In fairy tales characters sometimes use a test to discover their true love. Think of the glass slipper in Cinderella. Even the Bible includes a test that our matriarch Rebecca was put through to see if she was worthy for our patriarch Isaac. And, of course, no less a cultural icon than Madonna famously sang, “Put your love to the test.”
Now, Alex doesn’t describe what she put Max through as a test, but it sounds awfully similar. Spoiler alert, in case you were unclear on what we were doing here today, he passed. Listen to Alex:
“On our third or fourth date, he came over to my house for some drinks after we had gone out to dinner. I already knew I was really into Max, but as it turned out, my dog was OBSESSED with him. She would not leave him alone and insisted on sitting on the couch next to him with her head on his shoulder for most of the time he was over. It was not just Maddie’s obvious love for Max that made me start to realize how amazing he was, but Max’s reaction to Maddie really stole my heart. He was so sweet with her and just pet her while she totally invaded his personal space. He even let her kiss his face, which I have since found out he is not that big a fan of.”
Now, you might wonder why this theme that Alex and Max exhibited early in their relationship is found so frequently in literature, be it fairy tales, scripture or songs by Eighties pop singers, who have since adopted weird British accents. It’s simple, really. We may court differently today than we did 35 years ago, in medieval
Europe or in Biblical times, however the goal is the
same: We are trying to present OURSELVES in the best possible light, while
discovering the true essence of the other person, which seems like an exercise
at cross purposes with itself. So, we’re not trying to trap or trick the other
person, we just want to know their true selves.
Then, ideally, when we find that person whose true essence is good and kind and well reflects and complements ours, we too can be ourselves. This is what Alex and Max found. Don’t take my word for it, listen to Max:
“I genuinely feel at ease and like my true self around Alex. This is not a small deal, as I am pretty introverted... There are very few people I feel that level of comfort with... I am drained after significant interaction, but Alex does not drain me. In fact, Alex does the opposite of drain me. She relaxes and reassures me when I need it, and she inspires and energizes me when I need that...”
Max has had the same effect on Alex: “I feel like my confidence has grown since I’ve been with him because he has made me more comfortable with being myself and realizing that what I am thinking is worthy of being stated or heard, even if I feel that it is not good enough to say out loud.”
This type of relationship is so deep that it is embodied by what Max says, but what you know is a mutual feeling: “Alex is totally comfortable with who I am. This is related to feeling comfortable being my true self around her. She sees and knows me more than anyone and she loves me for who I am...” My friends, we should all be so lucky.