I’m on revision #
32 #38 with this particular post. I know what kind of message I want to convey, but am having trouble not sounding like a pompous ass or a know-it-all. I do believe that the sum of my experiences and the long talks I have had with my friends has given me some insight. It is true however, that even though I can commit these words down to paper, it is still a learning process within my own life and my own relationships. I’m going to try to share some thoughts with you and have to ask you to forgive me if it comes out wrong. This post is about marriage, about friendships and about evaluating the core common threads that connect us to people in our lives. Regardless of your marital status, I am hoping that you will still get something out of my ramblings.
I have learned during my marriage that there is a common thread that connects us. I believe that this is the case for most people, whether we are thinking about our spouse or our friendships. The difference is simply how strong those fibers are in your thread. You can really do some serious soul-searching on the strength and makeup of those fibers if you think about why you share your time with that person in the first place. My husband and I share the same value system, we are nerds, we love to have intellectual discussions and question just about everything and we both have a very weird sense of humor. I am thankful for the years we have shared together including all of the ups and all of the downs. It’s real and imperfect but at the core we both care about what the other person thinks and feels. Let me repeat that because it’s important. We both care about what the other person thinks and feels. This is our true common thread. This common thread also connects me to the people I call my friends.
When people first get married they may suffer from Cinderella syndrome. This is the belief that just because they get married, that marriage will “work,” because that’s what is supposed to happen. In some ways this was my philosophy during my first marriage. We both failed to examine whether we were a good match on many different social, philosophical and emotional levels. When things went south, that common thread shredded so fast that there was only one way to survive and that was to let go and find our separate truths. Twenty-two years later we are on pretty good terms. I was a bit more realistic going into my second marriage.
During these “midlife” years, I’ve been hearing more and more from people who are struggling with their relationships. Friendships that were formed when the kids were little may fade away when those same children become their true young adult selves and choose different friends on their own. Spouses who used to enjoy each other’s company are side tracked with the daily activities of life and may drift apart. The foundational strength of your relationships become even more important, and it becomes more important to identify the common threads and fibers that connect you with the people around you. Sometimes we find that they were weak to begin with and at other times we just need to rediscover each other.
Then there’s the other side of the coin.
Betrayal, abuse and cruelty infused marriages and toxic friendships are not healthy. These situations break hearts. If married, a person may believe that they stay for the children. I can certainly understand this concept, but only if you can ask yourself a question and answer with complete honesty. What does your marriage actually teach your children? This is such an important question to answer. Your words to your children only go so far. Your children will look at their childhood and their youth in totality and will put together the picture you have painted on your relationship. Chances are they will internalize those things and may even repeat the history they have witnessed. Abusive relationship? Love and abuse go together, that’s the lesson they have learned. Infidelity? This is how to treat your partner, like they are disposable or not good enough. The cycle continues. Put on your oxygen mask before attaching one to your child.
I’ve said this before in past posts but sometimes the easiest person to lie to is yourself. I’ve seen so many people fool themselves into thinking they are sacrificing themselves for the sake of their children when really all they are doing is teaching their dysfunction in the strongest way possible, through their own example. How can we do right by our children if we can’t do right in our own lives? I’m not against the sanctity of marriage, I’m just against only one person participating within their marriage. The same rules goes for friendships. A true friendship has an even give and take. In both marriages and friendship, when one party is extremely selfish it creates discord and does not represent a true partnership.
I was single for six years between my first and second marriage. They were some of the happiest and most fulfilling years of my life. This was a time when I truly found myself and learned so much about who I was and who I wanted to be, a time when I learned to value myself and those around me in a healthier way. It is very true that you can be lonelier with someone than without someone. For all of those men and women who have chosen a different way because it was healthier, I honor and respect your decision and courage. There is joy in respecting and loving yourself. For those of you who are sad and doubtful, confused and scared, I send you love and prayers.
It is common to reflect and question this time in your life. I am a firm believer that relationships with strong foundations and strong common threads can weather any storm. I’ve seen so many people come out of those storms stronger and happier. In many ways they’ve recommitted and re-established why they are together in the first place. I’ve also seen people refuse to give up even when their lives have become destructive and toxic. People who give more and more and receive less and less within their friendships and in life in general.
What is your common thread? What is your basic foundational need within your relationships? Whether you are single or married, the truth is that life is too short. Live your best life and surround yourself with people that share your values and common threads.
I’m going to click publish now. It’s a bit long and convoluted but I’m done. I can’t even read this again for editing purposes!
You deserve love. You deserve respect. Happiness is a journey. Take it! Thank you for once again reading my ramblings. Sending you a virtual hug!