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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Love & Marriage



Over the weekend for my mom's 70th birthday celebration I came to the realization of something. Maybe not really a realization, but it definitely got me thinking about love, marriage & communication. My family, as crazy and dysfunctional we may be, have beaten the odds at something. We have all been together with our significant other's for what feels like forever. With the exception of my brother's 1st marriage that lasted literally a day, so I don't count that (it may have even been annulled, he was like 18 and no kids were involved), and my parents getting divorced for legal reasons but never separated, there are no broken families within our family. So what's the secret to a successful marriage/partnership?

Every couple is different and you have to do what works for you.

I think one of the biggest mistakes woman make is comparing their relationships to their friends, family members and worst, fictional characters in books, T.V. and movies. I am totally guilty on the last one. It totally bothers my hubby. That's why he hates watching romantic comedies with me.

I started analyzing my immediate family's relationships & gathered this. To some people being overly opinionated & blunt works, to others it's the opposite: lack of communication. Forgiveness, acceptance, toleration, sacrifice, perseverance, separation, dedication, thirst for adventure (be it miserable or fun), jealousy, overcoming tragedy, blissful denial, psychosis, courage, ying/yang, critical, chaotic, 50/50, 90/10, 60/40...it all adds up to 100%. Most of these are not characteristics with positive connotations but that's what my family is made of. Want to hear another insane statistic: My hubby's family is also the same way. His parents have been together for almost 40 years, his brother for 14 years, us almost 10 years & his sister going on to 5 years. We may all be dysfunctional but we are functional as a family. Like I always say; There is an order to my disorder.

While speaking to my family this weekend I was a little surprised to find out that my eldest brother's secret is LACK of communication. He says that he learned from our dad to never talk about your feelings. 
Men! Typical. However what he doesn't share is how bad he feels. He said that he doesn't worry his wife about issues with work or any negative feelings. They only discuss happy things.

My parents: Sacrifice, perseverance, and adaptability.

My parents were together for over 15 years before I came to be. I am not sure how they made it that far but I know how they have made it ever since. My parents legally divorced when I was born because I came as a surprise. I believe my dad was laid-off & freaking out about how he was going to provide for this new baby. My dad moved to NYC to support us from abroad. My mom and I spent the next 6 years back and forth from Honduras to NYC. 

So apparently my parent's first secret to a marriage is learning to have a long distance committed relationship. Most people may think that my dad obviously fooled around with other women being so far away. To those people I say, you don't know my dad. My dad has been madly in love with my mom from the very beginning. As a matter of fact he pursued her and she had no interest in him. I think it is safe to say that my dad loves my mom more than my mom loves my dad. Obviously that's ok, we just need to learn to let go of that resentment. When my mom finally moved to the States, the reunion between her and my dad was short lived. The family decided to move to Florida. My mom and I came down first but my dad never found a job that paid him as well as the one he was in. So they spent the next 10 years long distance...again. 

My parents just recently started living together again after my dad was laid off from his job in NYC after 25 years. It is like they never lived apart. They have assimilated into their cohabitation (not at all smoothly), but they make it work. In the words of Project Runway's Tim Gunn: MAKE it work. Another secret to a successful partnership.

That's a little inside on some of my family's relationships. I shall elaborate on my other brother's & mine a little later on in a different post.

Bottom-line:

Don't fall into the "norm" of what SHOULD be a successful marriage. Don't follow society's expectations. Newsflash! Society does not have it right! Look at divorce rates. Sure all those quotes about love are cute & dreamy. I have them all pinned. Who doesn't love the illusion of Utopian Love? See it this way. There is the theory of what love should be, but theories are challanged everyday and no one can really prove them right nor wrong. Here's the definition;

Theory: a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural ( problematical) and subject to experimentation, in contrast to well-established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact.


In my eyes, it boils down to this: commitment, hope, family and love. So experiment but maintain your partner as your constant variable (science joke, and yes I laugh at my own jokes).

What have you seen work in marriages, partnerships and relationships? Oh oh oh, book suggestion on the matter. True Love by Robert Fulghum. If you find a hard copy with a lot of notes and highlights it's my copy. I lost it in a move a long time ago. =) It looks like this:

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