Many might remember the Stephen Stills song with this title: Love the One You're With. I woke up this morning with this song running through my mind.
(The particular lyrics of that song aren't pertinent to this discussion, only the title).
I've been in a relationship, an on and off relationship, for 30 years. I've tried countless times to end this relationship, but have never been able to. We've been married and divorced from each other twice, and we're still together. Unmarried, but together.
My whole life, the grass was always greener on the other side of the fence. This was just my make-up, and it was a recurring theme throughout my life. I always had one eye on the current relationship and the other eye wandering (not in an actual physical way, I wasn't actually BORN in West Virginia or anything!) I was always looking for something Better. But I was never without a relationship. I was capable of going to the lowest depths to find one; anything but being Alone.
So I guess this falls under the category of 'be careful of what you pray for' (at least, back when I used to pray to 'something')
For the first 25 years of this co-dependent, torturous relationship with Joe (due to our mutual alcoholic personalities), we made each other miserable. And he would go out and get drunk - skid row drunk - every time we had an argument for the first 10 years we were together.
But a funny thing has happened; maybe because our co-dependency was stronger than our desire to leave. A few years back, I was listening to my car radio and that song came on. Love the One you're With. And it hit me like a thunderbolt, although I had heard that song countless time before. Why not try actually loving this man? Why not stop looking for something better, or smarter, or someone of greater social stature? Just make the darn decision: love him!
And so began the process of acceptance. First of all, acceptance of myself, because I saw the tendency that had haunted me my whole life; never being satisfied with what I had. The second part was accepting Joe total for what he is, and not wishing he were different in some ways. What a huge difference this decision - merely a decision! - has made in our lives. I actually go out of my way to do nice things for him now. I count the blessings we have together, as opposed to focusing on the differences.
Well, relating this to my own spiritual growth, I must say that this has probably been one of the biggest components of it. It opened my eyes just a bit to unconditional love, to forgiveness, to remaining in one place and focused - and not 'waiting for the next one'. To be Here Now.
And most of all, to come to the realization that I Am responsible for my own happiness - not someone else. Someone else can never give it to me, I must give it to myself. What an incredible awareness this has been. And the funny thing is, we have a wonderful life together now; as I have changed, he seems to have followed suit. Or maybe I am just seeing it with different eyes.
I am very thankful today for this loyal friend of 30 years that has been part of me - and who has been the mirror for me to see the changes that I need to make within myself. And today, when we do have a bit of a dust-up, which is not real often any more, they blow over quickly. In fact, we now have a plan for any little spats we get into - we have a big trailer sitting up at the top of the property that he can stay in. But it happens hardly at all any more.
It seems that there are two dynamics within all of us. One dynamic is 'that which we want', and the other is 'that which we need'. I realize today that Joe has been the very 'lapidary' that I needed to smooth out my rough edges, and I have been that for him. I'm happy to say that today, we fit like a hand in a glove. But I would never have imagined, in my earlier life, that a fellow like Joe was what I needed. What a surprise.
Love the one you're with.
Edited by manitou, 25 December 2014 - 01:46 AM.