(quote) Paul-1049651 said: Thank you, Celine, that's a lovely comment (I'm enjoying all the comments) but applied to my own case it's definitely overgenerous! I suspect there's also an element of bargaining (if I put up with HER baggage she'll have to tolerate mine!). The ratio may be something like 49% bargaining, 49% needing to be needed, and 2% Christian love. The actual stats may be even worse than that :)
I will say, though, that when I hear people complain about some trivial habit or other of their spouse's, I really do think "you don't know how much you'll miss that very thing when you lose him/her". Probably they're not as superficial as they sound, perhaps there are complaints about big things masquerading as complaints about small things.
I used to tell my husband that very thing -- all those quirks of mine that could drive him crazy would be the things he missed the most -- but it is me missing them.
There is for some of us a deep rooted desire to love and nurture others -- in some cases from our own baggage -- not wanting anyone else to feel the sad things we have felt. There are also those who immerse themselves in chaos because they need the chaos...they need to be needed and move from one crisis to the next. Sometimes we might chose the bird with the broken wings because we ourselves don't feel we can chose someone without -- because of our own sense of self worth.
I think the telling question would be: Is my love helping the person move forward and unpack their baggage or am I content to take them as is, baggage and all and really prefer that they keep it? In other words -- are we really helping them or are we keeping them needy?
My husband used to say to me sometimes that I didn't need him and I used to think are you crazy I need you all the time -- need his laugh, his humor, his bravery, his strength, his love and friendship -- but he was talking about other things -- I was very capable at managing our world. When he was killed I was devastated and all I wanted was to be able to let someone take over for me. Something I am not accustomed to nor comfortable with. I had two friends one a woman and the other a man -- who both told me -- you don't need me, all you need is God. That irked me to no end at first because I felt as if I was reaching out for someone's strength and comfort and I was being rejected -- but the fact was -- I didn't need them. I was strong and resilient and managed everything just fine and continued doing what I do best -- caring for and taking care of those around me.
Life can be a brutal playing field and we have to choose between letting it batter us or letting it strengthen us. All of us have encountered traumas and everyone handles them differently. I absolutely believe in loving another completely warts and all, but I continue to learn that my love and care for them may not be healing to them and that is ultimately the goal. If my love is healing then it is a good thing. If my love is not healing but creates a dependency or hinders healing then it is not helpful. it is not always easy to know the difference.