I happen to like the word relationship. According to Google it can be defined as “the way in which two or more concepts, objects, or people are connected, or the state of being connected.” Many things can connect us to others and we classify these connections with a host of words: family, friend, lover, spouse, enemy, co-worker, teacher, student, and so on. The relationships I tend to be most interested in are the ones in which two people choose to call dating, partnership, or marriage.
This week I’ve been thinking about those types of couple relationships. What makes them good? What makes them bad? What can make them better?
Three articles came across my social media feeds that fed my thinking on the matter.
- I Wasn’t Treating My Husband Fairly, And It Wasn’t Fair
- NASCAR’s Kurt Busch Testifies That Ex-Girlfriend Is An Assassin
- The Divorce Surge Is Over, But The Myth Lives On
The first is a woman talking about the realization that she hadn’t been treating her husband as the capable, intelligent, loving man she married. I can relate to that. I have fallen into that trap of stinking thinking, and still do on occasion. Part of it comes from the unfair expectation that one’s spouse can at every moment remember every preference ever mentioned, every detail ever observed, and anticipate every wish. In general, I think it’s safe to say that unless your spouse is indeed a mind reader or has a conscientious photographic memory there is no way to achieve a perfect record of synchronicity.
The second article about the assassin ex-girlfriend is one of those that at first landed in my dark humor. My first thought was, “Well if she is an assassin, she must not be a very good one to allow him to get out of the relationship alive with that bit of information.” On actually reading the article my thoughts began to think of the toxic, unhealthy nature their relationship must have involved to become this news worthy. I mean, it made it onto NPR!
The third article talks about the myth that half of all marriages end in divorce, which if you look at marriage statistics does not hold true, nor is the divorce rate in marriages still on the rise. If one really takes the time to think about it, people for the most part are not going around marrying at random only to change their minds just as randomly. When couples marry there tends to be quite a bit of thought in the decision, just as there is when couples divorce. People still choose to spend their lives with one another, and they choose to marry as a sign of their commitment. I don’t think that would be the case if marriage really only had a 50/50 shot at working.
Relationships are complex. In trying to understand them it is important to acknowledge this fact. As humans we are dynamic, constantly learning and adapting. Finding someone who will grow with us, change with us, and constantly accept us is a tall order. There are no guarantees. No certainties. Only possibilities.