My wife has been using essential oils for about three years now, and I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t 100% believe the hype. And I know there are a million oil enthusiasts reading that first line ready to dive into the comments section. But before you do, please realize that this post is not me dogging on EOs.
Because here’s the thing: My wife is one of you. We have small vials of oil in the bathroom, along the kitchen cabinets, and clogging our refrigerator. Mel has snuck small brightly colored smelling tubes of oil in my work bag, hoping I will take a break from my demanding job and have a sniff. She has set up bubbling, misty machines all over our home, in an attempt to cure everything from my anxiety to my son’s cough. I cannot tell you how many Benjamins have been dropped on oils.
Actually, I don’t want to know. I’m content to live in lavender-scented bliss.
The first time Mel went to an essential oils party hosted by a friend from church, I rolled my eyes hard. The epic eye roll wasn’t necessarily because of the oils, but the multilevel marketing tactics used to sell the oils. Essential oils was just the latest on a long list of multilevel marketing money black holes Mel had been interested in. We’d been married about 10 years at this point, and she’d attended or participated in several sell-from-home product parties with a mixed level of success. On the whole, we’d lost money — money we didn’t have to spend on food-storage solutions or scented candles given that we were both in college for most of that time.
Naturally, I assumed her enthusiasm for oils would pass, but it hasn’t. This one stuck. She isn’t just a fan either; she honestly and truly believes in their powers, while I do not. Not even a little bit. And here is the rub (see what I did there?): This is an issue that comes up in lots of marriages. One spouse believes in the oils’ powers and efficacy wholeheartedly; the other thinks it is hogwash and a pseudo-medicine.
Amid all the controversy and differing opinions about essential oils, let’s consider a few facts: I love my wife. I love the hell out of her. She is the best thing in my life, no doubt. She is a great mother. She is intelligent and educated and cares deeply for our family and everyone around her. While I am not interested in essential oils, she is. She honestly believes in them, and when I consider how much I love Mel, and how deeply I respect her as a person and life partner, I start to buy into her passion for oils.
This is the reality of love and partnership — supporting each other in our different passions. Mel is really into something that I am not into, and that’s it. I don’t think I will ever be into oils, but that doesn’t change the way I feel about Mel. Nor does it cause me to want to change her passions, because the fact is, they are hers. She is the owner, and whether I agree with them or not, as long as they are harmless and well-intended, it isn’t my place to dictate what she wants to believe in.
On the whole, she spends money on oils, but never at the cost of our family’s stability. We pay our bills, we save money, we take family vacations — and none of it with debt — so honestly, there isn’t any harm. Not to mention that there’s something about her mixing oils that makes her feel like she is honestly, and truly, helping herself and her family.
And maybe she is. Maybe she is curing my anxiety and all my children’s winter viruses. I don’t know, but what I do know is that last week I had this horrible neck pain, and now I don’t. After three days of pain, Mel massaged an essential oils-based cream into my neck while I sat on the floor of our living room. The cream had a wonderful warm feeling, but not nearly as wonderful as Mel’s desire to help rid me of this pesky pain in my neck.
I don’t know if it was the massage, or the cream, but when I woke up the next morning, the pain was gone. I told Mel as much, and she smiled brighter than I’d ever seen her smile at 6 a.m. I have to assume that part of her reaction had to do with her hope that I was buying into this oils craze. But mostly, I think it was because she felt like she’d helped me feel better. And you know what, that was an awesome feeling. It felt really good to know that after 13 years together, she still cares about me enough to feel satisfaction from helping ease my pain. And that’s always a good thing, essential oils or not.