Monday, September 10, 2012

"Moments in Love"

The title of this post is in fact a title of a song by Art of Noise, a song that this post is based on. I, for one, adore this song. My mom actually first heard it on the radio some time in the late 90s and went around to different record stores humming the tune in search for this mysterious track. Three CD purchases later, she finally found the track. Although, at the time all I really listened to (almost exclusively) was Ginuwine and Dru Hill, I still liked this track, as did all my siblings and anyone who had the pleasure of riding in my mom's car. As I grew older I continued to like it more and more. The older I got, the more I listened to it, the more the title made sense. At 10+ minutes, it's a long track but totally worth it, so give it a listen. If it's not to your liking, don't force yourself, you'll still get the message. I have yet to meet someone who doesn't like it so humor me and let me know if you don't (just to make sure y'all exist).

What I love most about this track is how it shifts in mood, to the point it reaches a very ominous, perhaps even a little frightening, mood at some point (@ 6:50-ish). It doesn't sound overly lovey-dovey either. It's sometimes serene, upgrades to a more sporadic serenity, there are pauses, and it even completely shifts into total chaos for a while before shifting back to the usual rhythm. I know these may not be the most technical descriptions, but hopefully you get the point. 

I love this song because it reflects the true moments in love in a way I feel is accurately depicted. It's hardly ever constant, far from perfect, but it still is love. Things will get hard, things will go wrong; over the silliest things or not. The important thing is to not give up so easily or too soon. It's so easy to face hardships and just bow out altogether, because in the back of our heads we somehow feel divorce is always a choice and many people take it the first chance they get. It's like the plane getting a little turbulence and you just jump off the plane anyway to avoid the bumpy ride. But where does that leave you? In the middle of Timbuktu, that's where! 

Sometimes the idea of divorce comes out as a horrible reaction, almost used as a weapon, without really considering the consequences of what's being said. Personally, I know myself to be a bit extreme in what I intend to do following an argument, which is why I like to put a lid on it before I say something I regret. So many different methods of retaliation go through my mind by the minute. Some are immediate and some are more long-term, maybe even evil. But after distracting myself long enough (time of distraction is proportional to level of anger), these reactionary diabolical schemes begin to subside and seem absurd even though the anger remains. It does tend to linger for a while. But eventually it does go away. Whether in a minute, hour, day, year(s), it does go away. Sometimes you need to put up with the feeling of anger for a while but don't let it govern your actions, especially ones you are likely to regret later. Therefore the idea of divorce should not be one borne out of frustration. And it shouldn't be announced to the world either, especially when it is most likely not happening. Now you have made your private marital matters public, and people will always wonder and secretly judge you for still being together. Keep such matters between you for as long as possible. 

Ultimatums like "do this or divorce" are just a low blow in my opinion. You're using your value to a person to get what you want. It's like your reducing the value of your whole relationship too just to use it as a bargaining tool. I'd hate to see the day they choose divorce over giving you what you want, and that is precisely what you're setting yourself up for. Divorce is not some sort of trump card. If you choose to do it because you're just not working together, then yeah I guess maybe that's fine. Although I believe such things could have been detected before becoming man and wife, that isn't always the case. In all fairness, there is always a point where divorce is imminent, and there's nothing wrong with that. But don't threaten with divorce every time things get a bit rough. On the other hand, don't delay the inevitable either. If you are destined for divorce, don't put it off. If you both feel that you cannot continue in the marriage, don't force each other to stay in order to save face or for the children's sake. Believe me the children are better off living in two whole homes than one broken one.

Now what happens when one side really and truly wants out but the other side doesn't in the least? To be honest, I really don't know. It's easy to tell married couples that they have to work it out, and that these hardships are normal. But they aren't all normal. There is a point where divorce is the only, perhaps even the most amicable, solution. I guess it's a bit pointless forcing someone to remain a part of a marriage they genuinely no longer find themselves in. In cases like this maybe it is best to just let go, even when you don't want to. But if you so desperately want out when your other half is fighting to keep you, maybe you may need to reconsider your decision (that is if divorce is not being refused merely out of spite). This person is fighting for someone who clearly wants nothing to do with them, doesn't that say something at least? At least half of you believe divorce can be avoided and you can overcome this. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

A Little Space Goes a Long Way

As promised, the issue of couples having the same group of friends will be addressed! 

It sounds ideal doesn’t it; socializing together with other couples (or singles), having everything out in the open. Just one big happy shillah. Something about the idea I find unsettling though. In my head, couples who always socialize together have one heck of a car ride home to look forward to! A lot of “why did you say this?” and “what did you do that for?” I’m sure. Let’s not forget “you embarrassed me in front of all our friends!” oh dear! What you see on the ever-so-popular TV show FRIENDS is not normal. It is not normal to always and forever be involved in a single group of friends together with very limited friendships beyond that. It is not healthy! It’s always good to diversify.

Sharing friends, or situations where ‘my friends become your friends’ are slightly worrying. Maybe I’m thinking with the end in mind here, and how bloody awkward it would be for everyone involved if the relationship didn't work out. Who gets custody of the friends?! Or if you're in the middle of an argument, who gets to hang out with the friends?

Seriously though, without being too cynical, it’s nice to have friends outside the marriage who are your friends alone. Sure your friends can come round with their spouses for a couples’ night every now and then, and maybe you even do share some friends. But make sure you have a social life beyond that, one that is your own. You don’t have to be attached at the hip and do everything together. Not every event has to be attended together; you’re no Hollywood or royal couple where people will talk if one of you doesn’t show. As Khalil Gibran so wisely said in the The Prophet
‘Let there be spaces in your togetherness’.
I can never ever deny the truth in the saying ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’. And that goes duly for a marriage. I mean your spouse becomes the single person you see the most on a daily basis, day-in and day-out. As much as the thought of being away from your partner might be too much to bear sometimes, you need a healthy dose of you! You need to allow yourselves to miss one another. So any chance to do so should be welcomed. True, you do share a life now, but that shouldn't keep you from tending to yourself - love thyself!

I don’t believe one must wait for an excuse to get some space either. Let him have his boys' nights and let her have her girls' nights. If you don’t get a chance to get space, then create it! I suppose people might be sensitive towards the idea and feel their spouse is running away from them or is fed up with them, or that in doing so you are actively creating distance. However with the right amount of distance every now and then it could ultimately strengthen your relationship (too much would be a piss take). Both of you should allow the other to get this space without any hard feelings. Let it be something you both accept from time to time - before the space appears after an argument or fall-out of any kind by force. Just a regular dose of space can do wonders to a relationship. Sometimes this space can be in the form of a weekly or monthly trip/ritual e.g. he goes hunting while she spends the day at the spa. Or it can be in the form of a longer trip like visiting a friend or relative in another city/country. Through such absence you can actually miss each other and renew that excitement of reuniting.

Just be careful you don’t drift too far apart. Allow there to be space between you but make sure that space is not constant. Allow yourselves to lead separate lives but do not squeeze each other out. To me this is also a sign of trust; you trust your partner enough to not have to be a part of and actively involved in each and every aspect of their life. However, if I am with someone whom cannot be trusted this way, actually I wouldn't be with them in the first place! I wouldn't be comfortable with someone who I have to track their every move to keep them in check. Don't live your life supervising your spouse; you will both grow to be paranoid and find yourself doing things you never dreamed of doing because of it. Also, make sure it's mutual; he can't get his guy trips if you can't get some sort of equivalent.

Believe it or not,  I've seen married couples who have assigned certain days in which their spouses can see their friends. Please don't let it get to that, that's just sad. I honestly didn't know what to say to that when I first saw it, and I honestly still don't know what to say to that now. You're not a parent here, you're a spouse. This level of control over each other's life is unhealthy in my eyes.