Sunday, June 03, 2007

Resurrected bloggy thoughts

It's an odd thing, this blogging world.

I started the pomegranate tiger thinking that it was only going to be about me posting my own thoughts, my own opinions; me writing about what's important to me - in isolation - like the journals I've always kept, but in a public forum. Me, me, me.

What I didn't realize was that I'd discover such a wealth of ideas, information and creativity amongst fellow bloggers. So much so, that I now realize most of what I feel compelled to write about originates from things I've read on other blogs. It's become an unexpected education of sorts. The other by-product is that I have dozens of blogs started, but not finished; or finished, but not posted because I didn't think they were relevant or timely anymore.

So, I was rummaging around some of these unfinished, partly-finished, finished-but-not-posted files and decided to resurrect some of them. No guarantees that they make a whole lot of sense anymore, but I must have thought they did at the time.

So, from early May:

Love - Pt III

There’s an interesting discussion at TCK the Blog about “On Love” (Pt I and II). I was tempted to post a comment there, but realized I couldn’t express my feelings in a few short sentences.

My current notion of love and relationships is a far cry from the airy-fairy romanticized ideas I had in my youth. Being in love or lust – and in youth, it’s sometimes hard to differentiate – was a constant roller coaster state. “Real” love was dramatic - full of yearning, pain, with a hint of the tragic to make it all the more bittersweet; or it was euphoric – gleeful, laughter-in-the-rain /walking-hand-in-hand, and picnics in the park. I was obviously a victim of too many Jane Austen novels and Top Twenty radio.

When TCK’s White Smurf posited that some people mistake habit, comfort and security for love, I had to stop and think about it. I can see where an outsider might mistake a couple’s routine and comfort with each other as merely habit; and, admittedly, this might be all that’s left in some relationships. However, the reality for me (and I assume others) is that the security and comfort of the familiar is only a small part of what makes a lasting and loving relationship.

Sure, it’s nice to know he likes the right side of the bed when we go travelling, or that he takes cream/no sugar in his coffee, takes milk (skim only) in his tea, prefers red wine to white except for sipping in the summer, and takes my hand when certain songs play. I know that when I cook dinner, he’ll clean up. He’ll take out the garbage on trash day, and I’ll take the returnables to the recycling depot. Yup, we’ve got our habits and routines. We’ve achieved a certain comfort level with each other that’s reassuring. But it’s mostly housekeeping – a means to make things runs more smoothly. The really important stuff that constitutes the ‘love’ in our relationship isn’t readily apparent to the casual observer.

For a relationship to last, it’s got to go deeper than the first flush of romantic love and lust. Not that romance and physical attraction go by the wayside. But let’s face it, how many people can maintain the same physical appearance of youth (botox and liposuction notwithstanding) and continue the wining, dining, flowers and moonlit walks (or whatever it is that now passes as modern courtship rituals) indefinitely.

Other factors come into play. A few of my thoughts:

Affection: Passion with no affection doesn’t make for a long or meaningful relationship. If there’s no genuine warmth and “liking” of the other person, how can there be love? Some people call it love, but I call it in lust.

Friendship, humour and trust: People often say their significant other is also their best friend. A truism? Maybe. To me, a best friend implies someone you trust implicitly, someone you can confide in unreservedly and trust that it won’t be used against you in a war of words or one-upmanship. A best friend is someone who loves and accepts you despite your shortcomings. Without humour and the ability to laugh at oneself and with each other, how the heck can you survive everything life throws at you.

Commitment: When I talk about commitment, it isn’t the kind that comes because you make vows or sign a license. I don’t think people should stay together for the sake of a piece of paper. I don’t believe in abuse of any kind. I believe that people can change so much over the course of time and be so irreconcilably different that they no longer have anything in common.

I do, however, think a loving relationship requires an emotional commitment - a commitment to care and a willingness to work through the messy times as well as accept the inevitable changes that occur in each other. Part of the challenge is allowing each other to grow and change – sometimes in different directions - but still remain close and loving.

I think relationships, like individuals, evolve over time. It’s not the same in year thirty-six as it was in year one, but it’s still love.

Re-reading what I’ve just written, I realize it must sound a bit Pollyanna-ish to some. Not my intent. The truth is that a long-lasting relationship is seldom easy. If you take the time to scratch beneath the surface of any couple you think looks like they’ve sailed along effortlessly in wedded bliss, you’ll find it was anything but easy.


Joy said...

I realize I'm not the most observant person around, but have you changed the way your blog looks? It seems different.

I've been thinking a lot about love and relationships lately because of friends who are breaking up. I was married only 9 1/2 years and had short-term relationships since then. I tell people I'm a sprinter instead of a marathon runner in relationships, and I know more about breaking up than I do staying together. Reading about your marriage reaffirms what I've observed from those of friends and family. It didn't sound Pollyanna-ish at all but something enduring and very real. I'm glad you have that, and I hope you have many more years together. :-)

White Smurf said...

I think when it comes to love it is impossible to evaluate what others feel or how their relationship is. But I think you are right in it being a matter of maintaining the affection and the desire through time.

And it is nice to see you are still happy and I do hope you will continue so :)