Posts Tagged ‘ Weddings ’

Reliving your Parents’ Marriage: Fate or Choice?

My participation in the Singles & Dating section of Yahoo! Answers has encouraged me to come to terms with the role my parents’ marriage has played in my life. I am very good at “self-diagnosing” myself, as I jokingly like to call it. But, seriously, I have a good head on my shoulders and am not afraid of being honest with myself. The last person I want to lie to is myself. What an ultimate betrayal that would be!

That said, I have always been aware that my parents’ marriage could impact me later in my life when I started to date, but it is only now that I am realizing that I have some choice in the matter. I am not merely the debris of their relationship. No, rather, I have the power to decide how I choose to be affected by their decision to remain married. I don’t think many people realize they possess this right to choose. I think many people believe that they have an inevitable and uncontrollable fate to be damaged by their parents’ bad marriage, when, in reality, they can CHOOSE! Someone make a billboard, please!

The major flaw in my parents’ marriage was a lack of respect on my dad’s part. They dated for the latter half of college and for a short time thereafter and eventually married when they were 26. Within their first year of marriage, he and my mom became pregnant with me and I was born a few days before their 1st year anniversary. I think my dad did not fully understand what he was committing to when he married… what his role would be as a husband. My mom shared with my that he would often leave her home and just go out with his friends, without notice of where he was going or when he would be back. His communication was just terrible; very inconsiderate.

My brother was born 2 years after I was. I am glad that I can say that I mine was indeed a very happy childhood. During our youth, their marriage was rocky, but it was better concealed… or, we just couldn’t comprehend its defects. My mom was not happy in her marriage during our youth, but for the sake of myself and my brother, she decided to remain married. She didn’t want her children to grow up fatherless.

As I matured, I became fully aware of the disconnect between my parents. Lack of communication remained a severe fault in my dad. He’s the kind of person who will keep a problem to himself and then in quite literally the 11th hour, seek help from my mom. This, of course, causes her great stress because, had she known about it from the onset, the problem would have been alleviated under much calmer circumstances.

As a youth, I also witnessed their disunity in other ways. I remember appreciating whole-family outings because they were so rare, and their rareness only proved to be proportionate to my age. Indeed, it was a special treat to have my dad accompany my mom, brother, and myself to different events. It was the norm for him not to be there. However, looking back, I must force myself to understand this to a certain extent. He worked the third shift when I was younger, six days a week, which can be taxing on a person. So I must forgive his absence. He was working hard to support our family. And yet, I look at my mom, who worked full-time once my brother was about 4 in age. When she came home, she still had the involuntary responsibility of cleaning the house, cooking for my brother and I, helping us with our homework, and getting us ready for bed. And she did all of this with such love, and such patience. It makes me cry to remember her sweetness. Not to mention that the nature of her job required her to complete a lot of paperwork at home. After putting us to bed, she would stay awake for hours finishing paperwork. And she would wake up the next day, get us ready for school, send us off and go through her day. Such it was, everyday. Now how was it that she was able to do all that, and all my dad was able/willing to focus on was working is third shift? Women cannot be so superior in capability to men. No, I will not make this on the sexes, but rather a battle of will. Why was he unwilling to try harder? I know the truth, or at least what I perceive to be the truth…. and yet, why is still so hard to say? … He was being selfish.

A few years later he developed a heart problem and my mom left work to care for him, while still not dropping the ball one iota for my brother and I. Yes, we felt some fear, but as we truly did not grasp the severity of his condition, we were able to maintain a large degree of normalcy. All by her emotional and physical sacrifice. And yet, I wonder how since and even today, my dad does not show her the respect she so duly earned. How she has shown him love throughout the years, which he has not returned in neither words nor action. He continues to play the passive aggressive card, holding information from her, lying, manipulating circumstances and thus setting her up for hardship. He shows her no affection in his action nor manners. He seemingly makes an effort to embarrass her in the company of her friends and yet somehow cannot see his wrongs. Or if he does, he does not admit them. He is the indelible victim.

It was not my intention to paint my dad the antagonist of this marriage, although it would seem he is largely if I allowed myself to believe it. Many would say that living in the midst of such disconnect and strive would prove irreparably damaging for a child. I have often thought the environment toxic and I even recall a time when I implored my parents to just divorce already! As a teen, I used to fear that I would harbor irreversible damages from their tarnished relationship, including fear of intimacy, lack of communication, fear of marriage, the development of an independent character that would deflect any chances for a relationship, early divorce if I do marry.

However, (and I cannot speak for my brother) upon closer consideration through matured eyes, I can speak for myself when I say that I have learned much from my parents’ marriage and I am a better person because of their flaws. I now know that I will not rush into marriage, as I feel my parents did. And I will not settle for a man who gives early hints of a selfish and disrespectful nature, as my dad revealed during their dating years. I will not allow myself to be taken advantage of a man, as my mother did early in their marriage. I will not allow myself to love a man who does not love me as passionately and with an equal measure of commitment.

I want a partner in life, and will not settle for anything less than that. And I know that I deserve it. I will allow myself to know myself and protect the virtues of my character against any attempted tarnishing by a disrespecting man. No, I feel wholly confident that I will be happy in a relationship because I will not make the mistakes I saw them make.

I thank God that my parents did not put on a show for me. They didn’t raise me to believe that love and life are perfect. They showed me the real, and it is because of that I am certain I will know how to love in a real way, with dedication and effort. I am certain that I will be able to face life’s challenges confidently with a partner who is devoted to me and committed to my happiness. I will know how to connect with my partner because I saw where they failed. I have already lived with the mistakes of a poor marriage, so I know that I will not make them.

Being in college, I have talked with so many of my friends and it is really a shame what charades their parents put on for them. I have one girlfriend whose mother refuses to talk to her about her previous boyfriends before her dad. Because of this, my friend doesn’t have the privilege of knowing where her mom went wrong in prior relationships before her dad. Her parents’ marriage is not a happy one either, but unfortunately, my friend has yet to process it in a way that I have. If anything, she only fears that she will marry someone just like her dad, but I don’t really see her becoming proactive about ensuring that she does not. I have other friends whose parents would argue in separate rooms and do their best to pretend like everything was wonderful, when in reality, it was deteriorating. Why hide your struggles from your children? I think it is healthy for children to gain a grasp on reality, *as long as* you help them to process what they’re witnessing, as my mom did.

Do parents want to set their children up for miserable, failing marriages? Do they want to cycle repeated? Does “misery love company,” even when the happiness of one’s children is at risk?

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The Alchemist Review is Coming Soon!

I know. My blog is inspired by the book and I have yet to write on my impressions. Truth is that I have started a draft post and have been adding to it more and more. I wrote a huge chunk about it today, but it seems as if thoughts are coming in waves, which I actually like. It makes me feel like lessons from the book will never fully leave me. I am constantly being reminded of scenes from the book in my daily life, which fills me with excitement! I like that such positive thoughts are filling my mind throughout the day. It’s a nice change and I plan to run with it!

But, I am even more excited because I have found my wedding vows! I am a hopeful romantic… yes, that’s correct, hopeful, not less, because I have a love to anticipate. I even have another blog devoted to weddings, marriage, and romance. It’s a work in progress, but I have enjoyed developing it. And to further demonstrate my romantic streak, I will gladly confess that I write to my future husband. I have never had a boyfriend, yet alone a date, but I keep a journal of love letters that I write to my future husband. I plan to give it to him on our first night as man and wife. So, now that you get the full picture of my romantic ways, you can appreciate my delight in finding the words that I will say to him on our wedding day. It’s a quote by Paulo Coelho, whose work is truly the most eloquent and richly affecting that I have ever encountered (aside from the Bible, of course – ::smile::). But here it is:

In this world there is always
one person waiting for another,
be it in the middle of a desert
or in the middle of a big city.
And when those two people pass each other
and their eyes meet,
past and future lose all importance,
and the only thing that exists
is that moment and the incredible certainty
that everything under the sun
was written by the same Hand,
the Hand that awakens Love,
and that makes a twin soul for everyone who works,
rests and seeks treasures under the sun.
Without this our human dreams
would make no sense.

– Paulo Coelho, Maktub

I will add to this my own personalized sentiments afterwards, but is that not just the purest of truths and professions? Here is hoping my future husband does not read this blog! 🙂 Be blessed.

P.S. I am reading Paulo Coelho’s Eleven Minutes now, per the suggestion of a friend. It is really good so far! Any suggestions as to which Coelho book I should read next?

Weddings…

This is a digression from my “self-discovery”… or is it? Well, anyhow, I’ve re-entered my Wedding kick. I’ve always been smitten with weddings, but I notice that my interest in them seems to heighten once summer hits. Well, it’s that time of year again! Here are some great, lesser-known wedding sites/blogs that I have found. Just thought I’d share the love…
http://blogs1.marthastewart.com/weddings/

http://thepreppywedding.blogspot.com/

http://fayeandgreer.blogspot.com/search/label/Real%20Weddings

http://www.stylemepretty.com/2008/04/unique-weddi-16.html

http://snippetandink.blogspot.com/2007/09/board-5-autumn-air.html

http://inthisinstance.blogspot.com/

http://wedding.blogdig.net/

There are more… maybe I’ll post them later. Also, I was able to find information on some beautiful wedding rituals traditionally practiced by the Sioux and Cherokee tribes, both of which I belong. Check out these sites, if you’re interested: http://www.manataka.org/page348.html and http://www.ehow.com/how_18840_native-american-wedding.html I have more sites, but I’ll share them in a future post. Until later then. Toodles…