I found a new TV show to watch: Lie to Me. Do you watch it? It’s based on real people, a professor and psychologist at some university in California who do research on micro-expressions – fleeting facial expressions that give indication of the person’s real feelings (and whether they’re lying).
“She just indulges him,” one character said about another. The female psychologist (who wears really fabulous clothes) handles the eccentric professor by indulging him.
Would our lives be better if we indulged each other a bit more? Probably. Indulging one another isn’t about stepping back or backing away or backing down. The indulgent character isn’t less capable, respected, smart or worthy. The indulgee gets to be himself because really, he can’t help it (can any of us?).
Compromise sucks. Compromise ensures neither person gets everything they want, but how else do you get through the myriad decisions confronting spouses? Indulgence. Maybe.
I remember (inaccurately) an article about Kate and Andy Spade, the married owners of the Kate Spade company, where they said they’d agreed long ago that the person who cared most got to make the decision. Put another way, they indulge each others’ needs and cares. I do find myself weighing in on something that clearly matters more to my husband than to me.
And really? Indulging one another is just a more graceful way of saying, “I can’t stop you from being you — and really, I don’t want to — so I’m going to let you, even though we all know it wouldn’t matter if I ‘let’ you or not.”