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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Those Little Things!

Someone shared a link on Facebook yesterday. The link was about a man who had made up his mind to divorce his wife but who accepted his wife's conditions that he put the divorce on hold for a month for the sake of their son who was to write his exams at about then and also that the husband carry her out of the house the way he had when they newly got married. The husband accepted the conditions thinking nothing would change his mind as he had found love in the arms of another woman. To his surprise however, carrying his wife of ten years out every morning for the 30 days made him to start paying attention to those things that he had long closed his mind to, and he discovered that he loved his wife still. Though he resolved that he would not go ahead with the divorce, his wife eventually died of some sort of cancer just at the end of the 30 days period.

My focus here is not on the death of the wife and the guilt the husband would have felt had he not resolved not to go ahead with the divorce, rather, it is on the fact that the time in close proximity that the couple had to spend together made the man realise that the love he thought was gone from his marriage was still very much alive. Reading that story, I could not help but be amazed at how seemingly little things could destroy major things in our lives. A lot of us for instance, tend to take our partners for granted once we feel that our feet are now firmly grounded in the relationship/marriage, we expect our partners to understand when we fail or neglect to create chance to spend real quality time together. Of course we always have 'valid' excuses why we can't find that time to spend together; the men have to work very hard to make the money for the family to live a good life, the woman also probably has to be more up and doing in order not to be part of the load that her office will shed in this time of economic difficulty and on and on the excuses can pile.

The major suspects in marriage/relationship break-ups usually include lack of trust on the part of one or both of the partners,actual (and sometimes imagined) infidelity, lack of communication etc. However, little things that we do not often suspect also wreak havoc on marriages and relationships and cause sometimes lasting damage to a relationship that has taken years to form. Like the man in the story, we may need to ask ourselves when we last took a really good look at our partner. The man in the story had not really looked at his wife in a long time and that was why he never noticed that she was suffering from cancer and was in fact dying. We may also need to remind ourselves of the original qualities that attracted us to each other and whether those qualities are still there, hibernating or can be rekindled.

About two years ago, a lady came to me that she wanted a divorce from her husband and she wanted the paper filed before November 11 of that year. I was of course puzzled by the mention of that specific date and inquired why that date. She replied that the day was supposed to be her third wedding anniversary! Now, November eleven happens to be my birth date and I frown seriously at anything untoward happening on that day. And so I decided to become an emergency counselor, preaching and pleading that she hold on and see whether things could not be salvaged. Fortunately for me (and of course she and her husband), other people also intervened and she and her husband decided to have another try at making things work. And guess what, things started to work! Now she has had another baby and she could not contain her excitement when she was telling me about it on phone. I was also very happy for both of them and thankful that they both decided to make things work again. I often wonder how many marriages could be saved by the couples trying just that much harder to see things work? When was the last time we reminded our partners of how much we value their presence in our lives?

Don Marshall once said Love is like a muscle, it needs constant exercise or else it loses its strength. How many of us still exercise our muscle so that it responds to us every single time we need it to? With the spate of divorce and break-ups and separations all around, you'll be surprised at how amazingly few the number will be. I was shocked when I read the recent report of Al and Tipper Gore's break up of their 30 year-old marriage. After staying together for 30 whole years, I wondered what really could have gone wrong.

Well, it should not be too surprising if it just happens to be those seemingly little things that are often overlooked and yet contribute in making marriages and relationships so much more pleasant and enjoyable.