Debbie Hatch | Family & F.I.T.
No, I’m not a relationship expert.
No, everything isn’t perfect in my life or my relationships.
No, my husband and I are not currently having problems.
No, I’m not always in a good mood. I’m not always positive.
No. This isn’t about me. Specifically. Or “you”. It’s about all of us.
No, it is not my intent to preach.
Hell, it’s not even my intent to give advice.
All I want to do is provide some observations, gathered over 5 decades of watching/studying people, and see if I can get you to think about a few things.
People frequently push my buttons, and, as you will clearly see in tomorrow’s blog, I still annoy people: sometimes by doing nothing except being myself. That’s life. I am a kind, caring, and honest person. I am more true to myself these days than I have ever been. I love helping others. Some people are still not going to like me and I don’t care to take the time to try to convince them any more.
We aren’t going to jive with everyone. No matter how open we are to “finding the good”. I do believe (with all of my being) that everyone has some good quality but it may be buried deeper than I care to expend the time and energy looking for. Sometimes establishing a relationship with “this person” isn’t worth the effort it would require from me.
That’s not what these musings are about.
What I want to talk about, is the sadness of forgetting just how important the most treasured people in our lives, are.
We all do it. To some degree. As we begin October, I see the sunny dispositions of spring and summer quickly wearing off. Those days of carefree fun and warm love are cooling quicker than the fall weather. Negative emotions are rising as the temperature begins to drop. People are becoming more sad and troubled. It’s a cycle.
Buy you know what? Relationships require work.
Yes, I said that. Regardless of how well suited you might be for one another, how carefree most days are, relationships require work. They don’t “just happen”. Things don’t magically fall into place, leaving us without a care in the world “so long as we are loved”. That stuff makes for great movies and even better music, but it’s as temporary as the vibrant leaves on these trees in my yard.
Relationships require work.
Work groups do.
…and, yes, Families and coupled-relationships do.
First, take care of yourself. It’s not selfish. I saw this statement the other day and it really conveys what I’m trying to say.
But don’t JUST take care of yourself. We need to take the time, to put in the concentrated effort, to get outside of ourselves, and let the other person know how important they are.
No, they shouldn’t “just know”. No, merely saying, “I love you” (even 100 times a day) doesn’t suffice.
No, just because we do the laundry, or take care of the kids, cook dinner, or work hard at our jobs to be good providers: just because we “are here” doesn’t cut it.
Each of us is different. The things that make me feel appreciated and cared for seem petty and ridiculous to my husband (he has zero desire for me to send him flowers to work). The things that make him feel loved don’t make a lot of sense to me (I prefer to wash and wax my own motorcycle…to me, that’s an accomplishment, not an expression of love).
There are a ton of books out there and, although they’ve both been around for a long time, I have no hesitation in recommending
but all of the books, all of the articles, all of the studies, boil done to just this one sentence:
The love you give to the other person should be given in a way that will make them feel special. It is for them, not for you. …and vice versa.
Put some thought into it. Showing that you care doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. Get creative but go out of your way to let the other person know they’re special.
We do this all the time when we’re dating. We want to! We enjoy going out of of way.
- We spend hours on the phone with that person – even though we have a ton of other things to do.
- We drive far out of our way (I used to bake pies for my husband and then drive 2 1/2 hours to deliver them before I went to work), and change our schedule, just to see that person.
- We listen to everything they say, intently.
- We cue in on what’s important to them and plan those special little dates.
Does any of this sound familiar?
Why, then, once we have decided to spend the rest of our life with this person, does much of that end? We get comfortable. We are engulfed in day-to-day routine, consumed with responsibilities, raising children, paying the bills, getting ahead…..everything
Everything takes priority and we forget to appreciate and foster a relationship with the person we care most about. It’s not even that we take them for granted. It’s that we act as though they are a bother; interrupting the “important” things we’d rather be doing.
So, here’s something to think about. I’ve seen it in numerous places for about ten years so I can’t specifically give a proper citing and don’t know who actually said it first. It wasn’t me…but it is (oh so very) relevant.
Picture your relationship as a piece of paper. Crumple it up. Stomp on it. Twist it. Do everything short of ripping it.
- This may seem a bit melodramatic, but the reality is that many times we do this very thing to our relationships.
- We don’t go far enough to destroy (or rip) them but we’re certainly not too careful with that paper either. Bah. Whatever happens, happens.
Now, imagine that one day, you wake up. The other person is angry and frustrated with you. Maybe they’ve gone so far as to threaten to leave. You feel horrible. You apologize…profusely. You try to undo the damage to your paper, and your relationship. When we un-ball this thing though, it does not go back to the way it was.
- No matter how much we smooth it. No matter how tender we are with it. No matter, even, if we get out an iron and work on that piece of paper for the next while, or apologize over and over, it will never been a plain, crisp, unwrinkled piece of paper.
- At best, it becomes a piece of paper with smoothed out crevices and wrinkles.
Here’s the question: for each of us.
Are you treating the people you love, like they mean something to you?
One of my mentors recently shared the South African word “Sawubona” with me and I want to share it with you as my final thought.
It literally means, “I SEE YOU” as to say, “I respect and acknowledge you for who you are.”
In return, people say “Sikbona” which literally means “I AM HERE” as to say “When you see me you bring me into existence.