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    Posted May 25, 2014 by
    Athens, Georgia

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    By Lucy Connor

    How many of you remember this song by Bread? It was one I had sung at my wedding some 31 years ago.

    “If a picture paints a thousand words
    Then why can't I paint you?
    The words will never show
    The you I've come to know”

    Sometimes the word “if” is really “if only”. I have been on the downside of that one for sure. “If only I did not shop so much, if only I would lose some weight, if only I would spend more time on him….you get the picture. “If only’s” are a way to let someone know you are disappointed in him or her. Yes, a way to control.

    “If” is not always negative, however. Look at the beautiful lyrics I posted. The lover wants the world to stop so he can exclaim his incredible love for his partner. “If only” he could figure out a way to adequately describe his love. “If only” when used to better yourself, is not an enemy…now it is a friend.

    When I look at a relationship, I am a realist. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, I am going to be a true frustration for my love…probably on an ongoing basis. How do I know this? Mostly, because I am a true frustration for myself on many levels and as a single woman, at this point I am my own number one fan! This is something that does not thwart my idea of what love is and what can be. I know things will never be perfect. I also know that sometimes, it is me who needs to change in order to help things out. I am willing, I am ready, I am eager to change the things about me that stand as walls between my lover and myself.

    Should I change my core beliefs, my morality, my faith? These are things that are inherent to who I am. If I change these, I am denying that my soul exists and is valid. These are not the kinds of changes I am talking about. Let me give an example. In High School, I was given the 8:05 arrival award (class started at 8:00). I was perpetually late, not tons late, just… a little. When I married, my husband was chronically a half hour early which I thought was just plain stupid. Eventually, he set our alarm clock 20 minutes ahead so that I would look at the clock and think it was 7:00 when it was actually 6:40. I was a frustration for him. He was controlling and felt the need to control me on this point. Looking back, what would have been the big deal for me just to have realized this was important to him and was a habit I could change. It would have eliminated the need for him to try to control me through our clock. It would have stopped countless arguments between us. I could have just stepped up and said, “Ok. This is important to you and I love you, so I will change this part of me BECAUSE, I love you.” But I did not. Funny enough, this year I was put on a list at school of people who had been late more than 7 times in the first 9 weeks of class. Most of those times, I was a just minute late..but guess what? After that list, I was 10 minutes early every day. I had to re-learn the same lesson I so stubbornly avoided all those years ago, because I simply did not want to give in to my husband.

    We need to choose our battles in relationships. They are not easy to enter into, to stay in or to navigate. We cannot believe that we are completely perfect for someone and never be willing to change when the change would do the relationship good. There is a difference between changing everything you are to “make” someone love you and changing pieces of “me” for the good of “we”.

    If I ever find him, I pray that I am willing to see the things about myself that I can change for the good of our relationship. I also hope I can find ways to express my needs in a relationship and how small changes can make big differences in every-day living. I know that in order for a relationship to grow and flourish, both partners need to come at it with a servant heart. Refusing to change in order that love may continue to increase between us is not being a servant, it is instead, self-serving.

    “If” or “If only” when approached with the good of the pair in mind, can be the best two words in the world. They can mean, I love you enough to give you what you need…happily and freely. They can be the keys to a successful, servant heart based, loving..”forever”.

    “If the world should stop revolving
    Spinning slowly down to die
    I'd spend the end with you
    And when the world was through
    Then one by one the stars would all go out
    Then you and I would simply fly away” (Bread)
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