My hair was a lot longer when we got married. Maybe that’s where I went wrong, my hair got shorter and darker…
I said I would write about relationships. Not that you should listen to a word I say, considering. And this is a lot harder than I thought it would be, but here goes.
I’ll start out by saying you should read Sue Seeger’s post on relationships. After I read some of her points, I was thinking “Uh Oh.”
So you should zoom on over and read the post I’m going to quote from, and read some of her current stuff, because Sue is always doing something interesting and adventurous.
What I have added to what Sue said in her blog is based on things I would never do again and the things that I see in successful relationships that I will do from now on.
Sue’s #1 in her successful relationship list is: “Pick right in the first place. It’s not going to work unless both people’s idea of what they want their life to look like matches up.”
Both my husband and I wanted to live in the country. I thought we both liked doing outdoorsy things. My husband was new to horseback riding but thought it would be fun (he changed his mind when he discovered horses don’t always do what you want them to do). He was very supportive of my writing. I was supportive of what he wanted to do with his career. We both wanted to travel and spend the winters somewhere warmer after we retire. We both wanted to have a home our families could visit and enjoy. We both love music, to listen to and play. We have a matching sense of humor, one that many other people don’t get. That was probably the thing that most attracted me to my husband, that and his extremely good looks and intelligence. I love my husband and can’t believe that our differences at this point mean I “picked wrong”. I’m not sure if he changed or what happened on this one.
Sue’s #2 is that “Mostly it’s a firm decision you make in your mind. When the escape clause is off the table, stuff HAS to be worked out. You have to be in it to win it.”
My husband has had an escape clause in the back of his mind for quite some time. He almost used it 5 years ago and I haven’t felt secure in our relationship since then. There’s nothing worse than living in fear of doing something that is going to be the last straw.
So I didn’t have Sue’s #3 either: “Be the other person’s safe place. No betrayals– ever. No belittling their dreams. No looking for every little thing ‘wrong’.”
There’s the other woman – super betrayal. And there were the jabs at my main interests. In talking to him now, he denies things like the horses were an issue, that he was just joking. Yet, he has also said, he felt he was living “my dream” at the expense of his own and was more a stablehand than a life partner.
Unfortunately, he never expressed that feeling to me. Probably to her, but not to me – another betrayal. Relationships are about compromising in some areas, doing for each other, but not to the point that you feel resentful. If resentment is building up, SAY SOMETHING! These things CAN be worked out, bringing us back to Sue’s #2 – “stuff HAS to be worked out”.
Sue’s #4: “Laugh and goof around as much as possible. Life is supposed to be fun.”
I got nothin to add to that one.
Sue’s #5: “Get a life. The other person isn’t there to complete you — that’s your job. You share the lives you have. Stay plugged in.”
If you aren’t happy, if you don’t feel you have the same connection or feelings you once had for the person you are married to, do something about it. And I don’t mean get divorced. Talk to your partner about what you’d like from them, from the relationship. Do more things together. Make dates. Give each other your full attention. Go on a vacation. Don’t let all your responsibilities and “To Do’s” stand in the way. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT, take each other for granted. Do not say you’ll do it tomorrow, or next month, or when you have more money, or whatever. Give each other more attention than you give anyone else, including your kids.
Sue’s #6: “Look around every once in a while and appreciate how sweet you have it. No matter what’s going on there is always some stuff to feel lucky about– notice that stuff. Don’t dwell on all the stuff that’s not ideal.”
#6 is huge! My husband and I are so fortunate in what we have with each other. I’m not big on the belief that it’s greener on the other side of the fence. In my mind, our problems are few. That doesn’t mean the issues would be easily resolvable, there would be work involved, but we could make this marriage work if both of us wanted to.
What I would add to Sue’s list is Mary’s #7: You need to understand the dynamics of the family you are joining, because either yours or your partner’s family can play a part in undermining you or your partner and causing strife in your relationship. If this happens, both of you need to be willing to either stop the family strife through a family meeting or some kind of communication, or if worse comes to worse, break off with any family member that won’t support you and your relationship. Marriage is tough. You need a family that is supportive and respectful of your relationship.
And Mary’s #8: If you are spending more time thinking about your relationship rather than being in your relationship and talking to each other about the issues running through your mind, you have a problem, and you need to do something NOW! If you feel your parner is acting odd, if they seem to be distancing themselves or putting up a wall between you, it’s not just an illusion. They are, and you need to ask why! Don’t analyze it. Don’t rationalize it. Don’t make excuses for them. Open your mouth and talk!
And Mary’s #9, which does not only apply to relationships but to all living, Do not live in fear. There are worse things than saying or doing the wrong thing. There are worse things than a confrontation or argument. You may think you are avoiding escalating a problem by not talking about it, but guess what? You’d be wrong. I was wrong.
As painful as the ending of my marriage is, it has been a life changing experience and I will never live my life the same way again.
Honeymoon – where H discovered that I lick rocks to wet them and better determine if they are agates. Okay, you noticed. I really don’t know what’s going on with the middle finger of my right hand. Some sort of spasm I think. Oops, there’s that sense of humor that only a select few understand.