Lost in Translation

This is for a dear friend that I had a rather lengthy conversation with today regarding long distance relationships and essentially being married to the United State Navy. As with most relationships, their troubles lie in a lack of communication. Communication although the cornerstone, the basis for any relationship–is often pushed to the way side and it is usually for one of two reasons.

The first tends to be when individuals are forced to deal with the everyday stress, the daily hustle and bustle of life. Its important to take time out to talk to one another between work, household errands, chores, and outside activities.

The second, is when couples fall into thinking sentiments such as:

“He/she knows I love him/her, its not necessary to say it all the time,” or my personal favorite, “we know each other so well, we don’t even have to tell each other–its just magic.” The reason that last quote is my favorite, no matter how attune you and your loved one are, no matter how compatible, how perfect for one another, you are still in fact separate people who change and grow. So many lose sight of that.

Early in a relationship we tend to go out of our way to demonstrate our interest, affection, admiration, and tons of other oooeey gooey sweetness. Most individuals refer to this as the honeymoon stage. Its often the most enjoyable or exciting time of a relationship. Some assure young couples that even though this stage will pass–they will be over joyed to develop the love and relationship in all its various forms. However, there are others who mourn the loss of the honeymoon stage and make not so positive remarks about love and relationships.

Should this honeymoon stage merely be attributed to that new car smell to equate it to the child’s amusement with a new toy, or could it be  the condition of being reassured, chased, reminded of your personal uniqueness to draw in another human being? If the only enjoyable thing about a relationship was the mystique of the beginning we would not have relationships–we would all just go on fifty first dates, (or however many.) So what makes some more successful than others at long term monogamy?

I believe whole heartily that the answer is open and thoughtful communication, (obviously love is a requirement,) but a lot of couples who call it quits fully admit to still loving their former-other half. Of course there is a laundry list of examples why it did not work, but at their root–most issues stem from a lack of adequate and honest communication. I have heard many people express their relationship problems without focusing on communication because they talked a lot to one another.

True, you may talk all the time, but what are you talking about? Are you exploring each others new found fantasies, hopes, dreams, interests, or are you prattling on about how someone cut you off in traffic, the babysitter made a mess, and your boss left a stack of work piled up for the next day? If you are discussing the weather and all of your tedious annoying tasks and frustrations–its no wonder you long for a new spark. A person is more than just how their day went or what monotonous work they accomplished.

Our individual and common opinions and interests change, as we change and age. Anyone who enters a commitment expecting someone to stay exactly the same for the next fifty years is being less than fair. Too many couples grow complacent with their significant other because they think there is nothing new to find. In the same token, assuming that someone should automatically know your heart or your hearts desires is a rather poor assumption.

The point is–you have to keep an interest in knowing the person you are with. To show a real interest and make them feel special now and again. Sure you have beent here by their side, and were fantastic in the beginning, and swept he/she off their feet–but you probably had not realized how easy it was to bring those feelings fluttering back. Just a little extra incentive, a small gesture.

People who fall into a false sense of awareness, of knowing someone so intimately there is no need to be ask questions–rarely receive the right answers. Taking the time to explore each other anew or those sweet little gestures like just letting them know you think of them, (a note in the lunch box for instance,) whether its the first or thirtieth year–goes a really long way.

In any form of relationship–romantic, platonic, friendship, offering up a little show of consideration can mean the world to someone else, even if you do not understand it or find it irrational. So, to the husband who feels his wife’s need for reassurance is a lack of faith, trust, belief, try to rememeber that she just wants to feel like that gal you made eyes at, the one you separated from all the rest–all over again.

Communicating effectively is about honesty, sincerity, and genuine interest. Which, especially when it comes to love–should come effortlessly. Even if you have a hard time expressing yourself it is important to remember that simple words and gestures really do make the difference. Not everyone demands fireworks, a parade, or their name in lights. Sometimes, they just need to know you think of them.

eelliso1 is a contributing writer for projectgroupthink.wordpress.com. Get instant updates for this blog via Twitter: PGTblog.

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4 Comments

Filed under philosophy

4 responses to “Lost in Translation

  1. With tears in my eyes, I applaud you for your wisdom, for your thought provoking and perhaps to some, life changing article. Too often in life we get bogged down by the mundane moments in life such as work, finances, etc, and put aside that which we hold most dear. I know I have been guilty of it. I think some end up in this cycle without even knowing they are there.

    In everything in life, sometimes we need to pull back to the basics, the things we hold closest to our hearts and give some tlc.

    Thank you for words of wisdom and insight, I hope it makes people stop for a moment out of the busy ramblings of their day and just reach out to those they love and rekindle the bonds that are precious in their lives!

    Blessings

  2. Tom

    That honey moon stage, it’s just a stage. It’s not something common in further stages of marriage/relationships, though you often times can resurrect moments as such.

    Long lasting relationships/marriage for me is much like a bonded friendship. Everyone has had dates, or significant others they “lust” for, or want to be with, and are excited above and beyond when they see them or are with them, but that drifts slowly away as time passes. Those moments are most definitely rekindled every so often, like you said with a note in a lunch box, or whatnot. In AmandAS case it is when i get her flowers. it seems cliche, but she likes it, and i probably don’t do things like that as much as I should. Not that there is a limit, but there should be more randomness in my flower purchasing.

    back to subject

    One thing to know is those moments are not permanent, or long lasting. I would believe that’s why a lot of marriages/relationships don’t make it past a year or so.

    In terms of marriage, people act on those impulses (puppy love, honey moon stage, etc) and get hitched, and then sometime down the road they lose that feeling, and then they decide it’s over.

    There’s a lot of people in the military over here who get married to someone after a few months. I usually just nod and say good luck. Time spent with someone doesn’t necessarily mean longevity in a relationship, but it surely helps. Especially if you pass the honeymoon stage that you wrote about.

    anyways that was an interesting read and thought provoking. good work

  3. The communication issues you have addressed not only applies to spousal or romantic relationships, but family and friendships alike. It does take time and effort, and it is one of those things that people must keep working at in order to maintain or improve relationships. Much of what you said I agree with: people are constantly changing and experience is wholly individual. If insights, feelings and perspectives are not shared, then we can lose orientation with one another.

    “True, you may talk all the time, but what are you talking about? Are you exploring each others new found fantasies, hopes, dreams, interests, or are you prattling on about how someone cut you off in traffic, the babysitter made a mess, and your boss left a stack of work piled up for the next day?”…

    This seems to happen when familiarity sets in and our knowledge of our intimates can be taken for granted. From my observations or experience, I have seen that people, at times, need a focus in order to explore the deeper feelings or meanings within their daily lives. Sometimes the focus can be a person, a particular situation, etc. The central topic may be taken for granted as simply “the topic itself” when really there are underlying emotions or thoughts that stretch deeper into an individual’s experience and thereby can color the relationship between 2 (or more) people. In all the “small talk” or “venting” (whatever you choose to call it) sometimes I find it helps to step back and listen harder, then ask “why” to the other person. Or to fully engage, pretend their experience is YOUR experience see how the perspective changes or is shared. Bridges between worlds, pasts, presents and potential futures can help close gaps that working hours and daily tedium can wedge in.

    There is always more to communicate and more ways… more than words or viewpoints, always.

  4. soahki

    I agree that communicating effectively is probably the key to maintaining a long term relationship. In my own life, I tend to shift my interests, goals, and worldview drastically over the years as I change in response to what I observe around me. If it wasn’t for good communication and my boyfriend’s willingness to acknowledge my changes and to find new similarities between us, the two of us would never have weathered my time of turbulent personal change which lies just behind me now. Feeling too dissimilar, I would have simply left in search of someone who better matches today’s me, knowing that this present- day me is just as ephemeral. When you truly connect with a person, I think you’re better able to maintain those ties through the twists and turns of life.

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