The Secret Lives of Diaries

Cold Comfort

Posted in Relationships by secretlives on April 22, 2006

Last night he told me he “cared for me a lot”. This was supposed to reassure me. Instead it sank into me like a heavy stone into a pond. It’s been settling deeper into the muck all day. I respect his honesty. I yearn for love.



7 Responses to 'Cold Comfort'

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  1. secretlives said,

    One of the things I’ve observed in couples is that those that stay together for the long haul experience several marriages, with one another.


  2. mare said,

    “Several marriages, with one another”

    I’d like to hear more about that. I can certainly see the need to adjust things, to “re-invent” yourselves and your marriage following trauma, for example. Is this what you mean?

  3. secretlives said,

    Throughout our life time our bodies and minds go through many changes. Who I was when I was twenty-one is quite different from who I am now. Marriages go through the same metamorphoses. Troubles in a relationship are certainly the end of something, but equally they are they the beginning of something new.

    Our marriage will experience many deaths and rebirths over its lifespan. The problem is that too many of us don’t want to wait around for the transformation to complete itself. We are locked into a view of marriage designed to ‘please’ us and make us feel good.

    It is not designed for that purpose: making us feel good. It is certainly desirable when we ‘feel good within’ a marriage, but we forget that it is designed to make us grow up and move from childhood into mature ‘elderhood’. Marriage should not be for everyone. it is one of the greatest challenges that life present us.

    If we want to ‘feel good’, get our wants and needs met, etc. most of the time, we stay stuck in an adolescent view of marriage. If we think of it as a social medium that is designed for helping us to mature, to love others and to grow into authentic adulthood, then we may have a chance.

    Again, as in my post on ‘relativism’ this medium is too limited for a thorough discussion of this topic. I don’t mean, in my comment above, that we shouldn’t want to feel good and have needs met. I mean that it is not the primary criteria for a ‘successful’ marriage.


  4. mare said,

    Giovanni – Thank you so much for your thoughtful response. I agree with you in many respects. Marriage is not for the faint of heart. It’s no lark. I have the most success and satisfaction in my marriage when I view it, in your eloquent words, as ” designed to make us grow up and move from childhood into mature ‘elderhood’ ”

    When we’re young, we think we’re going to find our soulmate and live happily ever after. Now, I’m thinking it doesn’t really matter who we marry. I mean, regardless of who you “fall in love” with or decide to marry, you will have challenges and opportunities to grow into mature adulthood. It will happen with anyone.

    I’m being simplistic, just like you were with the “being happy and having your need met” concept. Of course you want to marry someone you care about and vice versa, someone you can have happiness and communication with. I’m just saying that it’s so much more complicated than that.

    I wasn’t going to post here anymore in this vein, to this depth, thinking it wasn’t really the place for it, or the venue, but your response changed my mind. Thanks again, truly.

    age 47

  5. secretlives said,

    I wrote a comment a couple of minutes ago but somehow, in the posting I lost it. So, I'll try to recapture some of what I said.

    There is so much divorce because we come to marriage with expectations that it was not designed to fulfill. Marriage was designed to lead us out of childhood. It is not the institution of marriage which is flawed, which fails us – it is the dysfunctional people within it that are flawed, and who fail to meet the challenges which marriage provides. [98% of us are dysfunctional; the other 2% are in denial 😉 ]

    Every marriage is a mixture of honey and vinegar. Sometime there is more vinegar and sometime more honey. Within the life span of a marriage we are guaranteed to experience times when there is more vinegar. it is during those times that we need to press in so that we can mature; it is not the time to check out of the marriage.

    I'm fond of saying: You have two choices in life: you can suffer the pain that causes more suffering or you can suffer the pain that causes healing and maturation. Either way, you're going to suffer. Functional suffering in a marriage should be welcomed. It is where our treasure lies.

    Marriage is a marathon, not a sprint. When you are at the seventeenth or eighteenth mile post (of the marathon) and you're 'hitting the wall' so to speak, it's not time to quite the race. It's time to press in to the finish.

    We often times go into marriage trailing the fantasies of childhood. Life is a dream – marriage an alarm clock. It is for people who want to wake up and grow up; not for people who want to fulfill fantasies that a white gown and black tuxedo symbolically promise.

    Too often in marriage counselling people focus too much on their own pain and on their demands that the other person change. Certainly we may have legitimate demands, but the individuals within the marriage need to move beyond their demands and needs if the marriage is going to survive.

    In any event, I could go on. But I think I'll stop here. Thanks for posting Mare. I appreciated this conversation.


  6. peg said,

    This is a wonderful discussion! Giovanni, I hope you are a published writer of this kind of thing. You have a way with words, to use a totally inadequate expression.

    You said “marriage is designed”….by whom?


  7. secretlives said,

    In the same way that the foot is ‘designed’ to walk or that people are ‘designed’ to be gregarious, marriage is also ‘designed’. This social unit has intrinsic properties meant for the edification of the individual, the couple, the children, the society, the civilization and the world in which it functions.

    When you ask by whom it was designed, your question posits the belief in a ‘designer’. I like your question, and the answer I give is God.

    Thanks for this conversation.


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