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What makes us do

The things we do

That keeps me loving you

Imagination

And when you’re in need

Ain’t got nobody

Imagination sets you free, free…

When your relationship is headed for the rocks

Gotta use your imagination to get you back on top

                                                                                    –Tamia, “Imagination

I know there are many people out there who are living lives they never imagined they would live–good and bad. We go around imagining our mansion, our fancy car, our  perfect spouse, never taking into account that none of this is a foregone conclusion. Sometimes we become bruised, bitter and angry when all the wonderful things we imagined for ourselves don’t come to pass as we expected. We lash out at our less than perfect mates, grumble through our “not what I envisioned” job, and turn our nose up at our not new, not fancy cars and tiny apartments.

Everyone always tells us to dream big and aim for the moon–if you miss, you’ll land among the stars, right? But waht about when big dreams hamper nice enough realities? What about when you have all you need and some (but not all) of what you want.

I’ve always dreamed of being Superwife. I was going to stand by my man through thick and thing. We would struggle at first, but then we would thrive. I’d know what to say when he was hurt & beat down by life. I would feed him well and sex him silly. I’d keep him in church. We would fight fair & love hard. Neither of us would be damaged by previous relationships and associations, neither of us jaded by life’s little letdowns.

My husband would be Superhusband. He would think I was the most beautiful womanin the world, and thank God for me everyday. He would be a provider who made the best decisions for his family, having worked his way up from struggling to sterling. He would never cheat or lie, never be so emasculated and watered down by previous relationships and associations that he had to be violent, didn’t know how to talk to me, and couldn’t for the life of him love me or anybody else.

Yet here I am, life solidly off track for all those noble ideals/intentions. No one is a blank slate. We are all clearly marked FRAGILE: HANDLE WITH CARE, yet we continue to drop each other, have been mishandled and damaged–we are still valuable, yet all the more fragile.

I’m not married, so I’m not sexing anyone silly (no worries, Dad!…I’m officially an old maid :D) or considering myself responsible for someone else’s happiness but I try to imagine marriage & find I’ve torn my idols, so to speak.

I’ve had the opportunity to witness a “good” marriage up close & personal a few times. It’s nothing like I always imagined marriage to be, in any instance. If living with Pink Susie & her husband taught me anything, it’s that mariage requires some contradictions/oxymorons- separate togetherness, for one. You have to be together, but have some separate hobbies and me time or you get resentful and feel closed off. I actually know what fighting fair means. Some things never change. Stubbornness can be a virtue. Hollywood (and Harlequin) rarely ever get it right.

If I’m ever to be “ready” to get married, there are some fantasies I’ve got to let go of. I’m not every woman–if I could do/be it all, what would I need a husband for? He’s not Mr. Perfection (see my Relationship Files to find out what Mr. Perfect actually means–hint: it is not perfection :D); he is not going to get everything right. I can’t write other people’s responses. People have their own feelings, interests, worries. They have their own unique experience which inform their interpretations and responses. They have their own perceptions of what marriage should be.

Sometimes there is no right thing to say or do to make it better. Communication, loving , making a life, is hard work–rewarding, but hard. Most of the heavy lifting is working out our own internal issues & shortcomings. The problem can’t always be the other person. Sometimes, it’s our expectations of other people, who they should be, what they should do, how they need to respond to us & love us, that is at fault. Selfishness has no place in a relationship, especially not a marriage.

I’m working to move from a me-centric existence to a we-centric existence, and to build that existence, I have to change the focus of my imagination from an unrealistic portrait of what the future will be, to a more realistic imagining of a life that would be more fulfilling than any fantasy marriage.

How do you use your imagination in your relationships? What do you imagine for the future of your relationship? Is it realistic? Just because it’s great doesn’t make it unrealistic, by the way. It’s not my intention to force people to accept less, or expect less, but to evaluate what you truly want and need, and whether you are putting undue pressure on yourself and others to attain things you really don’t even want upon closer examination. Do you imagine your future relationships this way because this is what you’ve been taught to want or told is what you should expect?

I read a quote the other day that really brings it home: “Your true value depends entirely on what you are compared with.”–Bob Wells Evaluate your expectatios for life and love based on the value, the quality, you want in those areas, not by what other people have decided you should want, by the value they place on things. Compare yourself (and your relationship) with your idea of greatness and work together towards a shared ideal. Or get out of the boat.

That’s my two cents. Leave me yours.

 

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