To have and to hold

old couple

The other day I wrote a poem about disposable relationships.

Today I write a sequel based on a lifetime of relationshipping experiences.  A mini how ‘to have and to hold from this day forth, in sickness and in health, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health…’

When things go pear shaped between couples somehow it feels so wrong  that the world keeps on spinning seemingly oblivious to the hurt, that the sun keeps shining, that people laugh, play and are happy. It’s hard to see the good because the pain can be so big in your heart that it makes every cell in your body hurt.

But there is always a way through the hurt. A path from which learning and growth can be discovered.

When people are hurt or angry, there is a tendency to rant, instead of clearly stating feelings and needs. Of skirting all around the subject, accusing, picking on irrelevant or trivial details, instead of simply saying “This is hurting me. I want us to sort it out.”

Saying that takes courage. It can make you feel vulnerable when the urge is to protect and shield yourself from even more pain. But sometimes it’s that acknowledgement that provides an opening to begin meaningful communication and a road to healing.

It’s funny that the person we most love often ends up being the one that we hurt the most with silence, a turned back, a sharp tongue, or thoughtless comments that rub salt into a wound that is already bleeding and painful.

When you’re hurting there’s a primal urge to hurt back. To attack like a caged and scared wild animal. If that keeps happening it erodes the love. It can turn to hate, vengefulness and spite. Life can become bitter and twisted.

Relationships are hard work. The good times are wonderful. But  all relationships go through tough times too. It takes two to make them tough. Just as it takes two to make them better. The depth and lastingness of a relationship comes from working through the problems together. It probably means making compromises. Negotiating a deal that both are happy with.  It creates and cements a relationship that lasts and endures the tough stuff.

It takes a willingness to tackle the problem and issues together. And it will feel weird in the beginning because it IS weird, different and strange. It means talking it out. It means saying how you really feel. It means crying. It means listening to each other –  really listening from the heart. It means being respectful of yourself and the other. It means being honest. It means being open and vulnerable. It means saying sorry. It means forgiving yourself and the other. It means that you respect yourself enough, above all else, not to let it sour your life.

Sometimes it can even mean seeking assistance from a neutral other person – a professional – to help start the ball rolling.

If at the end of all that, the conclusion is that the best way forward is to lead separate lives, it will be with a  knowing that all the right things have been done for yourself, for the other person, for the relationship.

And there will be an ability to walk into the future a better person, who is not afraid to love again. And that is a good thing.

© Raili Tanska

Steps for Peace

That’s what peace is, right? Postponing the conflict until the thing you were fighting over doesn’t matter. ― James S.A. Corey
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39 thoughts on “To have and to hold

  1. First off I think it’s time for you to write a book on relationships… Nuf’ said. You may even want to write one on grief because what you’ve said here is the absolute key, imho, to any GOOD relationship.

    “When people are hurt or angry, there is a tendency to rant, instead of clearly stating feelings and needs. Of skirting all around the subject, accusing, picking on irrelevant or trivial details, instead of simply saying “This is hurting me. I want us to sort it out.”

    I think our culture has pushed us all into a corner where we live in fight/flight/freeze most of the time. Notice that psychologists have added freeze to the equation that they’ve used for years. I think that, alone, shows the disintegration of relationships in our culture.

    This is an excellent post, Raili. Your words are full of poignancy and truth…

    Liked by 3 people

  2. The problem is when both partners aren’t willing to work on the relationship. Having been in that position, there comes a point where you have to decide whether or not the relationship is worth saving.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, indeed. It takes two to make it work. And if there isn’t a willingness, it can become very toxic, sometimes very quickly. Hard as it is leaving can be the best thing to do. I’m sorry you have expereinced this. It is so hard, I wish you well

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I did the counselling route on my own, because my husband at the time wasn’t willing to go, so I have no regrets about ending it. I’ve been on my own for 9 years now. I moved to a new city, went back to school, and started a new career. It was the best decision I ever made for myself. My biggest problem now is trusting someone enough to let them that close again.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a great post, Raili. I specially like the point that you made at the end:

    If at the end of all that, the conclusion is that the best way forward is to lead separate lives, it will be with a knowing that all the right things have been done for yourself, for the other person, for the relationship.

    And there will be an ability to walk into the future a better person, who is not afraid to love again. And that is a good thing.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Excellent post Raili. Having been married now for 46 years I can attest first hand to the ups and downs, the hurts that are never talked about, fester away under the surface of a smiling face in public and deep resentment in private. Better to talk it out if you can and if you can’t then a third party in the form of counselling might help.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re a few years up on us, Barbara. We’re 43 years. A lifetime of learning how to navigate this thing called a relationship 🙂 Hopefully the wisdom gained and shared will be of some help to those who struggle with the challenges.

      Like

    1. Yes, you’re right Jacquie. But they are worth the effort. And – can you imagine starting over with someone new?! I haven’t finished training the current one 🙂

      Like

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