So, was talking to a friend today about being content vs. being happy. Very interesting concept he had - basically, he points out that the enemy of content is happy: meaning, we'll blow the contentedness we have for the 'happy' we think we've yet to attain. But really, he maintained, happiness is fleeting so we're really never going to 'permanently arrive' in HappyTown. Which means? On the journey to try to be happy? We end up being miserable.
Apply this to relationships and by my take, it means a couple of things. One? People give up too darn quick. Maybe it's because we get bored, maybe it's because we don't know how to fight, maybe we've just lost that loving feeling. Who knows... probably depends on the person. But going back to society (because it's all society's fault, you know :p)... I do think our 'insta-feel-good' society plays into it. We're really conditioned from early on that if it doesn't feel good? Change it, ditch it, NEXT! Pretty much everything is disposable. Of course, there are some things should be disposed of. Like culottes. And spandex after the age 18. :p
Anyway, was still mulling this over when I ran across a blog that pretty much proved his point. The blog is called "A Woman's POV" and every blog post basically starts with "How it Makes Me Feel..." and then plugs a subject matter. Sounds harmless, right? Except, here's the thing: EVERY blog post was something negative! Among them:
- How it Makes Me Feel When He Doesn't Like My Driving
- How it Makes Me Feel When He is Two Hours Late
- How it Makes Me Feel When He's Trying to Change Me Physically
- How it Makes Me Feel When He Sends an Angry Text
- How it Makes Me Feel When He Gives Me an STD (2)
- How it Makes Me Feel When He Doesn't Call
You know what there wasn't ONE post about? Any subject that was positive. And that just seems kind of sad. I get it. It's absolutely easy to get frustrated because we all do frustrating things; but if you get myopically focused on the little irritants, you can quickly lose sight of why you were with that person to begin with. And boom: you just traded content for miserable in the pursuit of Happyness. (3)
When you're married, there's scads of aids to help you focus on the positive aspects of your relationship. Not so much when you're dating; but the concept is the same so thought I'd share one that seems pretty cool to me. It's called Fireproof. I don't think you need to read the book to work the concept... but basically, the couple in the book has a relationship that is failing. Prior to divorcing, the guy's father 'dares' his son to a 40-day dare: work his devotional every day, record his thoughts/feelings... but at the end of every day, he was to perform one act of love towards his partner. Whether she reciprocated or not - basically, a display of unconditional love. As a Christian, I saw this as a neat mirror to the unconditional love that Christ shows us.
More than that, though? It highlighted how the simple change of perspective for a period long enough to form a habit can create sustainable change & melt some pretty cold, cold hearts. While I didn't think it'd work for EVERYONE; I still found it cool enough to discuss with both married and single friends. The results kinda shocked me:
- Single Men: They were open to it. Of course, there was the initial joke about Kirk Cameron and the Fireproof swag stuff... but, overall? I spoke with 5 single guys and 3 of them said they'd do it to save their relationships. Kinda cool.
- Married Men: No joke; talked to 4 of my married friends. 2 said the same thing: "Like I'd have a choice; [my wife] would drag me to Church for that." Hmmph. They seemed less sold; but hey, they still said they'd go!
- Single Women: The least willing of the bunch. Basically, ONE of my 5 single girl friends polled said they'd give that a shot. "Next" was pretty much the overwhelming consensus.
- Married Women: Remember the 2 guys that said their wives would drag them to the Church Seminar?? Yeah, that's SO in their future. :p But, what was interesting to me was that the 3rd said "Eh, not interested" and the 4th? Was so positive her husband wouldn't be interested that SHE wouldn't consider it because it'd create too unhappy of a situation to feel like she was trying alone. (4)
I'm kind of on the fence about it. Some relationships I think are probably worth it; but, historically, I've been right there with my single girl friends... if it's not clicking, then NEXT! But, sometimes, I can't help but wonder... we're never going to completely 'click' with some one else because.. well... we're different. And our differences are things that probably drew us to each other to begin with; so, when they start to drive us crazy? Isn't it somewhat hypocritical to just give up? So; if the LOVE DARE isn't the answer, fine... how do you 'fireproof' the 'contentedness' of your relationships so that you don't lose it chasing 'happy?'
(1) I totally love that I have a reader in Norway and another in Denmark... but please shoot me a message telling me how you found my blog! :)
(2) Eew, and yeah, that'd be something to get irritated about, to put it mildly. That actually deserves a boot to the head & an attorney, frankly.(3) I seriously love that movie. One of the scenes was actually on my business website - sooo inspirational!
(4) Ok, but if that's where you are? What do you have to lose??