A few of my friends recently told me I should write about relationships. Maybe they didn't see my Oatmeal post, or the one about Valentine's Day, but they were a step in the right direction.
Of course, my initial reaction is...me? Somehow, I find this amusing since I apparently am not very good at marriage (twice divorced) and my relationship with my daughter is the longest I've had. I don't mean that in a bad way, it just doesn't make me a relationship expert, but I will say, I have lived and learned, and that's the place I come from.
It wasn't that I wasn't good at marriage, really, I just didn't make good choices. I was raised on fairy tales. You know, Cinderella marries the handsome prince and they live happily-ever-after.
Commitment I understood, but nobody mentioned the fundamentals that make a marriage work like shared goals/priorities and values. I only learned about that after I was married the first time, and it wasn't in therapy. My 'aha' moment came while I was driving and listening to a show on the radio about relationships. A light bulb went off in my head when I realized that's what was fundamentally wrong with my marriage. What an eye-opener, and from there, I approached my next, what I thought would be a long-term, relationship in a whole new light. I had taken the time, to grow as a person, and I was more emotionally equipped plus I had heard Dr. Phil talk at a seminar in Boston. This was just after his first book was published and long before his talk show. He talked and I listened, and my biggest takeaway at the time was that I didn't have to be half of a relationship to be a whole person. It didn't exactly match-up with the whole fairytale ending, but I could completely relate. By that time I was living and working in Boston, and I had great friends, and a nice life. I wasn't looking for a relationship the next time around and so it caught me by surprise. It just never occurred to me that someone would actually lie about his values which led to the imploding of the 2nd marriage in under one year.
It's been 10 years since then, and although I never swore off the idea that the "third time is the charm" I haven't exactly been out there looking either. Until lately, it had been years since I even ventured out for a 'girl's night.' At this point in my life, commitment has big shoes to fill, or maybe it's just that I finally expect more. Now I want what is defined as mature love (about.com) that is built for the long haul. The concept is pretty basic, and frankly I think we learned these behaviors in Kindergarten. Now I just want them in my relationship. Mature love includes acceptance, emotional support, commitment, calmness, respect, caring, kindness, friendship, and consideration. To encapsulate that and more, I want to be 'cherished.' In the Merriam Webster Dictionary, to be cherished is defined as, a : to hold dear : feel or show affection for, and b : to keep or cultivate with care and affection.
It's about time...