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A train of thought. Want to jump on? November 24, 2009

Posted by Jordan in Thoughts.
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Here’s a train of thought that I’ve kind of been mentally kicking around a lot recently. My housemates (a husband and wife who I’m extremely close with – we’ve all known each other for years) and I were talking about relationships (of the romantic variety, of course – as if you’re surprised), and about the reasons people remain involved in one as opposed to ending it. I think that the apathy often exhibited – whether or not it’s done intentionally – towards the whole thing is frightening. Here, then, is the main idea, the main thought, that really resonates with me and that I wish was more widely understood:

People need to judge their relationships based on the presence of what is great, not the absence of what isn’t great.

Let me attempt to explain. It’s far too easy – and far too common, unfortunately – to just set your relationship standard really, really low. Doing that makes it all too easy to lull yourself into a false sense of satisfaction, because, hey, your relationship is pretty much guaranteed to be a success! Going by that messed-up evaluation, anyway. It’s going far beyond the lowest common denominator – what I’m talking about is when people measure themselves against nearly the lowest POSSIBLE denominator. It’s such a cop-out – “Well, we haven’t yelled at each other today, no one threw any pancakes out of anger at breakfast this morning, and we don’t really MIND each other – yeah, we’re all good! Why not, right? I like the company, we have some fun … what’s so bad about it?” Just … no. NO. That’s the COMPLETELY wrong lens to look through. I mean, if you set the proverbial bar unnaturally and unrealistically low, then of COURSE it will be easy to jump over it. Duh. It’s apathy manifesting itself in the worst of ways. When someone is asked about their relationship,  the response that should come naturally should be the rattling off examples of how/why theirs is great, not how/why theirs doesn’t suck. Understand the difference?

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Comments»

1. Pange - November 24, 2009

Jordan,

I totally get what you’re saying and I understand it, but (and come on, you knew that was coming) can you admit that there is value in commitment? There is value in sticking with a relationship, with a person, through the ups and downs of just…life. Relationships are not static. They ebb and flow like anything else. And sometimes, no matter how much you love the other person, the best you can do is “well, we didn’t throw pancakes at each other at breakfast this morning.” (Love that imagery by the way.)

Is it different because I’m looking at it through a married woman’s point of view? I don’t know. Possibly. My husband and I have been married for 8 years next week and Lord knows that sometimes all we’ve got is “the absence of what isn’t great.” Because anytime you have a relationship with another human being, you have to accept all of them. It doesn’t mean you’re going to like everything they do or everything that they are. It doesn’t mean that it’s always going to be easy and made up of lazy Sunday mornings in bed with the paper. Sometimes you just have to keep slugging it out and sticking with it through sheer determination. Are there times that I wish my husband had the heart of a poet and worshipped the ground I walk on? Sure. But I love him and I know he loves me and, even when things are hard like this past year, we just keep doing the best we can.

Does that make sense? I feel like I’m rambling. LOL Anyway, great post. Very thought-provoking. =)

Hope I get to see you in Dallas in December for some of the concerts!

Angie =)

2. snmlamb - November 25, 2009

Jordan,

I have to say I agree with Angie. Not that your way isn’t ideal and what we should all strive for, but I’d say that if most of us held standards that high, we’d all be single. I think you have to pick what’s important to you. Is it important that your mate not be a drunk, not hit you, not sleep all day and play video games? Must they pick up the crumbs they leave on the table, or put their clothes in the hamper…it’d be nice, but it’s not worth ending a relationship over. I think everyone has their personal downfall, and as much as I like to think I am…I’m not perfect, therefore no on else is, and I can’t expect anyone to measure up to my idea of what’s perfect. Can I expect him to love me, respect me, give 100%, treat me like a lady and bring me soup and meds when I’m sick? Yes. Will he get equal treatment from me? Yes…and if he’s lucky he’ll get lots more than that and realize what a good woman he’s got that will go above and beyond what I just mentioned and make his life absolutely wonderful. And if he does not…he’ll be in a comfortably mediocre marriage where we thank God daily that no pancakes (or potatoes – yep, been there) were thrown.

Sometimes it’s the small victories that carry you through to till the big ones arrive.

-Melissa (mkenn076)

3. JBell - November 27, 2009

I admire you. Have I told you that lately? Because I honestly do. I truly look up to you and I hope to one day be able to articulate feelings and emotions the way you can and do.

I feel that exact same way, but is it because we see the world through rose colored glasses? No, I don’t think so. I just think that there are still those of us who hold on to the hope that a near perfect love is out there. Does that make us naive? Maybe; but along with possibly being a little naive comes the better quality of being hopeful. If hope is all we’ve got then I don’t think we’re doing too bad.


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