This post is less about understanding the world around me and more about my personal struggles, if they are not one in the same. I had the opportunity to look after my kids for a week or so. In fact I just finished dropping them off at their mothers. Their mother went on a cruise to Mexico with some of her guy and girl friends from High School. Living in the same town you grew up in has some value....you can still retain all of those friends. The interesting thing is that she just mentioned that she was going with some of her girlfriends, I didn't hear about the guy friends until I was talking to someone today at church. It certainly doesn't bother me though, which I find somewhat odd. I really have no jealousy at all in the matter. It just seems somewhat bizarre after 15 years of marriage that I wouldn't be jealous. Probably a good thing really. I find the charade somewhat amusing though. Anyway, she asked if I could watch the kids for a week while she enjoys this vacation. I arrange to telecommute that week and life is good. So during that time we did the following:
1) My oldest daughter is a bit behind in math, so I plug her into Linux TuxMath...Linux has some awesome education games. I saw dramatic improvement during her tenure here.
2) I have my oldest son and daughter take showers every morning. My oldest son I think will make a habit of it at her mothers.
3) I think teeth brushing will become more of a habit for all of them...I hope. I have been pushing this for a long time.
4) I finally got my oldest son a new pair of shoes. The other ones lasted for more than a year, so I suspect that these will as well.
My soon-to-be-ex-wife, however, is incapable of doing many of these things of personal hygiene or school. For her, life if a beach...or volleyball court, whichever you prefer. Life is fun and games and there is little responsibility that she maintains. When I describe her to people I call her a princess. During her whole life she has not had to take care of herself. She didn't hold a job in high school. Her parents paid for most of her way in college, so she didn't have to work. She worked at the UW in a temporary position for a few years, but she didn't have to pay any bills or learn what it was like to live on ones own. She had no responsibility except for herself, and even that was somewhat questionable. No wonder she sees life as a beach. Our marriage only reinforced that mentality since I worked and she stayed home.
So now she lives at home with her parents and my kids. Her parents try to escape as much as possible to see friends and siblings and when they are at home they do a lions share of the cooking and laundry. I would dare say that my soon-to-be-ex doesn't have to cook at all when her mom is in the home. It is nice. She gets the joy of parenthood without the responsibility. I suspect that is where we had many of our issues. She didn't like to keep the house clean nor take care of her own self personally. Her car was a disaster 95% of the time. Her desire was to hang out with her friends...and so that is what she did. Everything else was secondary to hanging out with her friends. One could argue that the reason that she hung out with her friends was because she didn't feel accepted by me. Possibly so, however when her entire job was to take care of the home and raise the kids and she was unable to accomplish that, let alone take care of herself physically, and all the while telling me that I shouldn't care what the house looks like, her car looks like, what she looks like but instead I should love her for who she is I have to question what is it about her that I did love. I did love her good nature and social skills, however these were things that needed to stay in balance with reality. Her favorite saying was, "a happy wife is a happy life." This is true, however I find it difficult to believe that any wife would be truly happy if their husband celebrated their eating bon bon's all day long with their friends. Maybe I am wrong, but some expectation is necessary for our own personal development. I do not have high expectations really, at least I don't think so. Really all I seek is effort, a certain degree of caring to make me happy. Not a huge degree, and I don't want someone to dote over me, but just some consideration. I hope that my next wife, if that is in the cards, will be someone who has a higher standard than I. I certainly wouldn't mind being pushed a bit in certain areas that I am lacking in. Likewise I would hope that she wouldn't mind being pushed as well in areas that she may be lacking. Thus we become partners in a quest for a certain degree of perfection.
Sunday, April 4, 2010
It is difficult to categorically address the nature of man in general, because we are all a bit different (thank God). However I suspect that we, women included, operate on a scale between adhering to a moral law of conduct and adhering to our own personal desires. I know I have written much about the law, however I do believe that nature and man operate within certain structures. I believe that man can find a certain peace within those natural laws. It is when we live outside of those laws where the danger lies. However, those laws can be quite strict and some flexibility and allowance for failure must be allowed, for this is how we learn to love the law, to find peace within it. And we find that those who tend to be elders follow a moral code of conduct because it is the natural order of things.
I was recently in the early stages of a relationship with someone. By all accounts this person was an ideal companion for me; successful in her career, artistic in many areas, athletic, intelligent, family oriented, loved the outdoors, etc. The list of similarities seemed almost endless. However, the one area that we had differences in was within the spiritual side. Spirituality encompasses quite a bit and it is the most difficult to explain or tackle in a relationship. After this wonderful experience I have found that it is probably the most important component. Not that someone needs to belong to the same faith, but that we see faith and virtue in the same perspective. This person was quite a nice person, however she operated on the notion that people do what they want. She somewhat rebelled against the rules that governs us. Unfortunately these rules permeate our lives whether we acknowledge their existence or not. I felt that I was being pushed into doing what felt good in the relationship instead of what the right thing was.
My understanding of this concept came after dates with a couple of other people. One in particular had a fairly strong personal compass on the laws of nature. She too somewhat rebelled against her strict religious upbringing, but realized that danger lies outside of that moral conduct. The danger lied in her emotional well being. She realized that once deep intimacy is obtained that there is some kind of emotional connection. A personal relationship begins to take form and thus the opportunity to be hurt if the other person doesn’t share the same feelings. So, despite her personal desire for sex, she avoided it for self preservation. As we violate moral laws we expose ourselves to the possibility of emotional discomfort if relationships do not last. In religious circles we tend to focus on the physical reasons for not having sex, such as pregnancy and spreading of diseases, but there is emotional safety as well. Unfortunately (or fortunately) we have a desire for physical intimacy which can often supersede any logical notion of self-preservation. So there we must find some kind of balance between the "ying" of moral conduct and the "yang" of having some kind of intimicy.
So, back to this person I was dating. As our time progressed I began to realize the depth the relationship was heading and I suggested that we maintain or establish boundaries in one form or another. Unfortunately these concepts were not recognized as being valuable to the relationship. In a couple instances when I attempted to establish boundaries the perception she had was that I was trying to “break up” or limit my relationship with her and thus a heavy degree of emotion ensued. This wasn’t necessarily the case, it is just that I wanted some boundaries so that we could get to know each other without distraction from sex.
So, with this person, I had to break the relationship off. If at some time in the future we want to give it a go again, we can do so at a pace that is more to my comfort.
Another quite fascinating concept that I am learning is that the whole MBS model makes sense from a logical standpoint, but in reality it may not make much sense at all. There is a whole concept of “chemistry” which it doesn’t encompass. “Chemistry” is something that is difficult to quantify and it encompasses so much. It is the way someone walks, they way they hold their head when they speak, their sense of humor, their smell, or perhaps a smile. Perhaps the “chemistry” between two people lies in that one of the individuals doesn’t like to smile and the other finds joy in the effort in eliciting that wonderful display of happiness. Perhaps that “chemistry” lies in some kind of self-discovery. I find dating incredibly confusing. The more I try to make sense of it, the more I become confused. Simply understanding what I want is difficult in itself, but finding someone who meets those criteria is even more difficult. I suspect that the best course of action, perhaps, is to simply date as many people as possible. Not to have sex with all of them mind you, but simply date them. Whomever I am with will change the course of the rest of my life. They can help bring me closer to finding peace within myself and my God, or distance me further from that.
That is it for now, my bus ride is about to end.