Oh, been there, Brother Leo. Anybody else relate? Did he track mud in? Get hair in her meal? Forget to groom the cubs?
In our kindler, gentler world (yeah, right) we are conditioned to equate passivity with civility to superiority. Well, fooey on that.
Thunder & Rain
I'm sure I am not alone in saying that I have been in a strife filled relationship before and it was the pits. Of course we don't always know it is the pits until we are no longer in the relationship. Perspective is a beautiful thing.
A guy I used to office with has a rather tumultuous relationship with his wife. On his desk he displayed a sign "A Marriage was Made in Heaven...but so is Thunder and Rain". For them it worked...and they have been married for 20+ years.
A long time ago I learned that the opposite of love is not hate. It is indifference. And so it goes. Our relationships are in the worst shape, the most trouble, when we no longer care about the other person, the topic at hand, the whatever. Hate the way your spouse squeezes the toothpaste tube from the middle? At least you care enough to have an opinion. And spring for 'his' and 'hers' toothpaste tubes to avoid this by the way. :)
Now lest you think I was some whipped puppy before meeting Tonya, you're wrong. We both came into our relationship at nearly 100%. It is a common misconception that each relationship participant makes up 50% of the relationship to make a whole 100%. Well, horsehockey. How unfair it would have been to expect the other person to make us complete, dontchathink? In relationship math, 100% + 100% = 100%. Whereas 50% + 50% = future trouble in China town. Got it?
Unfortunately, couples rarely stay at 100%. What happens is a type of trade off. The ebb and flow of our relationship river of zen. I can have some humdinger days when I am not in sync, not productive, not happy...and not pleasant to be around. As trite as it sounds, that is when Tonya steps up. She really does complete me, or rather completes US. She pulls the weight for the both of us and our relationship stays afloat. I do the same when the roles are reversed. In the long run, by bouying each other, we gain individual and marital experience in maritime navigation. And the more experience we have at that, the less likely we will get lost amid a sea of distractions, perpetual unhappiness or isolation.
So I submit that it is not the never arguing that makes relationships suceed, but in having a relationship where arguments start and end in a respectful manner.
What if the argument is about a deal breaker or even the end of the relationship? For starters, remember that there is no such thing as a happy ending...if it were truly happy, it wouldn't end.
Secondly, nothing should be allowed to die a slow death. We all have deal breakers (or we should anyway). Things like infildelity, abuse, insane religious conversion, incarceration, NASCAR, whatever. And if that line gets crossed, if that boundary is obliterated, if that deal gets broken, then evaluate whether a professional can help fix it, or let it die. Endlessly arguing about it does nothing but generate unhealthy patterns for more arguing.
- Josh Billings
The important takeaway, however obvious in retrospect, is that the better we "hire" our mates in the beginning, the less likely we will have to "fire" them in the end.
In the last part of series Mating Growl (don't fret, withdrawl symptoms are natural and will subside with time) we conclude with our "State of the Male" prognosis. If you are catching the safari late, be sure to review the first 5 stops on our tour by starting here.