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Tuesday, May 19, 2020

The Contract; "Until Death Do Us Part..."

Good Morning Everyone!

Many of us are on the hunt for that one special person who will make us blissfully happy for the rest of our lives.  It comes naturally in our search to scan the landscape for our list of must haves.  The older we get that list has a tendency to shrink.  When we are young we believe we have lots of time and we toss out a lot of potential mates because they didn't meet our requirements in some small way. 

While it is widely believed that marrying for money is a shallow endeavor, there isn't one person who doesn't envy the man or woman who marries into money.  Many of us look back over our lifetime and are often found making comments like "I should have married so-and-so." and many times those comments are made because so-and-so went on to build an empire or become wealthy after we broke their hearts.  

I believe our list of must haves should contain three things and it should look something like this:

1.  Get along and communicate well.
2.  Belief systems are in agreement.(Belief in God or not, structure of a home, 
     children or no children, etc.)
3.  Ability and willingness to see things through to the finish. Commit. History of 
     committing and completing tasks, goals, etc.

If you think this list is ridiculous, consider this: People who work together who become attracted and end up having affairs are rarely the people we would usually choose.  It is working together on a common goal through daily contact that a bond is formed.  It's looking into eachother's eyes (Which is known to release Oxytocin after 30-60 seconds of maintained contact. This is known as the cuddle hormone. What do you think is going to happen after days, weeks, months or years on the job?) as you solve problems and work together day after day.

There were couples during WWII who met on the street and got married five minutes later just because both wanted to say they had been married and many of those people stayed married for fifty to seventy years!  Of course then divorce was less accepted.  We knew less and had less choices.  The key I think is to burn down the house and every bridge behind you if you want to achieve success at marriage. 

Quit talking about your marriage to others.  Quit complaining about your spouse.  Cut off the pornography, entertainment, and any other distraction that takes you away from your spouse.  Get busy building together.  Build a home, a fortune, a future, retirement, etc.  Quit allowing yourself to ruminate about what life would be like if you didn't have to put up with someone else's faults, crimes and misdemeanors.  

If we focus on the correct things at the start, maybe our chance of making marriage last will increase in a society that promotes divorce, jailing "abusers", (Not saying there isn't a time for this!) individuality, giving up and starting with someone who turns us on, falling in love before we marry, and the list goes on. 

Marriage requires a lot of forgiveness. If we focus on our own behavior and determination to keep steady on shared goals, the rest will follow. In forgiving one another we allow growth and development.  We allow a person room to make mistakes as they perfect their journey.  But when we say to them "You have no right to make this mistake and growth is not possible for you." we steal our partner's hope and we deny the possibility to overcome. 

Greatness of any kind is born out of hardship, desperation, lack of choice.  Whether real or imagined, the common denominator is that escape or turning back was not an option.  We have to be willing to absorb insult and injury without worrying about getting for ourselves.  This is not to say we shouldn't take excellent care of ourselves so that we can serve the relationship because we should.  Relationships increase our need for rigorous exercise, good diet with plenty of water and rest!  

I hear many people say that the stress of their marriage is killing them when the truth is; not taking care of themselves and their health is what is actually killing them.  Internalizing stress alone will not kill us.  Doing so without nutrition, sleep and water will.  Keeping our peace and our focus is paramount to a good outcome.  If you nourish your brain you are less likely to crash and burn and this is true of ANY type of stress.  

If you doubt the body's ability to endure stress I suggest you read about how long prisoners who are actually beaten and starved survive for years while living in a cage with little room to move.  The body can take a ridiculous amount of abuse.  Many times it is a determination to live to see their relatives again.  Sometimes it is determination to live to simply see another day.  It all depends on what their focus is.  

If you think you are under stress in your marriage then consider ImmaculĂ©e Ilibagiza.  She lived in a bathroom measuring 3' X 4' for 91 days with seven other women during the 1994 Rowandan Genocide.  During this time they were hidden by a minister who fed them when he could and implored them to be quiet!  Many times their would-be butchers would be within inches of them and the threat of being chopped to bits was literally a breath away.  They could not make a single sound during those moments and there were many.  

She goes on to tell her story in her book Left to Tell, about how under extreme pressure, heat and stress, she was forced to dig deep within herself during the worst suffering of her life, and find the most beautiful peace and forgiveness.  She talks of the forgiveness of the enemy.  She relays the pain involved in knowing her family members were outside the building being butchered and yet she was chosen to live.  Her commitment to survival enabled her to live a more blessed life than if her suffering had never happened.

A couple of Christmases ago my daughter and her brother-in-law were in heavy disagreements and not talking.  He was in the military at the time and knew he would not be home for Christmas.  He went to a local pottery shop and handmade a bowl for her.  The bottom of the bowl reads "Love," and his name.  That bowl is special to her because she has never forgotten that despite the fact that they were angry at eachother, he not only bought her a gift, he made it by hand.  The bowl is a tad mishapen but the only thing she sees when she looks at it is love

If a potter were handed a lump of clay with rocks, pebbles and glass mixed in it, they would do their best to work the clay removing the bits and pieces that did not belong.  To save the clay they have to make it into something, so they work.  While there may be little hope for the lump of clay until someone works it and shapes it, once someone does, everytime they look at the item they made they will think of the labor of love it took to make it into something.  And so it is with marriage.  

A society that promotes running away everytime we sense negative energy, hardship, difficulty, struggle, challenging problems, a husband who spanks us, etc. is destined to produce lazy and under performing partnerships. They are acceptable reasons society has given us to give up and throw in the towel. 

Are we approaching marriage wrong?  Should we consider building a good strong contract as though it were a solid business deal and allow love to develop later?  I think a peek into the true history of marriage provides significant insight.


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