Sharing with you things that are on my mind...Maybe yours too. Come back to Wrights Lane for a visit anytime!

27 April, 2014

WHY SOME MARRIAGES STAND THE TEST OF TIME AND OTHERS DO NOT

I have marvelled lately over the miracle of birth and how one generation begets another.  I am particularly moved by photographs of friends and acquaintances of yesteryear that appear on Facebook profiles -- photos of healthy and smiling children and grandchildren, all bearing strong family resemblances.

Many of my friends, for crying out loud, I remember from when they were the current age of their grandchildren and I cannot help but be amazed at how quickly time flies and how lives unfold.  I cannot help but wonder too, why some couples stay committed over the long haul while others fail to make it past a few years. Many of my old chums are still going strong after 50 and 60 years of marriage. On the other hand, there are those who have been married two and three times.  Then again, some of us have lost partners through death and have been fortunate enough to find special love a second time.  Life is just like that!
Heart of the matter

My hat is off to couples who bond sufficiently to spend lifetimes together and leave legacies for their families. In truth, in many respects, lasting marriages are a gift to all who behold them.

I cannot help but think that in the early going, many young people with raging hormones forget that finding the right person in life is just the beginning of the journey, not the destination. In order to move from casual dating to a committed, loving relationship, there is a need to nurture that new connection. It's a process that requires time, effort, and a genuine interest in the other person as a whole. It also requires an openness to compromise and to change.

All relationships change over time. You change and your partner changes, and so do needs and expectations. What you want from a relationship at the beginning may very well be different from what you and your partner want from that same relationship a few months or years down the road. That is why I have so much admiration for couples who discover the secret to a lasting relationship.

Now here is where I may get a bit personal and controversial. There are only two reason why people enter romantic relationships in the first place (unless they come from a culture where marriages are arranged). Every relationship that was ever started can be traced back to sex or love as a point of origin. Humans are mammals, and just like other mammals we have a biological need to reproduce that cannot be suppressed or repressed. This forces us to want sex. For some people this want turns into an over-riding need, depending on other psychological and physical factors.

Oh, sure, I have lusted and wanted to love my partner so much that it hurt; but I learned very quickly as a young man that in order to receive love I must give love -- a committed, sensitive and caring kind of love that knows no bounds and makes no exceptions. The ability to forgive and to forget also went a long way -- still does. I knew myself well enough to understand that I was not physically or emotionally capable of having sex just for the sake of having sex, but that was just me...I know that is not the way with many people.  "Is that a curse or a blessing?" you may well ask...I guess it all depends on how you look at the question.

Love is correlated. Love is one of those words that are hard to explain. One person will describe it one way, one person will describe it another, but no matter the definition I find that one element always remains -- everyone incorporates "companionship" into their description of love. No matter what the loneliest person in the world tells you, they do not want to be alone. Sometimes maybe, but not all the time, and certainly not forever.

I think that we all can attest to the fact that we are first attracted to the physical attributes of a potential life partner, then secondly and ideally we look for a natural blending of likes, dislikes, personality and character attributes.  When love blooms under those conditions and it is fresh, it feels very much like the ultimate; but when the novelty of being in love wears off, the relationship starts to go downhill.  I heard someone recently liken it to having a new toy as a kid...Eventually there is a tendency to get tired of playing with that toy. Maybe Freud was on to something...It seems like our adult life is always leading us in retrospect back to childhood and I wonder if that toy metaphor correlates into longer relationships.  For example, do children who stick with one toy for a longer period of time end up in adult relationships longer?  Kind of makes you think, doesn't it?

I always felt an attachment to my toys, many of which I have kept to this day.  I could never part with them. Maybe it has been the same in my relationships.  Something within me always wants to hold on. Personally and honestly, whenever I felt the novelty of love wearing off for various reasons, and there are those times in every marital relationship, I reflected on what brought the two of us together in the first place and how reciprocal my partner had been, not to mention the ultimate blessing of the fruit of our loins.

Then too, Mother Nature, eventually plays a role in all of our lives.  She creeps up on us gradually and annoyingly (I will not elaborate, but I'm sure you know what I mean).  Age-forced abstinence is when the real test of a marriage comes into play.  Believe it or not kids, there are substitutes for the sex you may think is so important to you at your present stage of life. Take it from me, as one who has found it necessary to become a primary caregiver for a totally dependant and ailing spouse, not once but twice in combined marriages that total more than 50 years. I have often said that if you think that lightening does not strike twice, then think again.

I live with the understanding that God giveth and He taketh away.  I do not necessarily miss what we once had in our relationship because other things have come along to fill the void -- things like compassion, a new closeness and understanding of the real needs of life coupled with satisfaction in expressing mutual appreciation for favors large and small.  I derive particular gratification from giving to someone who has given so much to me. There is reward in a particular glance, a touch of the hand, and a smile that speaks volumes.

Sometimes we simply need a jolt of reality in our relationships. Could we really live without our partners in our lives?  Could we accept the fact that, all things being equal, there are always those waiting in the wings who would gladly give what we have forgotten, or are withholding, from our relationships? It was always sobering for me to think about another man giving my wife what I once gave her, only maybe even a little better. I do not know how some people move on with that thought hanging over them.

There's an old saying to the effect that "relationships end the same way they begin." So, according to this theory, if you and your mate started off hot and heavy and quickly turned your "magnetism" into a relationship, then it will end the same way. Hot, heavy, and quick. It seems like too many people turn sexual flings and desperation for love into instant relationships before giving their feelings a chance to blossom. When you go that route you are skipping the beginning, starting in the middle and sabotaging the end. It's like coming into a movie after it has been running for an hour. Even if you end up liking the movie you still have to see it again to fill in the parts that you missed.

So after having expressed all of that, I guess what I am really trying to say is that love -- true love built on a strong respectful foundation -- is the tie that binds.  Satisfaction in knowing that, as a couple, you have survived the ups and downs of life and that you have done your utmost in nurturing a lasting relationship that has produced children and grandchildren of which you are extremely proud. Yes, even going so far as posting family photos on those aforementioned Facebook profiles for all to see and to admire.

Trust me folks of my generation, we have all been watched and we are all being replicated. Just pray that it is in a good and productive way that is indicative of the fact that we have done some things right.

As I have said numerous times before on Wright Lane, that's just me talking though...Talk is cheap!

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