Nicole had changed her mind a million times before she finally booked the flight to go to her 20th high school reunion. That’s why I was surprised to see her glowing after the trip.
“It must have been a great party!” I said.
“You know what? It really was. In more ways than one,” she said, smiling.
“Oh, yeah,” Nicole agreed. “I never expected to run into Thom. We dated a little during our senior year, but I lost touch with him once we went to college. He came over to my table after dinner and that was that. We flirted, we couldn’t stop dancing, and talked and talked. It was…I can’t even describe it!” she said in a dreamy tone.
I was happy for Nicole. And concerned. Her marriage to Jeremy had been on auto-pilot for the last few years.
“What was Jeremy’s impression of Thom?” I asked cautiously.
“He didn’t meet him. Jeremy bailed at the last minute, so I went with my hometown friends.” She leaned towards me. “Did I mention Thom’s wife didn’t come, either?”
Are you thinking what I was? “Oh, Nicole. Run! You’re playing with fire, girl!”
Let’s face it: There’s no way her real life, snoring, weekend pajama wearing husband is going to compare to the ghost of Christmas past dressed in an Italian suit. Every time she compares the two, Jeremy will always come up short.
But let’s look at Nicole’s story from the angle of our February series about staying open, Make Room for Love. Love was knocking on the door of Nicole’s heart, just not how she expected. The spark she had with Thom reminded her of all the things she once loved about Jeremy. It was as if qualities like being light-hearted, listening, and laughing together were shaking her by the shoulders asking, “Hey! Remember me?!”
Did Nicole need those qualities? Yes. However, should she leave the life she had built with Jeremy? Not yet.
Giving her marriage one last chance means having a fair conversation, not provoking Jeremy into breaking up. Which discussion sounds like it comes from an open heart: “Hey, honey, I’m back from my trip and ready to tell you the 10 things wrong with our relationship!” or “Let’s find ways to have more fun together. It’s important to me that we’re close—not just on vacation or every once in a while. Week in and week out.”
Whether you’re single or coupled, listening to someone’s big plans for Valentine’s Day could be bittersweet. You might be feeling a little disappointed, just like Nicole. But don’t bury that feeling. Don’t let it make you feel depressed or less than. That’s Life whispering to you about what matters most.
This week, tune in to the message your instincts are sending, and use it as a catalyst. Start inviting those qualities in, whether they’re with your partner or friends, family and co-workers. And make sure you’re reciprocating.
Playfulness. Kindness. Being close. They’re all asking, “Hey—remember me?!”