A lot of women I know are great at helping others and taking care of their family. They spend many hours daily making sure everyone else is OK. They really practice the idea that love begins when you get outside yourself. But what about their needs, their desires?
• Ladies, can you remember the last time you gave yourself undivided attention? Do you ever put yourself first? Don’t you think you are worth it? Are you angry about “not having a fun life” and you don’t realize how angry you are?
• It may be impossible to be creative if you never devote time to discovering your inner needs, your most private ideas or goals. Does your current life permit any quiet time just for you?
• If you are constantly busy helping others, there is no energy left to grow. To grow as a person, you must believe you are worthy and deserving of growth. To grow is to experiment, to try new adventures, new ideas and new friends. Those who grow avoid the depression of boredom and the dullness of routine.
• Marriages that do not grow quit trying to retain passion in their love life. You can become so comfortable with routine that you stop trying to change anything.
• Father Thomas Keating defined sin as “the refusal to grow, to choose to stay as we are.” He believed that a spiritual life needed “ever-deepening levels of growth and awareness.” Maybe Keating’s definition of sin applies to marriage, too. Can anything be worse than a marriage where one or both quit growing in their emotional or sexual life?
• If you are not growing, which means changing, as a person, think of what you are missing. There are hundreds of ideas, experiences and interesting people whom you will never meet.
• We have all heard a person say, “We grew apart” when they explain why they divorced. They offer that their journey took them into different directions. When couples say that they grew apart, it usually means one of them was growing while the other one stood still. One of them wanted more than routine and constant sameness in their marriage.
• Does your spouse want a different direction in your marriage? Have you ever taken the time to ask that question? Are you satisfied with your marriage or do you even remember what creative satisfaction is?
• Get out of town for a couple of days and talk about the current status of your marriage and “where do we go from here?”
• Don’t be afraid to be honest with your spouse about your needs and desires. It takes a little courage to go into the unknown because maybe you are afraid of your spouse’s answer. If you never ask the question, you have no hope of getting an answer. Those who never take the time and risk of talking about their relationship will never change … until it is too late, and the change the spouse wants is called “divorce.”
• If you want to grow spiritually or emotionally, you must pay attention to your heart and go where it takes you. Don’t be afraid of the unknown.
• It is not necessary to have a perfect marriage, but it is important to have a full marriage — full of passion, fun and mutual respect. A full marriage is a great gift … a very nice way to live.
• You choose the marriage you have. Your happiness is directly related to talking about your current marriage and where you believe change is needed. If change is needed and not discussed, there will be consequences. There will come a time when you don’t care anymore and you prefer watching TV because passion has died a slow death.
• In closing these comments on marriage, I offer the following Johann von Goethe quote: “We must always change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves; otherwise we harden.”
Bob Billingsley is a columnist at the Mountain Democrat. His column appears bi-weekly.