From the time we are small we are taught to strive for a goal – live happily ever after. But is that realistic? Is it possible?
From watching many friends, as well as my own marriage, happily ever after is a relative term. Who’s version of happy? What does happy really mean? Is there such a thing? I mean, comfortable and routine is happy for many, lack of conflict is happiness for others, where as a clashing of the minds is a kind of happiness for some. When are you just settling, thinking nothing can be better? Can there be better?
Stepping back from your relationship and looking at it from the outside, if its possible, is one step. Is your marriage the way you want it to be? Are you and your spouse growing in the same direction? Are you both evolving? Or has one of you changed direction, leaving the other behind?
After many years of marriage I have found it common that at least one partner starts to change. It might be during mid-life that causes the question to be asked, “Is this all there is?”. I know from my experience wife, mom and customer service rep wasn’t all I wanted to be remembered for. I felt hollow. There is more to me. I talked with another writer who simply said,”I hear voices in my head and I have to write down what they say”. I feel the same way, I’m compelled. Its crazy, I know, but if you write you know how I feel. And, I know if you know me, you think I’m a workaholic. Truly I’m not. I love my down-time. I just need more to fulfill me than a cubical in an office. Fitness isn’t a new career for me either. I was very involved in teaching and personal training thirteen years ago, before our daughter came along.
I don’t regret the decisions I made, family-wise or career-wise. But as I reach my late forties I have to be true to myself now. The question isn’t “is this all there is”, but “is this all I want it to be”? And where, as I change, does my spouse fit into all this? Is it a question of love? I have to ask that. As I examine my motivations and where I see myself in the years to come, where does my past fit in?
Did I fall out of love? If so, when did it happen? I have asked myself and, as I look back, it was a long time ago. I think, out of habit, I went through the motions, being a dutiful wife and figuring this is all there would be. I watched as friends’ marriages fell apart and began to examine mine. What made mine different? Why were we still together? Everyone thought we were perfect but were we? I realized I smoothed things out to keep the peace. I rearranged my schedules to suit everyone else. I gave up the things I loved to make everyone else happy. It was time to find out what maked me happy.
First, I started writing. It was a wonderful outlet. I wasn’t sure I’d really want to try to get published, just getting the voice onto paper. Then, as I wrote, and others read it, I thought, why can’t I get published. So I’m working toward that goal. Then, I found an old friend and was asked to help him with his business. Its three hours away and a great getaway. I might work a few hours, helping him to market his business and ideas, the rest of the time is relaxation. Its my nirvana. And then I got back into fitness. Not just working out and getting healthy but helping others do the same thing. Oh, and I make money at it too. All during this I found my independence again.
I have always been independent but I allowed myself to appear dependent in my relationship. Over the last five years I had been gradually gaining my independence back. My husband had been going through his own mid-life and exerting his independence, which excluded ‘honey-dos’, causing me to take care of things. So I guess I owe my resurgence of independence to him, indirectly. In gaining my independence I had to figure out where he fit into all this. Where did love, if there was any, play a part?
I have deep feelings for my husband but am I “in love”? I have asked myself that question over and over. I don’t wish him any ill-will but is this partnership at its end? Can mere caring for one another be enough? I’m not a rash person; I think things through. Can love last forever? For some, maybe. For me…..