Tuesday 04 January 2011
04/01 : What does marriage mean to me?This is an interesting question. I've been pondering this one a lot lately, particularly since it seems I'm only good at Happily Never After. I am aware that everyone has their problems and issues when in a relationship with someone else. There is always going to be that communication that doesn't quite happen which leads to misunderstandings. There are difficulties with finances, loss of work, an influx of unforeseen challenges. That's just how life goes when things get rough.
However, I'm beginning to notice that my ideals about marriage aren't corresponding with those men I've married. I thought maybe it would be a good idea to put down what I believe marriage to be, what is expected, what is desired, what is wanted, and what is needed. At least that will put a clear picture in the minds of my readers. Maybe I'm crazy, unrealistic, naive, foolish, a hopeless romantic, or I just don't get how it's supposed to be. What I'm hoping to accomplish by writing this is clarification.
Contrary to my marriage record (four, yes, I know), I do believe in true love. I have learned that love can endure anything if it's put as a priority. I know that love is stronger than any material things (although those are nice to have). I know love is the answer when two people are willing to work through anything that happens. True love is remembering that the person you partnered with is worthy of being cherished just as you are. The love I know doesn't fade or fall out when a challenge comes along. The love I've felt for my husband has made his every action endearing to me. I don't know how I'd live without him, but if he makes up his mind, I will have no choice but to set him free. That is NOT something I want to do, but it may happen. I'm not okay with that.
I do believe in soul mates but not in the sense of perfection, but with an accepting heart for your partner. I believe that when your relationship comes first, then your children, then your job, then bills, you've pretty much have a solid foundation for a lasting partnership. If you don't think similarly, or laugh at the same things, it would be difficult to share your stories, your beliefs, your life with your partner. Compatibility has to be in place or the soul mate thing is crap that needs to be shoveled out the back door (pardon that bad pun please). A soul mate sees you in the Na'vi sense. They don't just see your physical being, but everything about you both good and bad. Because love is involved, the flaws are fewer and the shining spirits become more enriched and stellar; IF both partners are on the same page. It allows the emotional gratification to blossom into a beautiful kaleidoscope of wonder and awe.
But as in any relationship, love isn't all that is needed for the relationship to work. There HAS to be a partnership of equals. There has to be accountability for actions for or against the other party. If you make a mistake, it needs to be apologized for because that shows your partner you value them. It shows that they are important enough to you. If you note that they're not acting like themselves, why not? What's going on that is creating a different environment than to which you've grown accustomed? I expect a level of honesty that isn't brutal, but respectful. I want my partner to care about my feelings, dreams, goals, and ambitions as much as I do about theirs. I'd like to believe that when I or they give my/their word, that it will be done. I am not perfect. I make mistakes, but if I do, I apologize for my slight. I don't set out to grovel, but I do want to make sure that I meet all three parts of an apology. I say that I'm sorry for whatever it is that I've done, explain what I did wrong, then try not to do it again. I'm not always good at that part, but I do try.
In a relationship, sex is a key part of intimacy. I know that's a common knowledge thing, but if partners aren't compatible sexually, then they are doing a disservice to one another. It's not fair to be very sexual at the beginning, then refuse all sexual contact. I've been guilty of this in the past, but I was dealing with childhood sexual abuse that in turn gave me a lot of hangups. I desire to have sex at least two to three times a week. Sometimes it's just not possible after a long day of running around, I get that, but having sex is an excellent way to relieve the stress the day caused. Having sex solidifies a partnership by causing a bond that allows for long talks into the night. It also allows for sexuality to be explored in all its glory. It allows a deeper understanding of the physical side of marriage.
As far as what I want, there are a few things. I want a home, not a house. I want my husband to be happy. I want my son to be happy. I want me to be happy. Not necessarily in that order depending on the day, but my family is very important to me. I want a working vehicle. I want a job that pays well enough that if something should happen, I'd be okay on my own. I want to be able to provide a comfortable lifestyle for myself and my loved ones. I want to be able to help my friends when they need it. I want to be able to take care of my four legged children. I want to have some land with privacy enough to run naked if I want to outdoors. I want to travel the country and other countries. I want to spend New Year's Eve in New York's Times Square. I want to watch the sunrise on the Atlantic Ocean and it set on the Pacific. I want to visit the major cities of the U.S. I want to explore life and everything it has to offer. I want to build a strong marriage on a strong foundation with an eternal ending.
What I need is smaller than that. I need to feel loved, valued, supported, supportive, needed. I need to feel as if I'm making a valuable contribution not only to my family, but to my community as well. I need to be as aware of myself as possible so I can make necessary changes as needed, IF needed. I need my friends and their support. I'm a package deal. I need to be respected as much as I respect my partner. I need to feel safe when I'm at home. I need to know that I'm not in this alone.
I don't know how realistic these things are. I know that I've developed them over time and in different relationships. I feel as if I may be wrong about what I believe. My lack of success in the marital world is proof enough of that. I feel as if I'm failing somehow. That maybe if I changed something about the way I feel or think about marriage that I could fix what is broken and look back at this trying time with a grateful heart. I wish I could wave a cloth over the happenings and it would be fixed, but my belief is that it wouldn't be fixed, it would just be hiding my head in the sand. I don't do well when I don't know what I'm dealing with. I do better when I know where I stand, what is expected of me, what is wanted, what is desired, and what is needed. If I don't have that information, I just get frustrated and angry. I become devalued in my own mind. I don't like that feeling. I don't want that feeling. I want peace in my home.
I am reminded of the quote from the movie "Shall We Dance":
"Why is it that people get married? Because we need a witness to our lives. There's a billion people on the planet. What does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you're promising to care about everything --- the good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things. All of it, all the time, everyday. You're saying, 'You're life will not go unnoticed, because I will notice it. Your life will not go unwitnessed, because I will be your witness.'"
And I would add:
Your life will not go unappreciated, because I will appreciate it.