I read something recently that was about marriage and partnership. It focused on what each partner gives up. And in this person’s analysis, what the woman gave up was way more than the man. I understand that conclusion, I have made it myself many, many times.
But I am not sure if it was the way it was written, where I am in my own inner life right now or what the deal is, but it didn’t land in me like it used to. Instead, what I saw was a lacking of cherishment. Not a word we hear often, but one that I think could use some fame...
Here is what I mean...
I think that we need to shift our thinking. I am not sure that we are ever going to get anywhere different if men and women who are supposed to love and support each other are constantly competing for needs. I think we need to make a fundamental shift to something like this:
We in this loving relationship support each other, each with our own offering of services, goods and metal. We who earn the money, we who scrape harden eggs off of the dishes, we who change the diapers, we who juggle being present at home while being inundated with work. Each valuing the other fully. Each contributing to the larger whole while sacrificing ourselves, our youth and our fleeting time. It is all work: emotional, hard never ending work. And there is never enough time, money or love it seems to make it feel like it is all worthy, noble work. So mired in the day to day grind that we lose perspective that each of us gives our life in service to each other, for each other. Every damn day. All while each of us longs to be valued, appreciated and loved.
What a revolution this would bring to all relationships, if we each valued what the other brought to it rather than a more score keeping economy where life and love and sex and responsibility are traded like stocks on the New York Exchange. What if we just saw exactly what the other contributed and used that as a catalyst, an inspiration to do and be more?
This idea will never solve the relationships that should have never been started to begin with, the people with all the trauma that don’t want to deal with it so they drink to excess or drug, or fuck others they are not supposed to, or shop, or mindlessly watch TV or check out in the millions of ways we can in today’s world. There are relationships that need to end, in fact they have been ending since their beginning. Those are not who I am talking to...I am instead talking to the others that are in loving relationships but feel dissatisfied. Feel under appreciated, feel lost or disconnected. To you, I say cherish. Do it even though your partner/spouse might not do the same...
It is easy to love and support when you feel equally acknowledged. It is easy to give when given to with ease and frequency. It is much harder to give when your partner is easy to blame and find fault. However, what would happen if you just started to look for all the good things they do, the kind, wonderful things every day? What might happen if you cut them slack instead of held them more accountable?
Most of us never know because we are so afraid to give more, that we hold the goodness inside us until it spoils. Like brilliant fresh fruit picked early from the vine, we hold it for ourselves, checking on it every day, appreciating it in silence but leaving it wholly untouched. Then one day, we reach for it, with much anticipation and longing, only to find that it is spoiled, rotten even. And we are lost within our own disappointment and loss. And so we blame, ourselves, them, society, work. And another sun sets where we were given an opportunity to love, to show up and honor and we missed it yet again.
I am currently in a relationship with someone who I feel cherishes me. I feel supported, loved, valued, honored and protected. It has been a very long time coming. And I feel all those things about him. I look at him with marvel and wonder. I am in awe of him and his kind, beautiful heart daily. Nevertheless I ascribe him bad motives often, mostly out of fear, and misunderstanding. He rarely knows I feel this way because I don’t share it when it lands. I instead hold it in, inventory it and then work it through. So far, I have never once reached the conclusion that it was really him...nope, always my own inner shitshow making a startling and drastic appearance in my life. There is always one intent, one reason that I fault find and prepare to leave...I am afraid that loving someone will result in the pain I have known in the past, and with all that I am, I wish to never hurt like that again.
But I have to remember that that pain saved me. That pain that I walked through was the thing that changed me for the better. I so prefer lessons where I get to feel good and amazing, but alas, it seems to always be the gut wrenching, hard, pain soaked ones that alter my life and reorient me towards things more spiritual. Without the heartache, I do not seek spiritual solutions...no, I seek more worldly ones like everyone else.
So when I don’t lash out, or blame him or worry about what might happen. I can be reminded of all the good things he does for me every day. I can review the kindness, the contact, the need, the love, the joy and all the many, many other wonderful things he brings into my life. I don’t ignore my own thoughts and feelings, but I give them enough time and space to air out a bit and then I do something scary and hard, I talk to him about it. And then I do the thing that seems most contrary at the time, I cherish the fuck out of him and his presence in my life.
I have gotten more wrong than right where love and loving are concerned mostly because I think that I didn’t know how to cherish. I didn’t know what that entailed. Wasn’t sure where that particular muscle was located in my body and never saw how it was connected and vital to all that I did, said, lived. But I do now. I want all those that I love to know that I cherish them. Really. Even if they leave me, even if they hurt me. I will always be better for loving, appreciating and cherishing them. And if I am similarly cherishing my own fucked up self, then I really can’t go wrong. I can’t stray too far because if I love me, loving others is easy.
I think cherish is the right word here...let's all cherish ourselves, our partners and the possibility of growing love today. Let the cherishment begin...