My husband and I did not push our daughters toward marriage. We wanted them to have a good education, careers and to travel, not to base their worth on having a man in their lives. For the sake of their privacy, I won’t tell you how that worked out but certainly not according to our plans. As the saying goes, “If you want God to laugh, tell him your plans.”
I believe that when you are not “looking” for a man or woman to settle down with, you are more yourself, more relaxed and it is more likely to happen. In that scenario, you meet someone and you are not trying to make something happen so chances are greater that it will work out if it is meant to.
The best way to have a long-lasting relationship is to look at it as a friendship and let it develop naturally. Jumping into bed when you first meet someone, while fun and possibly physically satisfying, often remains at that level and that’s great if that is all you are looking for. Whereas, if you get to know each other first and put the emphasis on that and having fun, there is a better chance for a long-term relationship.
Think about it this way: You fast track your relationship and have the dream wedding and romantic honeymoon. Yet, when you get into the reality of finances, housekeeping, family gatherings, jobs, likes and dislikes, etc. you start to see that:
- He/She seems to hate the mother that you love unconditionally.
- He/She drinks much more than you were lead to believe.
- He/She doesn’t actually like to eat in nice restaurants.
- He/She puts his mother/father before you always.
- He/She wants to control what programs you watch on television and more.
- He/She is racist.
We all know that people are usually on their best behavior when a relationship is new. Often we don’t see the nitty-gritty beneath the persona we are allowed to see in the beginning. However, there are usually signs that we ignore and we ignore negative signs because we want so badly for it to work. We say he/she is so good looking, so wealthy, so much fun and we want a long-term relationship or marriage.
When you see the signs, pay attention, because more than likely it’s not a one-time thing. If he/she gets drunk and insults your friends or family, don’t dismiss it as his/her just being drunk. People don’t do things drunk that they would not think of doing sober, alcohol is just an excuse. Don’t get into the mind-set of believing that he/she dotes on his/her mother or father so it stands to reason that he/she will dote on you because often it is just the opposite, she/he is number one in his/her life and always will be. And if he/she says that they don’t want a steady, serious or long term relationship or never want to marry, LISTEN. Many a man and woman have thought they could change a person’s mind on this subject and found out the hard way that the person meant what they said and the result was a broken heart.
I ignored all the signs that were actually fire alarms with my ex-husband. I enjoyedparts of him that were different from men I had been in relationships with. He was intelligent, interesting, could be charming and we had a lot of interests in common. I was in a long-term relationship with him before we married and every symptom of a sick relationship was there and I saw them but I thought I was “different. I basically rolled the dice and lost myself.
Everything I did not want in a man was right out in the open for all to see and I wouldn’t quit. Why? I was hooked on having a relationship and too lazy to get out. I used the good days to get through the bad as in “This too shall pass.” I hung on until I couldn’t any longer. I detached from reality to get through the abuse and latched onto the apologies and words of love and empty promises. I was as much at fault as he was because I knew better and the exit door was not locked.
It was a game of cat and mouse and I told myself that I was the true love of his life, the only woman (other than mommy dearest) that had ever truly had this heart and that I was good for him. I needed so badly to be loved and accepted that I took it where I found it, bad or good. The bottom line is that I didn’t want it to be known that I couldn’t make it work, didn’t want to be a failure and didn’t want anyone to know that someone would want to treat me badly. It was a facade and to this day I still have a need to let it be known that he still calls my mother in an attempt to hook and reel me back even though I have been married for 18 years. I also still need to let it be known that he truly loved me, yada, yada, yada. But who really cares?
Danny, my husband, and I dated for three years before we married and in that three years, we went through three years of couple and premarital counseling. I’m sure we both thought we knew everything about each other that could possibly matter. We knew a lot but there were things we ignored, things that have become issues to be worked out. Yet, we were in a place where we knew enough about each other that we believed that any obstacles could be worked out. We have worked through a lot in 18 years as all couples do. Though we have struggled at times, I believe that we would not have been able to get to where we are had we not known that the positive attributes made each of us worth hanging on to. These days when there are just the two of us, humor seems to be our best tool to resolving conflicts.
A good relationship takes time to build and will only work if all the right parts are there.