While we live in "strange days" where politics, our local economies, supply chain disruptions, racism, anarchy, chaos, high crime, and fear of a virus with a 99.7% recovery rate overwhelm our senses - there's one part of everyday life that our hearts and souls still need. Feeling connected and committed to a romantic partner.
Today marks the 60th wedding anniversary of my parents, if they were still living. My father died March 2016. My mother died November 2017. From 1960 through 2016, they were inseparable.
They were the best "marriage" role models for me, my brother and sister, my cousins, aunts, uncles and friends. They were two very independent people walking through life as a team. They didn't need self-help books nor marriage therapy to strengthen their relationship. They openly, lovingly learned about one another - warts and all. Where one was weak, the other was strong. And vice versa. They honored and respected their differences. Allowing the "strong one" to lead in areas where the other was "weak." They volleyed the ball often - without ego. Their ultimate goal: stick together as a team, stay in love, and have fun along the way. Laughter, honesty and physical touch kept their union strong.
They started their romantic journey with barely a penny in their pocket. My father enlisted in the US Army a few weeks before their wedding. 2 days after their wedding, dad headed to Germany. Mom followed him a few weeks later.
Their marriage survived the Oil Embargo (gas shortages) of the 1970s. The Oil Bust in the 1980s where they lost 60% of the wealth they earned. Then they earned it back. Their marriage survived infidelity in 1981 - when mom discovered that dad was having a 5-year affair with a woman who looked like my mom. Their marriage survived the murders of two of their adult children in 1988. Through the worst grief and marriage test imaginable, where 85% couples divorce, they stuck it out and got stronger. With no grief therapy. No marriage therapy. No self-help books.
Their marriage survived the emotional roller-coaster that my sister-in-law created in 1990: keeping their only grandkids away from them because my sister-in-law blamed my parents for her husband Mark's murder (my brother). They survived "Grandparents Rights" court hearings when my 3-year-old nephew screamed out "they're evil people! I don't want to see them (my parents) again. They're horrible and will hurt me!" Knowing he was just parroting what his mother said and felt. My parents stuck together and ultimately won the case. Even though their heart was still breaking from losing my brother and sister two years earlier. Teamwork, laughter, honesty, physical touch and allowing the "strong one" to lead when the other was weak. No therapy. No self-help books. Trust, respect, loyalty. "We will figure this out": their motto.
Their marriage survived almost losing me (their last "child") to death in 1998. When I was in a near-fatal car accident; died on scene then miraculously recovered. I stuttered for over 3 weeks and couldn't work, drive or walk too well - due to head injuries. Those injuries healed on their own and I recovered, without physical therapy or other therapy.
Their marriage survived my mom's heart surgery and her two "bouts" of Stage 4 Lymphoma, including chemo. Their marriage survived my dad's misdiagnosed dementia. Until he died of pneumonia at a bad nursing home.
How did they do it? They chose to. Two independent people honoring the love they shared. Honoring the vows they took. Willing to negotiate, listen and "volley the ball" to the stronger one - to fit whatever circumstance dropped on their lap. They didn't focus on changing each other. Nor changing themselves. They focused on which traits each had - and which traits fit the current circumstance in the best way. They honored and loved their "team"; their marriage. They knew how to balance work with fun. They knew fun, physical touch and laughter were as important to a good marriage as the teamwork. They didn't lose each other. They didn't lose themselves and their individuality, even through the worst experience: double-murder grief.
People talk about co-dependence, narcissism, love languages, addictions and such. The secret to a long-term interdependent romantic relationship versus a codependent one: don't lose your identity. Stay you. Be you. Let your romantic partner be him/her. Be honest with each other, even if it hurts. Know who you are. Know what you want. Be humble or honest enough to admit your truths and reveal the "real you" to your romantic partner. If you're afraid to be "you" around him/her: that's a real problem. Either you're with the wrong person or you've forgotten who you are. Take a step back and figure that out.
Don't settle for less than what you want. By the time my parents married, about 15 months after they met, their love had grown and they knew each other. They were real with each other. They were comfortable with themselves and with each other. They knew their strengths as individuals. They "volleyed the ball" even before they got married. If you don't feel that or have that, you're in the wrong relationship.
Some of my single clients still fear being alone. During these strange days of unnecessary Covid restrictions (99.7% recovery rate!!), some clients live in areas where dating is difficult. Restaurants, bars, outdoor venues are closed. Maybe they lost their jobs or income. They want to meet a partner. Yet Covid madness restricts them.
Angels say: "Find a way. Show you're committed to your heart and soul. Show your commitment to yourself. Date anyway. Physical dates. Not online virtual stuff. Don't get wrapped up in a relationship where all you do is email, text or talk on phone. Meet them! Physically. Think outside the box and just do it. Commit to it."
If you cannot commit to yourself and move toward what you want, how do you expect anyone to commit to you?
Love plays one role in a relationship. The entire relationship "play" has many plot-twists, characters and roles. The plot can change daily. Unexpected twists and turns will happen. To challenge or test your relationship. Know when to duck. Know when to roll with it. Know when to walk away. Know yourself enough and your individual relationship priorities (yours! not your partner's) - to make those choices.
Romantic relationships are a constant work-in-progress. Marriage isn't the ultimate goal. It's only the beginning. The beginning of a delicate dance filled with twists, turns, companionship, teamwork, mutual respect, loyalty, trust, strengths, weaknesses, honesty. You will learn about yourself more. Even if you think you KNOW yourself. You'll learn about him/her more. Acceptance, forgiveness, grace, mutual respect, companionship, teamwork.
My parents' marriage lasted 56 years. Through the biggest trials any couple faces. Losing wealth. Losing trust (infidelity). Losing kids (murders). Losing grandkids. Almost losing their last adult child. Cancer, heart surgeries, dementia. Their secret: they chose to stay together. Two independent people, loving their individual identities, creating a team-partnership. Volleying the ball. It's that simple. They chose to be a team.
Know who you are. Find a romantic partner whom you can love, trust, respect. Someone who's strong where you are weak. And vice-versa. Don't change them. Blend with them. Then create a team. Delicately dance through the twists, turns and challenges called life. Have fun along the way. If you're not enjoying being together, consistently, you're not having enough fun together. And you won't see the value in your relationship. Relationships are meant to be enjoyed. While you face challenges together.
When my parents were grieving their adult children. Attending criminal trials where they saw the bloodstained walls, photos of their kids' bodies outlined on the floor, photos of bullets that killed them, hearing what happened that day from the psychotic drug-addict killer - one thing they did often: held each other. They couldn't understand each other most days. They couldn't understand their individual feelings. Anger, resentment, the world crashing underneath their feet. There was one place they felt centered: together. Holding each other without speaking. Holding hands through the trials. Sleeping together. Physical touch. They relied on that. When they couldn't rely on anything else. I watched them grieve for years. I observed how they went from separation to unity. When you watch a couple that closely, you learn what makes a relationship work.
Wishing you love, joy and balance as you strengthen your marriage, romantic relationship or your sense of self that brings that special person into your life. Commit to love and teamwork. Make sure your partner does the same.
The Sedona Spirit Psychic, Robin Amanda