I may have taught my son to say Hooker while watching American Idol. But jiminey crickets! You don’t sing Here Comes the Sun like you just stepped out of a big, pink wad of bubble gum! B and I were wondering if it was the Michael Jackson half of the Beatles catalog being butchered tonight? I suspect, yes.
I’m spending a lot of thought on relationships because a close family friend is going through a rather acrimonious divorce. We speak about it frequently, so it stays on my mind. I think the hardest part is that the man in question was always, until he suddenly wasn’t, a wonderful, upstanding man of great character. In the twenty-five years I knew him–no, twenty-three because I don’t know this guy who manifested two years ago–he was my go-to manfriend for advice and help. But something happened somewhere, and he isn’t that man anymore.
I am not naive. I know that every relationship is only temporary, if only because everyone dies eventually. As Cher sang it, sooner or later, we all sleep alone. And I know that people change. Some people have nervous breakdowns, some people have strokes, some people develop dementia. Some people hear from god. Some people just get bored.
When all the big names started getting divorced at KCM and EMIC, I think I became immune to shock when people split. I also became very dogmatic about relationships being a daily decision and a daily choice. I was reading an interview with supermodel Yasmin Le Bon* the other day, and something she said stuck with me. I’ve been mulling it over and over since. When asked if there had been a lot of changes in her relationship with her husband over the past twenty-five years of marriage, she said
Of course, relationships change, and that’s the beautiful thing about them. Even now they change, even if it’s in a really serious way. Unfortunately, I’ve seen many people separating and divorcing after being married for a long time. And it’s really surprising to me. The only thing I know is that I’m happy and that at any moment I choose to be with him. I don’t know what will come next. All I can tell you is that Simon makes me laugh. When you care for someone so much and they make you laugh so much, you simply want to do everything with them.
The emphasis is mine, of course.
I really believe that long-term relationships are built on little choices we make daily.
When I got married, I had never lived with a man before. I had barely lived with a roommate. I had a lot of learning to do! I was a doted on, only child, and it wasn’t until I moved into my marital home that I realized just how doted on I had been. It was a huge adjustment going from being the center of the universe at home, to being just the other person on the sofa.
It was a huge adjustment going from my family and their copious praise–and listen, when I say copious, I mean it. My mother, my grandparents, my adopted family (including the divorcing couple), and my friends are all very free with praise. I don’t think I went a day between 0 and Married without someone telling me I was beautiful, and brilliant, and wonderful, and talented, and priceless. I married a man who is perfectly happy without talking for days. And I married a man who figures I just know he thinks I’m the bees knees, otherwise, he wouldn’t have married me. Duh. We can go weeks without him complimenting me. THAT was an adjustment.
Okay, I’m still adjusting to that. I like words. Lots and lots of words. Sometimes I feel very sorry for myself. So, when I need to hear words of validation from B, I tell him. (Or I call my mom, and she tells me how perfect I am. I try to do this as a last resort, though. One day, my mom will be gone, and I need to find ways to fill those gaps so that I’m not in a dangerous emotional state the first time I ask B to tell me something nice and he says, “Uh…you’re pretty?”)
My relationship philosophy works like this: My marriage is my life-job. I intend to be in this job for the rest of my life. Just like any job, if I expect success, I need to take pride in the quality of the work I produce, and I need to pay close attention to the market. I have to provide excellent customer service, but I also have to be aware of the bottom line, and when customer service and the bottom line aren’t mutually beneficial, I need to figure out what will keep me in the black. I have a responsibility to live up to a standard. If I am doing the best job possible, I will see results.
But I also understand that sometimes a worker does everything possible, and the customer, or the market just don’t respond. There are hiccups in the economy, natural disasters, terrorist attacks…any number of things can shut down your business without you having done a single thing wrong. All you can do is your best, so that when you go to sleep at night, you know you have been the type of person you wouldn’t mind waking up with.
When it comes to making big decisions about how I will act, react, or behave myself, I do my level best to run everything through my motivation checker first. James 3:17, But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated [sic], full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. If my desired actions, reactions, behaviors can make it through that filter, I go ahead. If they don’t, well, crap. I have to start over again.
Every choice counts.
I promise I won’t be harping on this forever. I’m just writing out a broken heart. I miss the man who walked me down the aisle at my wedding. I’ll miss that man forever. Not nearly as much as his wife will, though. God bless them both.
*My friend Nancy built and maintains this beautiful website all by herself. She is so talented–she amazes me.
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