My friend Josh surprised me tonight.
“If it hadn’t been for marrying Michelle, I would’ve been just like my brother,” he said.
Josh isn’t a guy who’s prone to introspection or to pondering psychology, so his insight surprised me. I wondered why it had never occurred to me instead.
Josh has a brother who’s pretty strange. I’ve known Josh and his wife for more than 20 years, and I’ve seen him change and grow in ways that I don’t think he’s always aware of. He doesn’t seem to realize just how much he’s changed, but I see him as a radically different person.
His brother, Brian, has never married. He’s dated off and on — and he says he wishes he were married — but he’s never had a serious relationship. Today, Josh and Brian are radically different people. Josh is easy to get along with. Brian is prickly and difficult. Josh is great at compromise, but Brian has to have everything his way. Brian is very hard to like.
Until tonight, I hadn’t consciously realized that Josh marrying Michelle saved him from being the difficult man that his brother has become. And that’s left me thinking about how the partner we choose changes us in radical ways — for good or for bad.