Posts Tagged With: conversation

Strong Resolve


I only have one new year’s resolution… to cultivate healthy relationships.

We are relational by nature and we do ourselves a disservice to think “likes” “hearts” or “follows” will ever replace conversation and spending time with one another. So in 2014, the priority is making sure my family and friends know they are loved demonstratively.

embrace_ii_1

Advertisements
Categories: personal, relationships | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Broken Walls


I read a quote once that went something like, “Sometimes you put walls up not to keep people out, but to see who cares enough to break them down.” That was ringing in my thoughts after a conversation I had with my brilliantly insightful wife about friends a while back. See, for a long time I couldn’t say that I had very many close friends. That’s not to say that I didn’t have people that I cared deeply about. But aside from my wife and parents, there were maybe 2 other people on this earth that I felt I could trust implicitly.

The more I thought about it, the more it made me wonder if perhaps I had created walls that I was silently hoping people would care enough to break down. Was I baiting people? Were my friendships going to be based on some arbitrary display of perseverance? Would I take the fact that people hadn’t yet attempted to circumvent my relationship walls to mean they don’t really care about me? And then, in the absurdity of it all, turn around and feel as if this would allow me to not care either and so cast them aside? fist-break-through-wall

Heaven forbid…

It’s not that I thought people were disposable. But I could very well have pushed them away unintentionally with these walls of my own invention. The design of which is really not very fair. I mean, what kind of deep relationship could I really expect to gain if I made someone jump through hoops that THEY may or may not even realize exist?

I had to do some soul searching to figure out what this was really about.

It became clear that it was partly/mostly my own fault. There were people with whom I believed I could have a really close relationship. Some of them had actually pursued me. But I hadn’t reciprocated much if at all. Was it because I was a horrible person? I don’t think so. Instead, I’d convinced myself that it’s an issue of time. With all of the chaos that I’d been dealing with at any given moment, I told myself that I didn’t have the time to dedicate to the cultivation of a deep friendship with someone else. At one point I actually said to someone, “I really enjoy hanging out and talking with you, but I can’t give you the kind of things you want from this relationship and I don’t want you to constantly be disappointed when I don’t come through.” Unfortunately, this went against my own belief that you will make time for those things (and people) that are important to you. My wife called that a cop out.

So where did I go off track?

I think it was simply a defense mechanism. After being wounded in past relationships, I hadn’t really allowed an opportunity for anyone get close to me. I mean, not REALLY close. Yeah, I could share interests and show compassion and provide encouragement to others. But that was all about giving and nothing about receiving. Few people knew the details of the things that I struggled against on a daily basis. Heck, my blog audience probably knew (and still knows) more about the intimate details of my life than people offline. I believe it was an underlying fear of rejection. The less I put myself out there, the less chance I had of getting hurt. But I couldn’t live my life in fear of potential pain inflicted by others.

After that talk with my wife, I found myself lamenting the lack of deep friendships. It was then that I decided that I needed to pursue people.

Slowly. Just 1 or 2 in the beginning. But it was a start.

I’m curious if I am alone in this…

Does anyone else struggle with developing close friendships? I mean, the real friendships. Not superficial, mere acquaintances or people who want to be more but you’ve friend zoned them. I’m talking Best Friends. People you’d protect with your very life if necessary. Is that a challenge for anyone else?

Because in spite of the obstacles I’ve created in the past, I genuinely want those kind of people in my future.

Broken walls and all.

break-wall

Categories: personal, relationships, stories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

DOVE NOTE #19: Like Fine Wine


(from the forthcoming book “Dove Notes “)

Like fine wine, some things only get better with time…

I like talking about my wife. Mostly because I’m hopelessly in love with her, and my interactions with her provide ongoing fodder for, among other things, my blog and my book.  But I’ve had people ask me, “What do you mean when you say you’re hopelessly in love with her?” Oh, well let me explain…

Being hopelessly in love means that there is no hope for my love for her ever changing.  She’s got my heart sewn up and it’s safely tucked away in her care. She and I work very hard to define our relationship as one that gets better as the days go by. We actively pursue peace through honest assessment and vulnerability. She knows the areas where I fall down and helps me get back up again.

We believe that success includes being able to own your mistakes. When you make excuses for something you’ve done, whether or not it was intentional, you rob yourself  and your partner of the opportunity to work together to modify future behavior and prevent it from happening again. Accountability also allows you to celebrate your accomplishments together. If I’ve overcome a paralyzing fear of public speaking through her encouragement, support and nudging, it becomes a victory not only for me, but for her as well. Being transparent with someone is not a simple thing to do, but it is possible and the rewards are endless. Better communication. Better understanding of our needs. Better intimacy. The list goes on…

In many relationships, it’s not enough to be intelligent, beautiful, outgoing or talented. Nope. Those things are great. But what matters most of all is personality and character compatibility. See, you can have two relatively nice people who both enjoy music and dancing. But life experience, coupled with how they were raised… whether or not they have siblings… how they get along with their parents… and personal temptations (money, alcohol, attention, etc) can all have an adverse affect. One person’s tendencies can push another person’s buttons.

For example, let’s say a guy grew up in a family that consistently avoided conflict by ignoring the obvious elephant in the room. The girl comes from a family that addresses conflict immediately so that it doesn’t fester and become a bigger problem. Put the two of them together and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. While she pushes for communication, he will constantly blow off having an uncomfortable conversation. She feels ignored. He feels pressured. Do they still share the same interests? Sure. Do they find each other attractive? Of course. But unless this issue is dealt with, the relationship becomes unhealthy and eventually unsustainable. It’s another sad case of good people who unfortunately weren’t good together.

It’s all about finding compatibility with someone who is equally committed to creating a healthy relationship. And no, it’s not automatic. It takes time, effort and patience. But the end result is becoming another couple that’s hopelessly in love. 😉

Categories: Dove Note, intimacy, marriage, relationships, Series | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Super Powers


I haven’t been posting because my wife has been ill this week and I’ve been home taking care of her and our 3 small children. I’ve always admired and appreciated the way my wife takes care of our family of 7. I knew it was no small task. But it was only until staying home with them this week that I really understood all of the super human characteristics necessary to even manage to get dressed each day! Let alone juggling nap times, breakfast, morning activities, lunch, outside playtime, trips to the store (or park or MOMS club event), appointments, and still find time (and sanity) to make dinner! OMG!!! I used to think SAHM meant “Stay At Home Mom”. Now I know what it REALLY means… “Supernatural Ability to Handle Multitasking“. :-/

Anyway, in light of talking about my superwoman wife, here’s a highlight from yesterday with the kids…

Me: “Okay Aaron, if you want to play with the Legos, you have to clean up the sand toys outside.”

Aaron: (5 years old, going on 25 and whining) “Dad, I can’t do it. It’s too much!”

Me: “What do you mean you can’t do it? It’s already been done! I’m asking you to undo it.”

Aaron: (giggling) “Dad… you’re silly.”

Me: “Yep. It’s one of my super powers.” 😉

Categories: personal, stories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Casualties Of Time


As a society it seems as if we value just about everything as it ages. Things like…

Wine: (Paul Masson “We will sell no wine before its time“) There seems to be a general belief that when it comes to wine, older is definitely better. People have paid out extraordinary amounts of money to own rare and highly sought after spirits.

And houses: Although most houses fall into the “decrepit” category after 100 years (or less in some cases), there are still many houses (even older) that are considered “vintage” and sell for a premium, especially American Craftsman Style homes if they have all or most of their original “built ins” or have been designated historical landmarks.

And of course, baseball cards: The most expensive baseball card in the world right now is one from 1909 that was sold for a staggering $2.8 million!

Now, while I certainly think all of these aged-collectable are nice, the most notable and surprising exception to inclusion in this time-established ranking of seniority… is people.

It’s really sad to me that as people get older, instead of treating them with respect and dignity, many of them are treated like a nuisance. An inconvenience at best. We cast our elderly aside like yesterdays newspaper. Maybe good for recycling, but more likely to be used as lining in bird cages. Where is the honor many of the aged among us so rightfully deserve? When did we become so careless with our ancestry?

I’ve purposed to simply record conversation with my older relatives, especially my parents. I sit and ask questions about a bygone era that shaped the people they eventually became. People who fell in love, got married and gave me life. I realized a long time ago that there is so much to be learned from their lifetime of experiences. I learn about our country’s history from a first-hand accounting of events. I learn about the transformation of what constituted entertainment. And I learn about our community both large and small, as well as its victories and its defeats.

So just remember, by the grace of God, we’ll all get old eventually. Make the time to give your elders the time and attention they deserve. Because the hearts of this extraordinary population, and the wisdom-laden information they provide are in a word… priceless.

Categories: commentary, opinion, personal | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: