Thursday, September 9, 2021

Heroes, Husbands, Hotheads, and Teddy Bears

The thing about Teddy Bears is they’ll always be Teddy Bears. They’re not going to rise up and become lions. They’re just not. It’s not fair to expect them to do so. Teddy Bears are soft, cuddly, and generally good-natured. If you push them, they’ll retreat. So, when it comes time to deal with an obnoxious teenager, a bullying sports coach, a cruel teacher, a smarmy attorney, or a conniving businessman, don’t expect your Teddy Bear to transform. In those situations, you need a Hot Head.

But here’s the thing about Hot Heads. They can be difficult to live with. They have opinions on just about everything, and they’re not easily swayed. Seeing things through a different lens is hard for them. Often, they’re bright, so they think they’re always right. (News flash, they make mistakes, too.) But in a pinch, having a Hot Head in your corner can be a lifesaver, especially if you happen to be on the Teddy Bear spectrum.

In fiction, we can create these multifaceted heroes, but the reality is a different story. Can two Hot Heads marry? Yes, but it may take them longer to find a rhythm and to learn how to compromise. Can two Teddy Bears marry? Again, problematic. In the long run, that combination may be even more disastrous than a pair of Hot Heads. But if the Hot Head and Teddy Bear marry, will the Hot Head completely dominate the Teddy Bear? Maybe. Maybe not.

My husband and I married almost 40 years ago. Because of him, I’m definitely a better person than I would have ever been on my own. (And I like to think I’ve been good for him, too.) It’s been a dance, and the tricky thing about a long marriage is the music keeps changing. We started out as college students, graduated, got jobs, had children, bought stuff. Now here we are all these years later, no jobs, grown children, and too much stuff…but we still have each other.

Real-life romance is so much better than the fictional kind because it takes work, heartbreaking emotional investments, and daily care. It’s hard to capture that in 300 pages, but it’s fun to try.

That’s what I love about a good romance. Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. Rhett Butler and Scarlet O’Hara. Kathleen Kelly and Joe Fox. Kate and Leopold. I love getting an intimate peek at two characters overcoming their differences and learning to love and appreciate the other’s talents and gifts.

How about you? Who are some of your favorite fictional couples? How about real-life examples? 

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