I have been downloading free eBooks like crazy from the Kindle on the Cheap (KotC) page on Facebook. So many, that often I don’t know where to get started when I feel like reading something. This morning, I finished reading a fiction selection I started a few days ago. I decided to go the non-fiction route and started this:
It’s not a very long book, but I thought it would be a good read because I have pending nuptials, and I’ll take all the realistic information/advice I can. from what I’ve read so far, a lot of this applies to relationships in general, not just marriage.
In chapter 2, he dives right into the reason why most marriages fail. Our feelings of “being in love” fade, and then we see the person for who they are; then we find ourselves in the position of asking, “now what?” I can pinpoint exact moments in past relationships where this has happened. You feel that immediate shift from loveable to annoying, and 9 times out of 10, we start looking for the escape route. I know I did.
There were three statements in this chapter that stood out to me:
- “First of all, many children today are exposed at an early age to images of idealized love on television and in the movies. This causes them to believe that the fictional versions of infatuation they see in these mediums are actual depictions of the way love is meant to be in real life.”
Yessssssss! I don’t know about y’all, but I’m an 80s baby. I’m sure I can think of countless movies that had me ready to ride off into the sunset. How about Sixteen Candles, for instance. I just knew I was gonna find that Jake Ryan (except he was gonna be black, lol) to pick me out of the crowd and crush on me as much as I crushed on him. But seriously? We don’t know what happened to Jake and Samantha after he kissed her over that cake. They probably got tired of each other and shunned each other for the rest of the school year. LOL!
These same themes persist in movies today. They’re just re-written to suit today’s environment and trends. I’ve been über-guilty of getting totally caught up in that “falling in love” stage and not paying attention to the signs. Like the priest said in Fools Rush In, there are signs EVERYWHERE. We just need to pay attention. I made a concerted effort to pay attention when it came to HH. I had no choice but to really pay attention and talk to him. A lot. Being 700 miles away meant we didn’t rush anything physical and we could take the time to talk.
- “Then there is the whole concept of “soul mate” – a believe that there is an ideal person out there for everyone, and that true love can only be enjoyed when an individual finds his or her exact match. This belief that souls are matched in this way is inherently destructive, since it causes far too many people to avoid the hard work of love and settle for the easy emotions of infatuation.”
BOOM. I can’t say that I’ve ever uttered the phrase “soul mate” in relation to anyone I’ve dated. In my younger days I did believe there would be that one person who met the list of needs. Not that it was a long list.
Did y’all ever watch The Real World: Boston? It was season 6. I’m soooooo dating myself here. But anyway, there was a girl named Kameelah and she literally had this spiral notebook where she kept a list of 100+ things that her potential mate had to have. If she went out on a date or encountered someone who displayed behaviors she did not like, she’d come home and add to the list. LOL!
I didn’t have an actual written list, but I do know I had certain expectations for men. Job, status in life, number of kids, relationship with family…a lot of the typical things. It wasn’t until I let some of those things go, that I was able to click with HH and move forward.
I honestly don’t think there are soul mates. I just think you will eventually meet the person who inspires you to MAKE THE DECISION TO LOVE. You’ll both make it at the same time, and you’ll move forward. Waiting on a soul mate = waiting to fail.
- The third quote was about self-involvement. “The desire for instant gratification – coupled with the impersonal aspects of modern communications technology – has led many people to lead lives that are effectively isolated from their peers and even their potential mates.” He notes that the isolation makes us focus do much on making ourselves happy, that we don’t know what to do when it comes to making other people happy. “The end result is that many people who get married today lack the self-awareness needed to recognize how their behaviors affect their partners. Worse, many also lack the interpersonal skills necessary for identifying and meeting their partners’ needs”
Basically, we’re so focused on making ourselves happy, which is the antithesis of marriage. We don’t understand the concept of marriage (or monogamous relationships that lead to it), so we go into it doomed to fail.
I have had to reflect a lot on this last one. It seems like all the advice I’ve seen in the past few months from couples who have long term marriages, hinges on selflessness. What can I do to make my SO’s life easier, and in turn make our relationship stronger. I think this is something to focus on, even when you think your SO isn’t trying as hard as you. You can’t measure your effort by their effort. Most importantly, if you think they’re NOT giving 100%, can you sit down and talk about it? If not, it may be time to reevaluate. Or if you’ve talked about it, and they are not making the changes, what happens now?
In the words of one of my new (and favorite) co-workers: “I think you know what you need to do.”
And honestly, you have to get there before you even think about marriage or kids. In all the relationships I’ve had from ages 24-35, this is the first one where I consciously think about him and the things that would make him happy. Every day. And he does the same. I can tell by his daily actions (except for eating up all the good snacks in the pantry…but anywho…lol) that he thinks about me and us and what’s going to make our future easier.
Which brings me to my next point: everybody is NOT gonna reciprocate. They’re not meant to. You are not going to have a successful relationship with everyone you meet. Some of them are going to crash and burn. The problem is, we tend to put too much effort into the WRONG people. I certainly know I have. Honestly, when I look back, I can only name ONE person who deserved the effort. but I was too young, and didn’t understand relationships then. Still living in my Jake and Samantha world.
I think this is why we need to “date” until we get past that infatuation stage, so we can see the real people and determine if these “real people need to be together.” Sometimes they don’t, and that’s ok.
I have flaws just like HH has flaws. It is my hope and dream that we will work past those and have a long, strong relationship. I think we’re off to a good start thus far. Looking at where I’m at now, lets me know that I was nowhere near ready for marriage in my 20s or early 30s. I’m a totally different person now.
I can’t wait to read the rest of this book and see what he lists as solutions.
Do you agree with the author on his reasons for failed marriages?