Wednesday, January 27, 2010

2-2 Tango

There is a school of thought that a good relationship is an easy relationship. Personally, I think relationships are trying no matter what.

Fighting with a loved one sucks so much. The hurts hurt more leaving us not knowing which end is up. Most of us don't fight fairly. We yell... we may name call... we curse... we talk over one another... we exhibit little self-control as constructive communication goes out the window. Or... we shutdown and retreat within ourselves erecting the formidable brick wall that cannot be breached... burying our most tender of feelings deep and out of harms way. Even if we keep our heads about us, we usually hear what we want to hear which is often not what was intended... We often hear only criticism and blame.

It's human nature to not let blame ride upon our shoulders. We go to great lengths to shrug off blame, to excuse it away and to deny it. To ease our own burden, we will go so far as to blame each other and to blame circumstance for our shortcomings and wrong doings. It takes maturity and a higher-order of thinking to see with clarity where we go wrong; to admit failings and apologize for them. It takes great strength of character to rectify wrongs and prevent them from reoccurring. Saying we're sorry and meaning it, matters. A neglected, heartfelt apology for a wound inflicted is sure to leave a scar.

Some of us will do anything to avoid the reality of our own misconduct. Sometimes we do so out of pure stubbornness. When faced with the possibility of being wrong, it's difficult to give-in and put our own needs aside for the sake of another. It's human to fight against the threat of being taken for a doormat. We will battle to defend ourselves because not to means risking real vulnerability and appearing like a weakling. It takes a lot to acknowledge and live with the things we do wrong, and the hurts we inflict. It can be almost impossible to regain peace within ourselves after realizing our greatest faults and flaws... and so, we rebel to avoid coming to terms with ourselves.

It's a wonder any of us ever get along and retain relationships for as long as we do. It takes more than compromise. Successful relationships require selflessness, patience, tolerance and an abundance of unconditional love. I think a sure sign of true love is being able to faithfully put our partner first; to nurture them and protect them, and to possess unlimited understanding and care... to demonstrate through our actions and words that we are their biggest fans, even if at times it comes at a cost to ourselves. Sounds like I'm depicting a Saint...
I wonder how many of us can actually be this gracious and urbane. I wonder how many of us won't give unless given to. I suppose the answer is reflected in the divorce rate.

Truth be told, in order to balance the relationship scale, there must be a good measure of reciprocation in all things.
To survive as a couple there needs to be some sense of equality... some sense of equal footing. The foundation of a good relationship shouldn't be built upon what our partner can do for us. It's selfish to base our feelings upon what we stand to gain from our partner. We cannot succeed in a lasting, loving relationship unless we truly like one another and believe in each other minus the trappings. A love like this is born of "mutual" respect and admiration at all times, regardless of being in agreement or not. There must be a genuine desire to be part of our partner's life based upon a sincere; no strings attached interest in them as a human being.

Most importantly, a relationship cannot survive and flourish without mutual trust ... trust that we can go to our loved one with anything and they will listen and be receptive without judgment because they want to, not because they are expected to... trust that they will not put their agenda first every time when faced with our time of need... trust that their preconceived notions will not deafen them... trust that our feelings will be taken care of... trust that they will be true... trust that they will not abandon us when times are hard... trust that they have our best interests at heart and that their actions will reflect that they genuinely do whether they are by our side or not.

Perhaps what I describe is a fairy tale...

Albert Einstein said, "I
f you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales."

... All I know is "happily ever after" isn't easy to come by.

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