Tuesday, 01 February, 2005
Today marks 14 years since Debra and I stood in my Dad's house in Phoenix and promised to spend the rest of our lives together. That seems like an age ago when I think of all the different things we've done since then. Sometimes it seems like just yesterday, though, when I look at her smiling from across the room. It hasn't always been easy. We have our disagreements, but the love and respect on which our relationship is based allow us to disagree civilly.
Maybe that's what's missing in so many relationships today: mutual respect. I hear my friends proclaim "we're in love," and yet I'll see them treat their wives or husbands with a complete lack of respect. Belittling your spouse in public (or in private, come to think of it) isn't respectful. It might get a laugh or two, but he or she will resent it. Casual acquaintances might be able to get away with that kind of nasty banter. Marriages and strong friendships will not survive it.
The mutual infatuation inevitably cools, and if that was the entire basis of your relationship then the relationship won't survive. I've seen people marry for lust, money, power, and all manner of other things. The ones that last are based on friendship and mutual respect. As with any friendship, there are times when you'd like to have a little time away from each other. That's difficult to do, living in the same house. You have to learn to give the other space without resenting it, and to welcome the return of affection without complaint. Otherwise the relationship turns into a drawn out war, with silent treatments, screaming matches, infidelity, and ultimately, thankfully after all that fighting, divorce.
Not so eloquent as some of my friends, I'll admit, but I think it gets the point across. The love isn't gone just because you sometimes can't feel it.