Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Right, Wrong, and Truth

It never fails. When I spend time in my garden, my mind wanders and invariably leads me to an insight which I was incapable of arriving at when in conscious thought. Today's rumination led me to consider the issues of right, wrong and truth.

As anyone who has been in a long term relationship knows, conflicts arise. Each party is totally convinced of the righteousness of their position and equally convinced of the wrongness of the other party's side. I've been married for 21 years and it seems that for most of those years I have been engaged in an ongoing battle with my husband over one thing or another. This divisiveness has systematically eroded the foundation of our once-strong love to the point where divorce has been the topic of discussion more than once. In recent years we have become all but strangers living in the same house, ostensibly for the purpose of raising our children but really because moving to separate was more than either of us was willing to endure.

The truth is that I married am emotionally non-demonstrative man who wants to be appreciated and who will not make any romantic overtures if he believes there is even a hint of possible rejection. He's also a control freak. The truth is that I am a extremely affectionate, demonstrative, strong-willed woman who has outrightly rejected my husband on numerous occasions out of anger, spite and downright maliciousness because he pissed me off. I'm also a control freak. This is a recipe for disaster.

A wise woman once told me you can choose to be right or you can choose to be happy. I didn't know what she meant. She asked me if it was more important for me to be right or to be happy, explaining that whatever I chose would result in the truth of my situation. Truth is the result of action. It knows not from right or wrong. If you want the truth of your situation to be one of happiness, then you must take actions that will lead you to that result.

As simple as that logic is, I just couldn't wrap my head around it. I thought and thought and intellectualized it to death with no success. Then I picked up a rake. In that quiet time during which I tend to my garden, the wisdom in her words finally penetrated. It was one of those "AHA!" moments. I knew what I had to do. If I want to be happy, I have to behave in a manner that makes him feel comfortable enough to let his guard down. I have to be willing to let go of the pain of the past and my need to be right in favor of a happier future. If we are to weather this marital storm, I have to take a lesson from palm trees and bend in the wind. This will be a lengthy process. After all, it took 21 years to create the disconnect in our relationship. It can't be mended overnight.

Tonight, when my husband came home, he was obviously tired from working on a demanding project at his office. I acknowledged his fatigue, poured him a glass of wine and, after dinner, sat with him to watch a movie. During the movie (which featured lots of salsa music), I got him off the sofa for a dance, something we used to enjoy during our courtship. After the movie, I gave him a little peck on the lips before I left the room. I've been making little overtures like this for a couple of weeks now and I can definitely see the ice melting. Baby steps.

Ballo ergo sum,
Always and all ways,
- Gitana, the Creative Diva

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