Saturday, January 28, 2006

What's Important

I have been reading some posts by other bloggers of late that seem to be pondering different aspects of relationships and what is important in life. I also have had similar conversations with friends. Last night a group from work went out to dinner together for our every-other Friday night gathering. There was a couple who I enjoy a lot who talked about their honeymoon and the earlier years of their marriage. The honeymoon story was not only very funny, but it highlighted how different we can be about our expectations of one another. This couple will be married 40 years this year. They have a wonderful sense of humor about their relationship, but it is clear how much they love each other.

So, I have been thinking a lot about what's important... in relationships (or realationships as I sometimes like to spell it) and in my own life that I will be facing soon as a single person. I think that friends will become more important to me as I cannot picture myself in another relationship after ending the current one. People tell me that I should not think that way, but at this point I am not very confident of making a good choice the second time around. Maybe I will change.

Right now I have a tendency to focus on those things that I have never had in my current marriage of 35 years as what is most important. Intimacy, affection, and respect from my spouse are what I think I missed. Trust is also important, but I have come to learn that trust can be misplaced. So I guess earning trust has to come first.

While running some errands today I was thinking about what I believe men and women consider important. Maybe it is not so much that what they view as important is different, but that those important things are given different priorities. For instance, most men and women would consider sex as important in a marriage. But I think most men would put it at the top of their list or very near the top, and women would put things like intimacy and affection at the top of their list with sex following somewhere down the list. It is unlikely that a healthy marriage could survive without any of them, but the priority levels differ. Women tend to view intimacy as important for a good sexual relationship, and many men tend to look at sex as intimacy, missing the rest of what intimacy is all about. Some men do understand, but our culture tends to discourage that knowledge.

So what is important to me? Well, in a realationship I think that intimacy, affection(love), trust, respect, romance, sex, responsibility, acceptance, some common interests, forgiveness... all have to be there... not necesarily in that order. Nor is that a complete list... if I were to take the time to list everything. People need to recognize and appreciate those things in each other that are strengths and forgive those things that are weaknesses. We all have our fair share of both. And where would anyone be without a sense of humor? Most of those things also apply to friendships.

Faith is also important to me. I have Catholic friends, Protestant friends, and Jewish friends. What we all have in common is a strong faith in God. I find that those who have strong faith, whether or not they are Christian, live their lives guided by their faith in God. We are all comfortable sharing our faith with each other. It is enriching.

I cannot imagine my life without my four children. I am very glad that my relationship with them continues to get better as they find their own way in life. I feel included in their lives, and I am very grateful for that. I know too many families where parents and children do not have good relationships. Even when I am a pain in the patootie to them, and they get exasperated with me, I know that they still love me. And that goes both ways.

So, here I am. I turned 56 this last month, and I am starting to feel like I am getting old. It is not that I think 56 is old. It is that it feels old to be 56 and single. I don't know where I will be living in a month or so. I am feeling very insecure about leaving my home and neighborhood where I have lived since 1976... thirty years is a long time. I now realize how important my home and neighbors are to me. Even the elm trees that I planted that have gotten so big are important to me. I suppose that I can live without the elm trees. I can always drive by and visit them. The fireplace in our family room will be missed. But I can always get another one, I suppose... fireplaces are very cozy and reassuring. I can visit the neighbors. It won't be the same as going out the front door to greet them and pop in for a visit. Rosie always is ready to put on a pot of tea for us. I can always call ahead, I guess.

But life does go on, even though it is different. After I am through this current funk that I am in, I am sure that I will start looking forward to having some new things in my life. Settling on a place to live will help. That is important. My blogging friends who are important to me will still be available to interact with on my computer... when it works... and I have realized how important you have become to me... it is like having neighbors that you talk to all of the time, but you just don't see... except in funny pictures, of course. Thanks for being there.

Oh, yes... cheese. Cheese is important, too.


Rachel said...

Well, I wish I had some great words of wisdom here but I'm afraid I don't! I think you just have to take it one day at a time. Since you are going to be moving that certainly will consume lots of your time and keep you busy until you are all settled in. Then I suggest you just keep busy with friends and do things that appeal to you! As far as future romance, I think if the right man comes along you will know it!!

Oh yeah, and I agree that cheese is important too! :)

Jim said...

Hi Rhodent--You sound like you are hanging in there pretty good aleady.
I think I would substitute ice cream for your cheese. Of course your rodents like cheese too.
One person's--mine--view on things like this is that there will be a lot of good once you get used to it. As a man, I cried for a while. It was very hard.
But, a little later single life got to be enoyable, sort of fun. I had three years of it before Mrs. Jim came along.
I wasn't looking for her or anybody else. Then she came.
We have been married 33 years now. It has been good. Perfect but not perfect.
I don't tell many my age, I'm 72. That is so you can put my experience in perspective.
These aren't words of wisdom as I really don't have any. That is just how it happened with me.

Rurality said...

Rho I can't even imagine what things might be like for you right now. I'm glad you seem to be doing so well though. A funk is normal and understandable!

Please feel free to call on me if there is anything I can do for you.

Sending you hugs. :)

Cliff Morrow said...

Hi Rhodent, I haven't been thru this but it does appear as tho you've maybe been single for sometime now. You are so right that your kids, and work, and the upcoming changes will occupy the time. Isn't time a wonderful thing, it can bring us down and build us up. I think time will only serve you well. By the way, I too, turned 56 just today.
I'm glad I don't have to explain to my everyday friends that I'm concerned about a lady in Florida I've never met. Most folks wouldn't understand unless they were bloggers. Check in from time to time Rhodent. We'll be waiting.

Ron Southern said...

You can be intimate with me, even without the sex! But you'll have to leave some of those rats at home! Anyway, you can now think forward to using some of the skills and charms you've developed (while blogging)on some real people for a change.

Alisa said...

Hi Rhodent,

Our family has a very similar background as yours, and we have been going thru a similar set of changes as your family. The one thing that I have learned through it all, is that even though we cry to think of the material things we have lost that are integral to our memories as a family, the bond between my mother and my sisters and I has not been shaken.

You're very right about "bloggers". I can't think of a nicer group of people to be blessed with as friends.


frustratedwriter said...

This post really hit home and I find your assessing the situation and determining what is really important in life refreshing. You blogging family is behind you!

Ralph's Homespun Headlines said...

What a post! I never have been through a lot of what you wrote about. The elm trees made me smile as I always preach about the value of trees making us put down roots. The tea pot made me smile as I truly belive in friends. Your blogger buddies made we laugh. There is an almost bald guy in Colorado praying for you.

Green-Eyed Lady(GEL) said...

I wish I could hug you and ease your transitions. That's very astute word reality not word play using "REALationships." I can imagine the rug being torn out from under me, but that is imagination not REALity.

This east coast woman welcomes you anytime. Thank you for all the times you brightened my days and especially nights, with various rodent pics. Your children are gems. I'm so glad you have them for support and love.

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