A couple of our girls insisted upon my watching a YouTube video the other day and it is that video that prompted this post. I guess it was just meant to be funny and all, but the perspective some people have on relationships isn’t funny; it’s appalling. I have a household of young females with all the functioning body parts and drives of young adults but the sense needed to make good decisions will usually not take place till much later.
Naturally as a middle age man, I suppose I have an overwhelming urge to protect the young females from young males. After all, I’m a male. I know something about how they think. But it’s not just girls who need to be aware of entering a bad relationship. Most of my girls are products bad relationships. Over the years of working with children’s homes, I can’t name a single child who comes from a family in which the biological parents are still married. That is the one thing that virtually every child here has in common. I’ve been around long enough now to know many of these children become adults who will simply repeat the process of their parents unless somehow we are able to get through to them. What’s the problem? People are developing relationships with the wrong foundation.
The two most common elements many young people use as a foundation of a relationship are attraction and emotion. How do they look? How does he/she make you feel? Do you love him/her? These form a disasterous foundation because attraction and emotion are always temporary. Part of the problem is viewing love as an emotion instead of an action, but another huge part of the problem is neglecting what is most important. Strong and lasting relationship must have trust and commitment. You can have the best looking man or woman in the world, but if you can’t trust them, they will only bring about pain and heartache. Furthermore, if your in a relationship with someone who is going to walk away the minute troubles arise, that relationship is doomed from the beginning.
So as I’m watching the video entitled: “Why You Keep Asking All Them Questions (clean version).” The first thought that came to my mind was: Out of all the things my wife and I have fought, disagreed, and argued about over the years, we never seem to entertain the thought that the other might be cheating. Whenever, my wife has asked me where I’ve been, there has never been suspicion of foul play, and that goes both ways. No have we ever felt that the other up in our business. The second question that came to mind was: why would anybody want to be in a relationship where you felt the need to ask such questions?
My wife and I don’t have many secrets. There’s not much room for personal space in our marriage. My wife and I know each other’s passwords, there is no apprehension about picking up each other’s iPads, phones, or computers and looking around. It is not a violation to thumb through a wallet or purse or to read one another’s mail. We don’t usually go through each other’s things, but there is no threat if we did. Why? Because there’s trust. Trust takes a long time to earn and it can be lost immediately, but trust is a necessity in a lasting relationship.
I don’t me or my wife consider ourselves attractive people. But I don’t think that was ever a criteria in the relationship. I was older and I had already learned a hard lesson from attraction and infatuation. What I wanted was somebody I could trust and somebody who could put up with me (which is not an easy thing). I had a lot of baggage and I needed my spouse to know me, all of me. I wanted her to know everything even the things that I had kept a secret from everybody else. I didn’t want a marriage build on any kind of secrecy or deception. This was not easy for either of us, but after all was said and done, she’s still here.
I knew I could trust her long before we ever said our vows. It’s this trait that drew me in more than anything else. She has such a sensitive conscience that I can’t imagine her cheating on me, and if she did, I know she would punish herself more than anybody else possibly could. Trust begins with the little things and grows from there. After twenty-six years trust is either very solid or it doesn’t exist at all. With all the storms my wife and I have faced over the years, my greatest security is knowing trust is solid, and that means everything to me.
Just as important as trust is the security I can have knowing she will be there. I think everybody knows the tradition wedding vows: for better or worse, richer or poorer, sickness and in health, etc. People may say those words, but many have no intention of sticking to those words. In an affluent society people are used to getting what they want. If you can’t get what you want from one person; go to a different person. If there is a better offer on the table, that is the one we are conditioned to take. But that doesn’t work for lasting relationships.
Only hard times can determine true commitment. Sometimes hard times can push us to a breaking point. It takes a real commitment to stick with somebody even when you know you would be so much better off without them. A number of years ago I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. The only person I knew with the disease at the time was a woman who could not function at all on her own. Within a couple of weeks my body was numb and I was losing motor skills at an alarming rate. I was scared, really, really scared. Walking was difficult and I thought I would be in a wheel chair very soon. I had no idea how I would work to support my family and I became deeply depressed. In time, things got better and it turns out I have been incredibly lucky. Through the process I saw my wife’s commitment. I don’t deserve it, but I am forever grateful.
Our marriage has never been picture perfect. So often we are total opposites and we both get on each other’s nerves a lot. We don’t share the same interest, we don’t enjoy the same activities, we can’t always agree on various decisions that are just a part of life. We argue about kids, family, house cleaning, responsibilities, work, religion, and of course politics. You name it, we’ll fight over it and these are not minor disagreements. But there is somethings that transcend whatever disagreements we have: trust and commitment.
A while back I found an anniversary card with a cat and a dog cuddled together on the cover with the caption: Somehow it works. Yep, that describes it perfectly.
So, I will conclude with some suggestions that I believe will sift the keepers from the scum for any young readers contemplating a committed relationship.
- Be totally open. If people can’t accept you for who you really are then they can’t accept your, period.
- One of the greatest gifts you can give your spouse as a wedding gift is your virginity. Even if you’ve already thrown your pearls to the swine, there is still benefit in abstinence in determining a quality mate. Scum will never wait. A trustworthy and committed person will always respect your religious beliefs and your desire to wait. A selfish person will not.
- Watch how they treat others. If they are a jerk to others on a regular basis, chances are pretty good that they will eventually be a jerk to you.
- Forget about appearance. Some of the best people are unattractive and some of the worst are. In the long run, looks are not what’s going to matter.
- Be sure to exemplify the traits you desire from your partner.
Now it’s time to share your own thoughts. Please feel free to leave a comment.