The symbiotic duality of coupledom

Something came up in the pilot episode of “How I Met Your Mother” that hit pretty close to home for KC and me. While on a date, the main character Ted relates that his friends Lily and Marshall are representative of a great couple based on the Olive Theory (which, Internet research has led me to find originally came from Paul Reiser’s book “Couplehood”).

The theory is based on the saying that opposites attract. In the episode, we find that Lily loves olives, but Marshall hates them. True to their loving ways, he always allows Lily to pick out the olives from his food. However, a sitcom curveball hits us at the end when we learn that Marshall has always loved olives. During their courtship, Marshall would have said anything to stay with Lily, and so he said he hated olives, meaning that for all these years Marshall has been suffering through the displeasure of not allowing himself to eat olives to stay with his true love. It’s a heartfelt moment, leading viewers like us that love transcends trivial theories and old sayings.

I do feel that the end of that episode is pure horseshit, though.

The original theory stands in my opinion. It’s a give and take kind of thing, and it becomes even better when there’s a benefit involved. For us, the Olive Theory cemented our relationship. We had just moved in together, with KC making a move to a new state away from her friends and family. Our relationship was far from rocky, but it was still on unsteady ground. Aside from roommates, we had each never lived with a significant other. It was this example with olives that made us examine ourselves as a solid unit. KC hates olives; I love them. Direct benefit: I get to add olives to my meal. Advantage: Olive Theory.

This also comes up in other aspect of life, without the direct benefits, though. KC hates insects in the house, and I won’t hesitate to catch crickets or moths and set them free outside. Spiders and other insects, however, are not so lucky.

What led me to think about this post in the first place is another side of this theory: the envious side. The seedy underbelly of a good relationship.

The other morning, I awoke at 3 am, made a trip to the bathroom, then headed back to bed. Unfortunately, my mind had different intentions. All pistons were firing in my head. “Oh, you’re awake? Why not think about everything you have ever seen and done in your life.” So, the tossing and turning began. Minutes quickly piled on. Meanwhile, KC is buzz-sawing rainforests beside me.

I envy her for this. For being able to drop off to sleep immediately. For being able to fall into such a deep sleep and not waking up to the slightest noise, like I occasionally do. Of course, I envy her for other things: typing fast, not having crippling anxiety in social situations, et cetera,

Again, Olive Theory. She envies me for just as many things. By working together, we get to accept our shortcomings and help each other out.

At the end of that episode of “How I Met Your Mother,” Marshall confesses about the olive lie. Lily responds, “We’ll make it work.” Well, good luck with your doomed sitcom relationship, guys! All the energy Marshall expended to cover up a lie deprived him of something he loved in order to strengthen the belief that his hatred of olives kept their relationship going. He’ll probably resent her for that. Luckily, in our relationship, for the things we both love, double up the order! That’s how real couples work, bitches.

This guest post was written by Dennis. He is one-half of an amazing team that also, coincidentally includes one of the owners of this blog. When he’s not working, he spends his spare time not working.

This entry was posted on Thursday, August 30, 2012. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response.

One Response to “The symbiotic duality of coupledom”

  1. I am so glad to be your sister wife. I'm changing my initials to KIPC.


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