Posted in relationships

So Here’s the Deal with all the Love Talk…

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.

Posted in Uncategorized

Twu Wove

“Mawwage. Mawwage is what bwings us together today.”  –Impressive Clergyman, The Princess Bride
I waited a long time to get married.  Prior to meeting B, I had one near miss.  I am thankful every day for having dodged that bullet.  As far as I am concerned, that two other poor women married that sucker is proof that God does have favorites, and I am one of them.  But, I waited a long time.
While I was single and hoping, I heard a lot of advice about dating.  There were the advocates of online matchmaking (dating websites, web forums, chat groups), group dating, blind dating, and not dating at all (and trusting God to drop the man of your dreams on your doorstep.)  I think I got a lecture from and about every one of them.
There were also those who advocated making a list of what you wanted in a man, and trusting the Universe, or God, or The Secret, to bring him to you, right down to the part in his hair.  I made a list, but I could never decide what he should look like.  My list kept getting longer and longer, and I was feeling more and more ridiculous.  I mean, the list isn’t a bad idea because it helps you figure out what is important to you in a relationship, but hair color just isn’t a big deal, and I didn’t care what he did for a living, so long as I didn’t have to support him.
I was finally exasperated with my list and narrowed it down to this:  I want to marry a man with whom I can be 100% myself, without feeling shy or embarrassed, or like I should change.  He should feel the same way around me.
After all, what is better than that friend who loves you exactly as you are, and who doesn’t mind if you forget where Singapore is once and a while?  Nothing.
B, Andy, Scott, and Mark, somewhere between 2001--2002

When I met B, I liked him instantly.  He seemed very comfortable in his own skin, wasn’t putting on airs or trying to be anything he wasn’t, and he had a group of friends to be envied.  We met at Mark’s NYE party on December 31, 2001.  We had our first date 23 days later on January 24, 2002.  Exactly two years later, we married each other.

Today, B and I spent the day with Thor, sitting in the middle of a creek.  We had to hike out to a low point first, then we waded out hip deep to find a rock, and we sat down in a tangle of legs and wet clothes, leaning against each others backs, and we listened to the world go by.  It was one of those perfect days.  Just the three of us together, doing something silly.  Days like today make me love him even more.

I used to be afraid that if anyone ever really got to know me, it would be impossible for them to like me, much less love me.  I used to be afraid that when B had lived with me long enough, and found out enough about me, he would leave.  Somewhere in the last year, he made magic happen.  I’m not afraid of that anymore.  I’m not afraid of myself anymore.  It’s a lot bigger than it sounds in print.  I found out that at my worst, I’m really not so bad.  And in striving to be my most livable best, I’ve become better.

I married a man who let me be 100% myself, and in doing so, I’ve grown 100% comfortable in my own skin.  Frankly, I think that’s the best you can get out of marriage.