It’s going to be about relationships. Which is not something I talk about often or lightly.

I chose this image for this post because when I did a google image search on relationships, it was one of the only images that came up that didn’t feature either a couple kissing, or a couple with their backs turned to each other. Funny, isn’t it, that what seems to depict “relationships” is either passion attracting two people, or passion repelling them, and in either case, the focus is on passion. This picture stood out in the bunch because I see it representing trust, which is what I think the focus of any relationship should be… but let me stop there on that line of thought, because “relationships built on trust” is probably a speech most of us have heard before, and while I do believe in it, I’m a person whose trust has been deeply broken, and I’d like to take this to a more personal level and get down to what really inspired me to talk about this often cringe-worthy subject.

Yesterday I had the pleasure ( a word I am using lightly) of having lunch near a table sitting at which were a woman, her maybe 3-year-old child, and her parents. The entire 45 minutes I was sitting in my booth, eating my Panda Bowl, this woman complained about and at certain points was enraged by her husband. Beside being generally unpleasant to have to listen to while I was trying to enjoy my lunch break outside the chaos of makeup-land, there were several things that bothered me about this conversation. The first of which was that it was taking place in front of her child, the second was that her parents joined in on bashing the husband, and the last was that she kept insisting that it was all things she could not talk to her husband about.

Obviously I don’t know this family, perhaps her husband is a horrible man (although I can’t say that any of the things she was talking about seemed all that criminal to me), there are many things I couldn’t possibly understand about their relationship as only an audience to the one-sided rant. But it got me to thinking about the one thing about relationships I am most terrified of and value the most deeply: communication (trust… because I think the two go hand in hand).

I am single. I’ve been single… well for a while now, and the scenario I described above is one that puts a lockdown on my emotions even at the peak of the sappiest chick-flick. It’s extraordinary the power it has over my feelings, when it comes to thinking about relationships. Like any single girl I wonder about the future… I can even admit that at times I worry about the future. I see couples holding hands on the street, or watch cheesy romantic comedies and my heart twists a little, or I look into the faces of my nieces and nephews and ponder to myself and to God, “Will I ever be a mother?” And sometimes it’s an ache, and other times it’s really a question, will these things play out in my life, and if they don’t what does my future hold?

Certainly there are many things in life to be and do beside being a wife or mother or both, and while I do want these things, having had my trust broken the way I have, I can honestly say I don’t want them only for the sake of having them and I wont accept them under anything less than the right circumstances.  In my head that statement sounds so much more sever than it looks when I read it back to myself. =) I’ll explain…

I can’t tolerate the thought of a relationship where communication isn’t completely open… which sounds pretty generic. I think most women would say something like that, we are, after all, supposed to be the grand communicators of the sexes. However, in my recent plunge into chick-flicks (for research purposes only, I assure you ;>) I find that what most women mean by open communication is something like, ” I want you to want to talk to me about all the stuff I want to talk about, and I want you to tell me what I think I need to hear, but not any of the stuff you’re actually feeling because it might hurt my feelings.” Women seem to make a kind of game out of communication, and where there isn’t much, oh boy, do we have the imaginations to fill in the gaps on our own, let me tell ya!

That isn’t what I mean by wanting open communication at all… which isn’t to suggest that I am super-woman.  I am just as female as the next girl, I’m just as terrified of rejection, just as tempted by manipulation, and just as much in need of affirmation. But after nearly 30 years of life on this planet, and having my heart bruised, broken, smashed to pieces, I know that I need real communication in order to have a good relationship.  In the midst of my brokeness, I’ve been blessed to have some people in my life who love me in a way that allows them to tell me the truth, even when it hurts. And at times it really does hurt, but it’s also created the pillars help make me stable as a person. I know that their love doesn’t go away because I do something stupid, I know that nothing is hidden or secret with them, there’s nothing lurking in the dark shadows that I have to fear or worry about. I can really trust them. I can be angry with them and it not be the end of the world, they can be angry with me and it not be the end of the world.

I don’t want to be one of those girls whose attitude is, “Men have hurt me, men have broken me, men have let me down and disappointed me, men have abandon me and because you’re a man I’m going to hold you accountable for all of that hurt, brokeness, disapointedness and abandonment and withhold my trust and ultimately my love from you until you prove that you’re not just like the rest”. If I launch 29 years of fury at one man, then obviously that relationship is doomed, and even if he were strong enough to handle all of that and loved me enough to put up with it, the truth is, at some point I’d get hurt, or disappointed… you get the picture. That’s just what happens when humans interact.

So… let’s cut to the chase, after all of this explaining, shall we?  This is what I want, if a relationship, God willing, is in my future:

I want it to be OK to talk about the hard things… the things that people aren’t supposed to talk about, or at least that avoid really talking about them as far as I’ve seen.  At this point in my life I have feelings, opinions, expectations about God, about love, about responsibilities as an adult, responsibilities as a spouse, as a parent, about sex, about family, about where my laundry hamper lives :). No, I don’t want to have a scheduled conversation that features a power point presentation with bullet points of my expectations. But I do want a friend whose mind and heart I know, with whom I can talk about the things I feel even when they aren’t particularly nice feelings, and whom I know will do the same with me. I want it to be OK to work things out, I want it to be OK get angry sometimes and I want someone who wants all of that as much as I do.

The end… because I’ve probably said too much. =D

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