Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Disillusion Of Marriage; A Must Do

Every married couple faces a disillusion of marriage.  Go Ahead and read that again... yes, I said disillusion, not dissolution (scarred a few of you there perhaps).  Some call it the "honeymoon phase".  When we marry, we are generally deeply involved in a skillful illusion.  You hear people speak of "soul mates" and "the one" in soft lilting (always complimentary) tones as we begin to walk, hand in hand, down life's highway. 

Then one day it happens.  Like a dedicated groupie watching their favorite magician performing that trick that made them famous, you sit in the front row in awe. Then the unthinkable happens and they miss by just a hair and suddenly, for you, all the magic is gone and the trick is revealed.  This once enrapturing, unexplainable experience has been reduced to smoke and mirrors.  This amazing magician is just a man. If you have ever been a fan of magic or illusion shows you know that if you are around them long enough, this moment comes.  In fact, most of the time when it does it is  because the magician trusts you enough to show you his secrets.  When it comes, it comes with choices.

For some people, once they learn what's behind the scenes, it looses all it's appeal. They have a "been there, done that, got the t-shirt" attitude.  Others will find that they are still impressed with the dedication and work it takes to create the illusion and although it doesn't impress them the same way, they still enjoy it.  Some are so disillusioned that they run around ruining the show for everyone they can.  They pull rugs, yank sheets, break mirrors and whisper in children's ears "You know how they do that right?".  Loudly demanding their money back and simultaneously making many people, waiting to buy tickets, have second thoughts about going to the show at all.

There are a small few who will respond in awe.  Having the curtain pulled back increases their interest and intrigue.  Seeing how just a man with a few tricks up his sleeve can use such simple things to do something so big and exciting is impressive.  Knowing that you have earned enough trust for them to tell you their secrets and know you will keep them, builds the relationship.  From those, come fewer still, who will work right along side them and find the secret to success and smooth transitions... together.  They will work so closely that words are no longer even necessary.  A simple touch or meeting of the eyes will tell all.  They are the lifelong partners.  The ones who know all each others tricks.  They know if they have a box, some string, perhaps a table clothe and each other... they can pull off things that will amaze and astound you. 

Disillusion of marriage does sometimes lead to dissolution of marriage but it doesn't have to.  I want to share a stage with my husband for a lifetime.  Sure, I know "how it's all done" and I have seen some of these tricks a few times, but then I look at the audience.  I see the delight on our children's faces when we do something as a team and the young couples just walking in who are watching every move hoping to be able to do what we do someday and the older generation enjoying the entertainment of it all and I remember, I'm his partner.  Our marriage is not a show but it is not just for us either.  It is a working example and a very good source entertainment for all if you do it right.  Every time we work together we are something to behold.

*p.s. This was an analogy and no, I will not be dressing up like a Vegas magicians assistant... well not on stage anyway

Friday, August 23, 2013

When Do You "Owe" Someone An Apology?

I am a mother.  Therefore, believe me when I say, I have said "You owe your sister/brother/me and apology" a time or 7. Having not been raised by wolves, I have also had this said to me.  This last week I was presented with the question in a new way.  I watched as someone gave an apology upon request and it stuck in my craw like movie popcorn.  From that moment I have had this question spinning around in my little brain like a tornado;  "When do you "owe" someone an apology?"  Here is what I came up with (With a little help from my kids... who were sat down and forced to answer this in their own words. It might have felt a little like an interrogation to some, but they are so used to me, it didn't even phase them).

You don't.  An apology is a process regulated by moral compass and belief systems.  The only way to "owe" someone anything really, is to feel in your heart and mind that you have acted immorally or against your personal belief system if you do not give it to them (credit to my 17yr. old on that one).

Now if we assume that you have a strong moral compass and belief system (which does improve ones chances of not being in prison so I highly recommend it), then we can approach the question again.  I believe that you can indeed "owe" someone an apology.  I think that when you have upset, hurt, or emotionally wounded them by your poor behavior or attitude, that you do indeed, "owe" them one. As my 11yr old put it, "When you hurt someone because you are hurting, not because of anything they did". There are times when  people (especially young children) do not want to apologize and may not even mean it when they do, but we hold them accountable because they are still learning to respect others.  Most apologies (in my opinion) come from words we say or actions caused because we are tired, angry, frustrated and or just grumpy.  They are out of character for us and so, we say we are sorry for not treating people the way we have promised to treat them.

When do you NOT "owe" someone an apology?  This is where I think I got some proverbial popcorn stuck in my teeth.  When we say something that upsets, hurts or offends their self image or ego because your opinion is different then theirs and they feel you being right makes them look... wrong.  Perhaps you  hit a soft spot they're not ready to face yet. When you said what you meant and meant what you said to be heard not swept under the carpet. There is a difference between saying something catty to hurt someone purposefully and saying something honest that stings because there is truth in it, and well... sometimes the truth hurts.

It all really comes down to this;  Perhaps you can "owe" someone an apology, but an apology itself must be given.  It's a gift.  Like with all other gifts, it means very little unless it is given and accepted freely.  If you have to press someone to "give" an apology by telling them you think it's "owed", be very sure that it is really about helping them stay in their character and uphold the standard they want to  have for how they treat others (everyone needs a little constructive criticism from time to time folks) and NOT smoothing ruffled feathers because someone didn't agree with someone with more pride, power or, heaven forbid, both.