Monday, May 18, 2009

Relationships have honeymoons

Recently a story ran on NPR about friendships having honeymoons.  It was focused on strong "same sex" relationships - non-sexual - and how exciting it can be to find a new friend with whom you share much commonalities.  I was reminded of that story as a friend and I were talking about all kinds of dynamics in a broad spectrum of relationships.  
Maybe all relationships have a sort of honeymoon time - a new puppy, new house, new job, new community project.  We enter with the purest intentions and expectations.  It's perfect - the best thing since sliced bread.  And then little realities slip in.  The puppy becomes the chewing menace that pees where it shouldn't.  The house needs more attention than we expected.  The new job comes with some difficult challenges.  The new community project requires working through a murky mire of strong personalities and politics.
So, what do we do when the honeymoon is over?  We are smacked in the face with those annoying things that we could overlook during the honeymoon time.  Now we have a very real investment.  And we have to decide what that investment is worth.  In the beginning the return on that investment is all good.  Once the honeymoon is over, we learn that both good and bad come with it.  I believe, we have to rationally measure the actual return on investment.  The moment we hit that wall of reality is where the "rubber meets the road".  Know "when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em".  See into that mystical crystal ball into the other side.
My incorrigible puppy - that chewed everything in site is now my little buddy at 4 years old.  To get to the other side, I needed a dog trainer to tell me where I was going wrong and what she needed.   And our relationship demands continued growth.  We live and learn together.
My house, I realize, will be in continuous need of attention - that's just reality - but I will love it for the same things I loved if for in the beginning.  It's up to me to make it my home.
My job - I get back exactly what I put in - and that is special.  There's no explaining it.  I am where I need to be and I treasure it.  I do think my relationship there is unique.
My community involvement - it grows and evolves.  I need to give credit to those who are involved.  Learn to trust that they have motives which are not necessarily in opposition to mine.  Involvement needs to be respected for it's own sake.  Not being involved is a lot worse.
Ultimately - honeymoons come and go.  That's not a bad thing.  That's just what keeps life interesting.  Is the investment going to result in mutual benefit?  If the answer is yes, it's ok that the honeymoon is over.  Now we enter a new phase.  And then, I believe relationships develop into new phases of honeymoons.  But that is a topic for another time.

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