Thursday, October 9, 2008

Hello everyone!

First I wanted to thank everyone who visited my page, read my blog and left comments yesterday on my first ever entry! Everyone was so gracious, and I appreciated all the feed back…you know I love y’all like cooked food! Your support and encouragement mean so much to me…so thank you!

Now…today’s discussion is born from a situation that a friend of mine wants some insight on. I will leave out names to protect the innocent, but I’m curious to hear your thoughts.

For the purposes of today's blog - click on the below clip from Love Jones - one of my favorite movies ever! The clip is 9 minutes long, so forward to about 5:05 and watch about a minute and a half. The sentiment expressed by Eddie, the brotha on the left, is something I want us to think about.




My friend's situation, if you want to call it that, is simply this: He is married with kids, but in love with someone else.

Okay…stop…take a breath….breathe ladies, breathe! LOL!! Let me finish :-)

Now, he says he’s always been in love with this woman - always has been, always will be – but just never knew how to express his feelings. They parted ways, but maintained a friendship. After dating another woman, they discovered she was pregnant. He married his wife, he says, because after they discovered they were pregnant, he “gave in to the pressure” to do the honorable thing. He says that they love and respect each other, but are not "in love" with each other and never have been. They’ve tried marriage counseling and genuinely tried to work out their marriage, but the situation remains that they are two people who are staying in the marriage for the sake of their children, even if they are not “in love” with each other.

There is no deception going on, no adultery, no lying. Just two people married.

Now, I know what some of you are thinking, but I want us to reserve judgment just for a second and try to put ourselves in this situation if you’ve never been in it before. I would imagine it’s a tough place to be in. He is not planning on leaving the marriage, at least not any time in the foreseeable future. I guess my question is – has this ever happened to any of you and what would you do about the situation…if anything?

I tried to answer this question myself but find that I’m having a hard time doing it. I guess because we all have our own idea of what love and marriage should be. To me, bonding in marriage with another person is our opportunity to extend what we are. Once we make that decision to marry, we assume responsibility for that marriage and it’s up to us to make the effort. Both people are responsible for whatever is right and whatever is wrong. Nothing is necessary except that we remind ourselves that we ALONE are not in this relationship by accident and that all that happens in that marriage can be seen, done and felt by love. That love could be (and most would say SHOULD be) God. When we pause long enough to think about it, love is what you make, and with whom you make it.

Now, I don’t want to discount love…romantic love, sensual love. Love is basically a chemistry between two people. But love and marriage are two entirely differently defined relationships. In his case, marriage was a bond of a certain responsibility – the child. It was a decision, and a commitment. The love that we generally know is romantic…it’s alluring, it’s sensual….and to a lot of people…it’s fiction. The stuff born of fairy tales. The love that we generally know does not guarantee that life lived as a married couple is as attractive as what LOVE appears to be.

There is an old saying that we should “go with the person who loves you, not with whom you chase.” In that statement, it suggests that we forego what we believe love to be and look at love and commitment for what it really is. Marriage is not a vacation or a prolonged holiday. Marriage is work, compromise, adaptations, changes, intimate conversations, laughter, sexual intimacy, confusion, joy, smiles, tears, pain, crises, re-education, apologies, mistakes…more mistakes, new knowledge…and yes….Love. If children are involved, include parenting and repeat all of the above for each year of marriage and each child. But also with all of that comes wisdom. Is wisdom something that we get from romantic love? Or from the commitment alone? After the bloom fades and the differences begin to emerge, is that an opportunity for real love?

Sonia Sanchez says “There are things sadder than you and I. Some people do not even touch.”

Which would you long to have? The touch?….You tell me…

9 comments:

Dre Lew said...

Hi Brooke,

That's a really tough cookie!!! No matter how you look at it...but here my 3 cents worth. Love and marriage I think are difficult enough when it's for the right reasons...so let's say that getting married seems to have solve one problem only to have created a larger one. You can't help who love...it is what it is.

"The Spin" Say the person didn't marry his current wife...she has the child...they are both responsible parents and the child is brought up in a very loving atmosphere. He follows is heart and marries his true love. Some folk have had a wonderful experience with their step-parents, but some not ~ it's what you make it.

Does a marriage have a chance if you already have one foot out the door(the true love). All the counselling can't help if the heart is not there...as discribed seems like a prison sentence ~ after time is served he moves on???

The question ~ to stay or go. The obvious is that if the relationship gets toxic...you got to go for the emotional well being of all, especially the child. If you saw the movie "The Breakup" Things can get progessively worse.
I personally can't sleep if I am in the wrong place(relationship)...as you said, this ain't physics ~ in other words, I choose sleep.

Your thoughs....

Dre

Brooke said...

Wow Dre...there are so many ways to look at this situation, so I guess it depends on each person's comfort level and what they can and cannot tolerate. I never thought of it as a prison sentence, but I guess one can. I never looked at it from the standpoint of a "prison sentence." How sad. How many of us would choose to stay in prison if staying there meant stability for our kids? Not sure what I'd do since I don't have kids...hard one.

Thanks for your 3 cents tho! made me think!

Keefe said...

Brooke,

What an interesting blog. And Dre you are right. This is a TOUGH one to comment on. However, I have to disagree with the "prison" comment.

To an extent, I agree with the couple. Growing up I have ALWAYS had mom and dad in my household. Good, bad, or indifferent they were always there. We were always there as a family. Maybe this couple wants to break the cycle of the “single parent” home that plague our community? Maybe they want their children to understand the value of family? Whatever their reason is, I appreciate that they are willing to make a huge sacrifice for their kids.

Brooke said...

Good point. Do you think the sacrifice that they're both making can bring them closer together in the long run? Create a different kind of love that is stronger than romantic love that will keep them together long after the children have grown up and left the house?

Dre Lew said...

The follow up ~ Hey there...the prison comment was as how I saw it discribed(as noted). The guy was saying...I love this other person, I alway have and always will. So...maybe prison was a bit harsh, but in this situation ~ how do truly seek help to the problem when he has it writen in stone, I love this other person??? It did seem to say(maybe just me?) that once the kids are grown and out of the picture ~ he moves on.

Agreed...keeping the family together is very admirable! But the question for me is what do the kids see. As much as grown ups want to think they hide things from children ~ children are very perspective. So if they see positive/loving great, march on. But if they see bitter side of two just sticking it out, that's what I was saying. I have run across folks who grew up with parents fighting. Better to have peace apart ~ than confront children with a large discord.

Hope that gives more clarity.

Dre

Brooke said...

As a child of divorced parents, I can honestly say I was better off having NOT had both parents raise me. While I knew my dad, spent time with him and equally his side of the family, I don't feel like I lost out on love from either one. While my father fought the divorce, my mother simply did not think it would be good for my sister and I to see them fighting all the time. My mother witnessed that in her own household and it scarred her for life. She didn't want to pass that on to us. It was a hard decision to make, but it's one I'm glad she made...for us. Now, I'm not saying that my friend and his wife fight all the time, if at all. Who knows what goes on in their house. But for me, I don't think I would the same person I am today had I grown up seeing two people who are supposed to love each other NOT love each other. I think it would have skewed how I view relationships in general. It definitely was better for my sister and I to get love from them individually while they were apart, than to see them fighting everyday together. Not saying that this works for all families, but it worked out well that way for mine.

Amanda said...

Keefe - If the parents are really unhappy together, don't you think that that will come out in everyday life and the children would somehow be affected by it? Like perhaps it might form some sort of idea to them of what marriage is? Just a thought...enlighten me.

Anonymous said...

This one is hard. I have too many questions. First of, does his wife know about this "real love" interest? Maybe if she knew how he really felt for this other woman, problem might be easier solved? Maybe not? Also, is he absolutely certain about this love? Its not a stupid question, because we all know how we can suffer from that thing we have always wanted but never had. Does this other woman also feel the same way as he does: Have always loved, still love and will always love"? And I am not talking about just loving him, as there are other serious responsibilities that come with loving a man with children from another woman.

Ms. Princess said...

Wisdom is acquired over years. And over those years we have experiences. And in those experiences, situations arise that teach us life lessons. In those life lessons, we make good decisions and bad, right ones and wrong ones. Wisdom is the interim between our life lessons and what we learned from each lesson. More importantly, learning to make the right decisions the second time around where we made the wrong decisions the first time. Realists say wisdom doesn't exist when referring to love because what exactly is a wrong decision? I have a couple of friends who are married...in wedded bliss...and are swingers. Happy-as-pigs-in-slop in love with one another. Some of us would say that's wrong or they'll later regret that! Is it? They feel this is just an activity that they share. They're committed to staying together, have a couple of kids, nice home...all that Leave It To Beaver business. Ahhh, what do I know.
Brooke-lyn, I feel for your friend who didn't happily-ever-after (yes it's a verb...a Prannie-ism if you will - write it down!) the one he's in love with. The heart wants what the heart wants. However, don't ever count out God's awesome stratagem. They say if you want to make God laugh, tell him what you had planned. The one we think we should wind up with is not always the one we should. Everything's done for a reason. I know there was one who I thought I could and would be with for the remainder of my days on Earth. Ha! And that's all I have to say about that.
But before feeling sorry for himself and sulking, ask him to assess his current situation. The woman he's in love with: Would she be able to keep house? Raise children? Balance household expenses? Be your comforter and one you can safely rely on? He may just be in love with what he thinks he's missing. He may not be missing anything at all. He very well may have what he wants (and needs) but he's fixated on the one he felt like he should be with.
Then again, what do I know?

~Princess

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