I know this is going to punch some people in the gut. There is nothing personal in here for you. It is simply my ramblings of my experiences and thoughts. If you agree or disagree, you are more than welcome to comment below. Heck, I would appreciate the feedback (maybe I will stop writing about marriage, Stacey wouldn’t be upset). *smile*
You can always stop following my blog (you probably haven’t even hit the follow button yet). I have to be honest, if you don’t like where this blog goes you won’t like some of the others… sorry. I am actually not sorry. That was the Canuck in me eh! Of you don’t like the blog, go pick up a Harlequin Romance, they are much more cheery.
When talking about marriage, I am by no manner an expert. I haven’t been married 7 times, mind you, that would make me more of an expert on divorce. I haven’t only been married once, but then I don’t know that this in itself would make you an expert either. I have however, been married twice, and to the same wonderful woman (there were moments though were I might not have used that adjective).
By being divorced, I believe that I have some insights into what NOT to do that even the most loving couples only fear. I have lived those experiences and trust me when I say this, you do NOT want to go through what we went through. I am not 100% convinced that my wife wouldn’t disagree with me but she couldn’t have loved being divorced that much or she wouldn’t have succumbed to my begging… I mean taken me back.
And it isn’t just my personal experiences with marriage and divorce that I have learned from. I was raised in a very close family and loved my aunts and uncles like parents. I lived with them and travelled with them and grew very close as a child to their families. When I think back to being raised by this extended family, I think a lot of it had to do with my mother having me at 16 and me being an only child till I was in grade 1 (I have some personal perspectives on how to not allow your only child to turn out like the spawn of satan too… but that’s another blog). I think the whole family treated me different, almost out of pity I suppose. I probably would have felt sorry for me too but my mother could have chosen to NOT have me and that would have sucked a whole lot more.
My mother and her two sisters (she had a bunch of brothers too but for the most part, it was her sisters who affected my childhood) have their own unique experiences with marriage. Between the three of them there are 13 children (four, four and five) from 5 marriages (I think). I wasn’t counting weddings as a child and now I don’t care about the numbers, I care about the experiences and lessons I learned from those experiences. So these three women, although they split up the children very evenly, they seemed to look at relationships a little differently. One was married four or five times and twice to the same man (there must be something in the DNA for two of us to do that in one family); one was married once, to one man (I am sure you would have figured that out) and the last of these three young ladies had a bunch of kids with a few different men without ever getting married. If there is an option out there that hasn’t been covered, I can’t think of it.
If I were to ever write a book about a crazy family that offered every imaginable experience with marriage… let’s just say that it might not end up in the “fiction” section. I can already hear the phone and email coming in from the family. Stop it! I am not writing a book about you. Where the hell would I find the time?
Hopefully you are starting to realize that my family, although probably not as screwed up as some, has a whole ton of color to it. I couldn’t dream of changing anything about my childhood because it made me the man I am and that is something I would not be willing to change either. But the color of this family has left a lot of streaks through me over the years. I have been personal witness to the very best and the very worst that come from a marriage or relationship. As a child, this was quite confusing. For this blog, lets talk about how these colorful people and their equally colorful views on relationships have colored my views… and not always rosey ones.
Being impressionable and always questioning, I have sought out knowledge on Marriage and Relationships from every source imaginable, especially since my divorce. I remember the first time I heard someone say that Marriage was a 50-50 partnership and I thought, “that makes sense”. It is an even split. Both parties do half the work and you end up with 100% done. Perfect. But then where on earth have you ever seen this work in real life. The slightest tip of the scale with this perspective and someone is putting in an extra 10% and you have a 60-40 split. Not the biggest deal in the world but do it for 10 or 20 years and it is impossible to not resent the person putting in 1/3 less work than you. Things are out of balance and that eventually tips the scale.
Then I heard that relationships needed to be 100-100 (I can’t remember where first) where each person gave 100%. Again, that made so much sense to me. I was sold. Marriage had to be a 100-100 deal so that was what we did… or I thought we did… right up until the divorce.
One of the problems with both the 50-50 and the 100-100 ideas is that is leads people to keep score. There is no winner or loser in a marriage because you are not just on the same team, you are the same person. You have been joined, merged into one entity that is more complete that the two single people who existed before. So then what is marriage? How should the work and expectations be split? And that is the question… in a 50-50 and 100-100 deal, lets figure out what we have to do and what to expect of our partner. I believe that the expectation we have of our partner is largely at fault for the vast amount of divorces.
Placing blame in a marriage is like saying, “your side of the boat is sinking.” Hank Smith
The only way that I know of to prevent the placing of blame and keeping score, is to expect nothing of your partner which is why I live my marriage by the 100-0 philosophy. There is a book out there called The 100/0 Principle by Al Ritter and I think everyone should read it. It summarizes why I always struggled with my wife. Now that I give everything I have, or at least have that as a goal, and expect nothing in return, I can only be upset in myself for my own efforts. I can’t be upset with Stacey because I have no expectations on her, I only ask that she has some patience with me, and even then, it is a request, not an expectation.
Having zero expectations from your partner frees up your mind to think of more ways to work towards your 100%. By doing this, and expecting nothing in return, you will often notice that your partner then steps up and tries to take responsibility for the relationship. If he/she expects nothing in return, you will be well on your way to a wonderful relationship where both people have found a wonderful way to live.