bungling the big stuff

It’s taken me remarkably little self-reflection to grasp that I haven’t approached relationships with the habits or behaviors that will allow me (and the relationship) to be successful. After all, where on Earth would I have learned healthy and appropriate behaviors or seen such examples?!

Let’s digress for a moment to my childhood within the environs of my parents’ spectacularly unhappy situation:  I recall being a small girl, playing with a Little People toy set, moving the characters around on the living room floor. I was an avid Sunday school student, and I suddenly had the thought that God must maneuver humans (and all living creatures) in the same way I was manipulating these small toys in play. What a thought! It was a big job, but God was all-powerful and everywhere… Still, I remember with absolute clarity thinking that, when creating my family, God had put two wrong people in this house together. At age four or five, this was my first conscious thought about my parents’ relationship.

Fast forward about 35 years. My own marriage failed spectacularly — due in large part, I’m realizing, to my utter cluelessness about how to be a woman in a relationship. I expect a man to behave like a man — he should provide, have good manners, be handy about the house and with the car (or at least earn enough to pay others to take care of them), among other things. My husband did not do these things. But were his failings caused, in part, by my own inability to provide the feminine energy in our relationship?

What if all the behaviors that allow me to be effective in professional and / or general life situations are jeopardizing my domestic happiness? In the absence of having a truly masculine presence at home, I’d taken charge…and became “the man.” And then I resented my husband for not being the man.

Let’s look at another hypothetical example:

Let’s say I’ve been flirting around with a fellow I’ve known for some time, and I’ve come to rather like him. I mean, I like him such that I’d definitely like to explore the energy between us, as I think we may have potential.

Imagine this fellow has said to me things like, “I like you” and “I think I’m falling for you.”

What would I have done in this situation? I’d have let him know directly, in no uncertain terms, that I’m interested. And in so doing, I’d most likely have ceased to be even remotely intriguing. I’d have taken away the chase, the feminine mystery, and circumvented any avenue or opportunity that might have allowed him to feel masculine.

This is how I’m bungling the “big stuff,” failing at relationships that could well be a big part of my equation for long-term satisfaction and contentment. Stay tuned for what I’m learning about how to stop messing it up!

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