth it in the end.
- Having said no to this other girl means I have confidence to know I can say no to future temptations.
- Not having gone for this other girl means my wife can have added trust in me, and I act as a role model for others.
- I have increased understanding and empathy for people who face temptation.
Having feelings for someone besides our partner is normal. What we need to do, however, is to say no to the temptation to focus on these thoughts because that just leads to further temptation. We need to accept the commitments we’ve made and try to make our marriages as strong and beautiful as possible, which will help fight the temptation of thinking of others. Entertaining thoughts of someone else is very dangerous because it’s hard to appreciate our partner when we’re wishing they were someone else. Ultimately, if you’re in an unhealthy relationship, you should leave because it’s unhealthy; not because you want to pursue someone else. If there is someone else, I recommend no contact for 6 months while you deal with the break up and heal. This will make you at your best for the next person and limit anyone being accused of cheating and the new person being accused of being a home wrecker.
This week may you better appreciate your partner and learn to fight any temptation you may have for the one who got away.
Rev. Chad David, ChadDavid.ca, learning to love dumb people