saxy asked me an interesting question the other day, "how did your dad treat your mother?" and that question got me to thinking.
i don't remember much about how my mother and stepfather (she divorced my biological father when i was 3 months old so i don't have that example to go by at all) except towards the end of their marriage. loud fights, holes punched in the walls, even the phone torn out of the wall once. i don't remember them being affectionate much, though i do remember hearing some of their intimate moments (rarely), and i don't remember anything about how they talked to each other or treated each other. i do know my stepfather could be a very hard man. and then there are the problems with my mother's mental condition that probably influenced her relationships with others even then, though maybe not to the degree it does now. after that marriage broke up, mother had a number of relationships, but they seemed to center around sex more than anything. as for my stepfather, he remarried a rather chilly woman. i only saw them together a few times, but i don't remember their relationship being all that affectionate.
is it any wonder i crave affection and approval? lol
as for saxy's folks, they practically live separate lives. his father is condescending to everyone, including his mother, and the two pick at each other. it's not quite bickering, but there's no respect there. i'd say it borders on abusive, but it's just shy of being that bad. it's just a constant . . . not quite sniping . . . . picking. i can't think of a better way to put it. it never gets out of hand, to my knowledge. the two don't seem to fight much, but they hardly seem engaged enough to fight.
it seems to me that a lot of relationships he and i have seen are . . . less engaged than i would think a couple who cares about each other should be. one friend i know of practically lives 2 separate lives. he's affectionate with his lady of the moment when they are among mutual friends, but barely touches her in any other public place. when they are together, they are together - they do things together, they go places, he's considerate of her, and so on. but when they are doing separate things, she might as well not exist (although he doesn't cheat on her to my knowledge). there are couples i know who barely even talk to each other when it comes to making decisions. their lives are full of small talk and nothing more. if you saw them in public, you'd think they were nothing more than friends . . . or maybe strained acquaintances who happen to move in the same social circle. but if you asked them, they'd say of course they love each other.
really? not sure i believe that, but okay.
i believe when you love someone, you show it with how you talk to them, how you treat them, by touching them, by being engaged regardless of where you are at. i'm not saying you have to hang all over them, but a little affectionate caress; asking for the other's opinion before doing something; respecting that your significant other would like to do something with you; talking about what you're thinking, feeling, experiencing; speaking to the other with respect. not too many relationships seem to have these characteristics these days. the couples are distant. they speak to each other indifferently or, worse, rudely. they don't share themselves.
saxy and i had a lot of problems early in our marriage and almost divorced. it was literally the day before i was supposed to go to the courthouse and set our date for the hearing that i decided to give him another chance. since that day we seem to have broken free, both from our old patterns that caused so many problems, and from the patterns we've seen in our lives and were raised under. and i have come to believe that i am very lucky with my saxy.
i'm not saying we don't fight, we do. all truly engaged couples will fight. or at least disagree. lol but we don't fight as often as we once did and our fights are over very specific things rather than just about anything and everything. and our fights are less explosive and hurtful than they once were. we talk more now about everything. we share our lives, our thoughts, our feelings, our needs, our desires. we share our dreams and encourage those dreams. we respect each other, trust each other, and it shows in how we talk to and treat one another. it is rare for a day to go by that we don't hug, kiss, touch, tell each that we love each other, and we do those things regardless of where we're at. when he's gone, i miss his presence. i miss the little touches. we can tease each other about imaginary girlfriends and boyfriends, and not be threatened (hey, my biggest competition is a dead woman: marilyn monroe). we're secure with each other and know where the other's heart lies.
i suppose that's the important thing, knowing your partner's heart is with you, even if that affection is not expressed. but intimacy is the natural expression of love and affection. i'm very glad saxy and i don't have the distant relationship that i see so many others experiencing. and while the sex is great, it's not the most important thing between us. there are so many other things between us that i think keep us close - knowing that if i want to see a movie with him, he won't see it with someone else; the little touches and kisses we share through our day; the talks we have about everything from politics to our dreams; the emotional support we give each other; even the way we talk to each other; the respect we have for each other's strengths, the help we give where the other is weak; and so many other things that make our relationship an living thing between us.
we have our moments, but we've broken free of our pasts and the influences around us. we've worked hard to get here, and we continue to work on it every day. our relationship is important enough to us to make the work not only worth it, but something we do almost without thinking about it. yes, we have our moments, but we've survived the worst and work to make things better every day.
and that's just the way it should be.