I have long said that the single most important factor for a loving relationship is kindness; putting your spouse before yourself, making sure that their comfort and happiness is of paramount importance.
Most of the time I am very good at looking after my spouse and being kind to him. And some of the time I am not. I am ashamed to say that our recent trip home from Iceland was me behaving my worst, and I am only telling this story publicly in the hopes that I will somehow absolve myself of guilt, because I can’t be alone in the way that I reacted.
Beloved, as some of you may know, surprised us all by showing up in Iceland (points! So many points!). Because it was last-minute, there were no economy tickets left, so he booked the only ticket available, which was first class. I, on the other hand, was in Premium Economy, which I had flown on the way out, and it was all rather comfortable and fine. I didn’t mind that Beloved was flying first class and I was not. In fact, when he offered me the seat, I decided that he had been working so hard of late, he should keep the seat; he deserved it. Of course, I would have preferred that we sit together, but I didn’t need the first class food, I had my books, and I was planning to sleep much of the ride.
As we were waiting by the gate, I noticed a very glamorous, attractive woman. She was about my age, with long hair, big sunglasses, and a wickedly cool fur-trimmed parka. She had the sort of look that I sometimes aspire to, a sort of effortless casual cool, that looks as if you have just rolled out of bed looking perfect.
We all got on the plane, and I discovered I was not in the good Premium Economy seats (which were the same as First Class, but without the food), but in the small economy seats with extra leg room. I looked across the heads at First Class, and there was my husband, standing in the first row of his section, next to the gorgeous woman from the gate. They were both laughing at something, and I watched as they sat down in their giant, comfy seats, their heads bobbing as they chatting animatedly.
A stewardess came and offered them champagne, and handed them menus for their meal. I know all this because I kept standing up, muttering furiously as I looked across the seats to see what was happening over there.
My husband was having far too good a time. Not only was he flying in comfort, he now had a gorgeous companion, and I am ashamed to say, I felt a deep wave of resentment wash over me. And so, I reverted to my very worst behavior. Despite the fact that there was a loo next to my seat, I decided to go to the loo at the front of first class.
And when I came out, I could see my husband and his new best friend looking at me, clearly waiting for me to say hello, but I carried on walking past them as if I didn’t know anyone in first class, let alone my traitor of a husband.
Beloved came back and offered to swap seats, which of course I couldn’t possibly do, far too ashamed of my bad behavior. I am slightly worried he may never surprise us again so I may have to set new ground rules – whatever class we are flying, we must all fly together. And no-one is allowed to sit next to someone spectacularly attractive unless they are prepared to ignore them for the whole flight.
On that note, I shall also attempt to put my big girl pants on and act my age, rather than my shoe size.