There are Times when Nothing Else Will Do But a Good and True Friend

Standard
beach-buddies-ii-carol-allen-anfinsen2

“Beach Buddies” mixed media on canvas

As long as men are stronger than women, there will never be true equality between the sexes. Strength and muscle alone dictate that it cannot be so. Since time began, power has always gone to the “leader of the pack with his prowess as hunter and conqueror” while women bore the children and handled domestic chores at home. Of course, you can also find the opposite within different ethnic and tribal groups; but they are the exception rather than the rule.

Even today there are cultures and religions in the world who subjugate the weakest members in favor of the loud, the strong, and the violent. Ruling by fear and brute force, they overpower rather than lead. They dominate rather than seduce. They withhold affection and communication in their efforts to control. This can be done by both men and women; but in the majority of instances, it is done by the male of the species.

"Broken" mixed media on canvas; SOLD, but prints available.

“Broken” mixed media on canvas; SOLD, but prints available.

You may argue that times have changed. Today women can rise above the so-called “glass ceiling;” and with divorce as an option, they can always leave threatening circumstances. True, but not without many, many hurdles children being only one of them.

When it comes to “division of property” and closing bank accounts, it is easier said than done. Did you know that a man may close a “joint” checking account, but a woman must have her husband’s consent and signature, even though she may have been the only contributor? If there is wealth involved, a costly battle may ensue.

My first husband thought I should receive a pittance since I was a stay at home wife. He told my attorney that I had not contributed to the purchase of the house nor its maintenance nor to family expenses. My attorney pointed out that I’d given him six children, took care of them, cleaned the house, shopped for groceries and school clothes, and prepared all of their meals for 30 years. Was it not reasonable to be paid for my efforts?

I walked away from that marriage feeling worthless, empty, unloved and abandoned; even though it was I who had filed for divorce. Sadly, three words were all it would have taken for me to come back: “I love you.” Words I had heard only a few times during our lifetime together.

AntelopeIsland-2013 006

If you doubt what I’m saying, gather together a few women who have experienced physical abuse, emotional and verbal abuse, financial deprivation or divorce, and they will drown you out with their truth: equality is something they never knew, only fear; but I’ll save that for another time.

Now that I have your attention, this article is not about male versus female. It is about the importance of having friends to share your frustrations and your dreams (women friends for women, and male friends for men, or a mix of both). True friends can give your life meaning. They can provide the hugs, the support and the encouragement that somehow went missing in your marriage.

Friends can bring laughter into your life and a safe place to just be yourself. Even when you’ve lost the very notion of who you are, friends can provide a safe haven to “let your hair down.” Friends may give you an outlet to express how you really feel. Fear and feelings of failure can oppress you to the point of suicide if it is not allowed to surface.

Kindred Spirits II

“Kindred Spirits” Lge. acrylic on canvas

Friends can hold you together when you feel that you’re falling apart from the inside out. They provide tangible evidence that you really exist and that you have value. It is difficult to get in touch with a “higher power” or to have any spiritual connection when you’re battling in the trenches for survival.

I remember a time in my life when I thought: “God is a man (or so the Bible says).” If I can’t put my trust in my husband, who is a man, how will I ever be able to trust God? If a woman has also been abused by her father or a spiritual leader, this makes it even more impossible that she will ever trust in God.

Think about that men? How you treat your young daughters, and their mothers — your wives, is in direct relationship to the way they will eventually feel about God; not only today, but forever. That is a great burden on you to treat them as God would, with love and patience.

Lead instead of pushing from behind. Let your good example do the teaching. If that doesn’t seem to work, pray together. Tell your children and your spouse that you love them. This advice can be reversed if the woman is the nagger and abuser.

Life is too short to beat on or threaten the people you hold dear. Cherish them. Tell them often that you love them. Live your life with hope for the future not with regrets.

SaltLakcity13 061

End the Power Struggle — Save your Fragile Marriage by Partnering

Standard
Bride and Groom

Bride and Groom

I heard someone say on the news yesterday regarding the chaos in the Middle East: “It’s a constant battle – an unwinnable war.”

I chuckled to myself; that sounds like “the battle of the sexes.” Most of us go into marriage having only a vague notion of what our partner is really like or any idea about marriage. How do you live day in and day out with one person for the rest of your life? Of course, that’s the ideal. In the real world there are disputes, separations, divorces, and sometimes reconciliations.

Many marriages fail because of the constant struggle for control. Businesses fail for the same reasons. People forget that a business or marriage is a partnership between two people who should have the same goals and the same values. Many people jump in with both feet knowing none of these things about the other.

Exhausted after the bit day!

Exhausted after the big day!

Biblically speaking, Eve was created as a “help meet” for Adam to stand beside him and to help him weather the storms of life. Today we call it teamwork. Their relationship was not meant to be dictatorial or competitive. They were to be “as one,” sharing the same dreams and working together to make them come true.

Too often in marriage there is a tug-o-war. One partner sees the other as adversarial; on someone else’s team, their own team because of stubbornness, or anything but on their side. The divide widens with constant bickering and fighting as each tries to get their way. Instead of partners working on the success of their marriage or family, they become competitors in a war of wills.

"The family that plays together (and prays) stays together.

“The family that plays together (and prays) stays together.

In a power struggle for dominance, the stronger person may use strength, anger, withholding of money, love or moral support while the weaker more congenial partner tries to keep the peace. The silent one acquiesces rather than voicing an opinion. They remain quiet until there is a “last straw moment” when long held passion is released in a fury.

In a marriage, emotion clouds dialogue and decision making. In business we strive for objectivity. If marriage were viewed more as a business partnership, cooler heads would prevail. When we invest our love, our emotions into the partnership we may get hurt. If we give too much, we may lose control. Fear, fear, fear mixed with doubts, insecurities and what ifs?

Lack of maturity hurts many marriages. One person may grow and let go of childish behavior while the other may continue in a juvenile stage for many years to come. One partner may squirrel away money for a rainy day and the other may spend as soon as the dough comes in the door.

Setting up Housekeeping

Setting up Housekeeping

If it’s not too late for you and your partner, discuss what a partnership should be and what you would like from it. Measure your current relationship against that model. What can you both give and take to make that a reality.

It is through giving that we learn how to love. Competition over “who’s the boss” only drives two people further apart. Make a commitment to partner with each other. Raise the bar. Instead of “a constant battle, an unwinnable war,” make your marriage an ongoing struggle an attainable goal.

The nest is ready; waiting for the stork.

The nest is ready; waiting for the stork.