The one thing I did more than any other while I drove this countries highways and byways was ponder over how people interact with one another. Because of one failed marriage before becoming a truck driver and a broken engagement in my early years of driving, I spent much of my time musing on relationships. The thing what always bothered me was how we tended to treat those we said we loved the most, the worst. What I mean by this is; if you stated to a person that you love them enough to spend the rest of your life with them, raise a family, and eventually grow old together, shouldn’t you treat them better than you would a friend, a cousin, or a co-worker.
Anyone reading this can think of an example of what I am discussing here. We call our spouses or mates names we wouldn’t even call one of our softball buddies. When was the last time you or someone you know punched out a family member or best friend? Why is it we will come home from a long hard day at work, tired and crabby and take it out on our beloved mate? On the other hand, if we meet a bunch of co-workers after the same day for drinks, it’s all smiles and laughs about those things that make you so irritable in the first place. Why do we use that one person we once told we love above all else as our personal whipping post, whether figuratively or literally.
I am a man who is ending an ugly relationship, but I speak of this from both sides of the isle. Men abuse their spouse and women use a man’s need to end a conflict as quickly as possible to manipulate them. Yet at some point and time, early in the relationship we cannot live without each other, and that special someone can do no wrong in our eyes.
Where do we lose sight of the promises made?
Women more so than men romanticize about love, but men have written many a romantic story that make women swoon. Therefore, we all seek romance; that euphoria brought on by a wink, touch, or smile from that person who has captured your heart. In those wonderful early months, sometimes years of a relationship, there is no darkness.
I know we all have responsibilities, jobs, kids, family, in-laws, that can put pressure on even the best relationship, but why does it have to get ugly. In the early days of our relationship, shortly after our youngest was born I would come home from work miserably crabby. Only growls would come from my word hole, it was as though no words were available. It was not because I was unhappy to be home, but because I hated my job so much. I neglected to leave it in that dusty yard where I parked my truck. My wife made it perfectly clear one night that it was not her or the kids’ fault that I was unhappy with my job. Therefore it was not fair for me to take it out on them as a group or individually. She was right, it took some rearranging of my basic psyche, but eventually I managed to change my overall mood by the time I got home. It was a long drive home so I had plenty of time. I made the change because I remembered my musings and my promises to her in our early days.
Too bad, she could not return the favor. I am not perfect, I make mistakes, and occasionally punished her for things she did not do. However, if things had been different over the last sixteen years, I would very likely do better. I know in my heart that if I had found what I was looking for, and not what was available, I may be living the fairy tale.
Relationships are about working through the disagreements and compromising where there is no agreement. Too often, that is not how things are resolved and that is why we lose sight of the fairy tale. Human beings are a selfish lot and we don’t like to hear the word “no”. Some of us are less tolerant than others of that simple word, but all of us wish we never had to hear it. In to many relationships it becomes about how much we have given up, resentment builds, and we forget those vows made so long ago.
I plan never to marry again; the idea didn’t appeal to me the first two times and appeals less now than ever before. However, if I ever met a companion that can truly compromise and learn to live as a couple, then I may be able to settle down with that person and watch her grow old, living happily ever after. I know it’s possible, I have met many couples that have been together for decades and you can tell by how they interact, they are just as happy today as they were in those wonderful early days of discovery.