Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Billingsley’s Bullets: Pay attention to your needs, too

From page A6 | March 29, 2013 | 3 Comments


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. 

Bob Billingsley

Bob Billingsley writes Heard Over the Back Fence three times a week, keeping his pen on the pulse of the community. He also writes a biweekly column called Billingsley's Bullets, in which he uses “sideways” thinking to make your day a little easier to handle.

Discussion | 3 comments

  • Bill CrowellMarch 29, 2013 - 3:00 pm

    Bob, I feel your discussion of marriage is rather superficial because, although you admit that it is very difficult to maintain a so-called "good" marriage, you fail to analyze WHY it is so difficult. If marriage is such a wonderful institution, why should it be so difficult? Many of us, myself included, have concluded that getting along with a spouse is so difficult as to be virtually impossible. In the first place, men and women are so different that it is difficult for them to get along. Second, spouses make so many demands that it is impossible to maintain your normal activities and interests, and becomes necessary to change your basic personality in order to try to get along with your spouse. I wan to be the person I am, not the person my spouse wants me to be. In short, it is marriage itself that is the problem, and I want nothing more to do with the institution. I am very happily single, have no relationships with the opposite sex and I intend to keep it that way. Could you please do me a favor? Since you admit that a good marriage is so difficult to attain, could you please stop pushing the issue? It is becoming rather obvious at this point that your columns about marriage are nothing more than your attempt to psychologically rationalize and justify the choices you have made, and that said columns are really entitled to little or no credibility because you don't even seem to understand what is motivating you to write them. Please figure your own issues out before you prescribe to others. Thank you.

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  • James E.March 29, 2013 - 4:00 pm

    Not exactly germane, but speaking of needs, Freckles needs some help. Google Freckles and then go down to News for Freckles (bottom of the page) about a dog who has been horribly abused. No doubt it will enrage you as it did me, but Freckles, like Mr. Fred, also has a cash only medical plan and Freckles will need lots of medical help. I donated some coins and any amount will help Freckles. Something about helping the least among us. Get well Freckles.

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  • Jim RiordanMarch 31, 2013 - 12:06 pm

    Mr. Crowell. Truly feel sorry for you and your outlook. Bob Billingsley is one incredible person and his lovely wife is too. And he lives exactly as he speaks. I have been married for 44 years to my wife and have had an incredibly great time. Had disagreements , but absolutely not one "fight". My spouse has never made "demands" and never expected me to be anything other than what I am. Life is so short it is sad to hear you had such a bad time of it. However, that said, "working" at a great relationship is really not "work" at all. It is actually enjoyable. I believe Bob is just reminding us to take the time to consider all the great things our spouses bring into our world and return them in kind. I enjoy that. It is not "work" to me. I'm sorry it was for you, because you have missed out on some of the best things in life. Maybe one day you will meet someone who will bring happiness to you. I'm sure Bob would join me in wishing that for you.

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