You ever wonder when you’ve had a bad day if it could get any worse? I know that I have. I guess that it’s just human nature to have those feelings of despair when everything seems to be going different from what you had planned. I myself am a control nut. I don’t admit it proudly, for it has cost me and those I love the most pain and undue suffering. What is control? It is a most intriguing topic. I believe that control is having the ability to make things happen according to one’s own will. This may be simple things like deciding what to wear, or which friend to talk to today. Other choices may be what to study in school, what job to have, or where to live. These decisions are sometimes difficult to make for oneself, let alone when other people are affected.
Relationships pose additional complexity to the world of control. Two people used to making decisions for themselves often with no one to answer to are asked to operate in the same environment. This can have both good and bad results. If one of the parties is less assertive, then decisions are made according to the will of the dominate party. Likewise, if two less assertive parties come together good decisions are not easy to come by as neither party is willing to make much effort. On the other hand, if one party is more assertive, then their way tends to be ‘the way’. If you put two more assertive parties together, they most likely will fight because each thinks that the other is undermining them and taking control away.
When two people love each other and decide to join their lives, there is compromise between them. It is not possible for both to live as they previously did in harmony. Sacrifices must be made on both sides as to the bigger decisions that affect both of their lives. This type of sacrifice and compromise is an ongoing process that cultivates your relationship and brings you closer together. But this sharing of control takes effort. You must consciously make the effort everyday. I think this is where I have gone wrong. You see, in my twisted little upbringing relationships were never as they are ‘supposed to be’. Consequently, once I found and married my wife I took her for granted. No man should ever make that mistake.
I am currently reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (I thoroughly recommend it). A certain passage struck me today as I was reading it. Let me quote, “You are never dedicated to something you have complete confidence in. No one is fanatically shouting that the sun is going to rise tomorrow. They know it’s going to rise tomorrow. When people are dedicated to [anything], it’s always because these [things] are in doubt.” This totally makes sense to me. I had the foolish assumption that my relationship with my wife would always be there and that I didn’t need to work to keep it well maintained. Now I’m not saying that we should all live in fear that our relationships are going to fall apart. But simply that we should all treat our relationships as something fragile, perhaps even a growing thing. You would never pot a plant and then forget to water it, place it in the sun, and periodically fertilize and cut its leaves would you? Of course not. Neither should we think it permissible to stop showing little acts of affection and respect to our significant others. Let them know that we love and appreciate them, and above all share control over what happens in both of your lives. And if they love you, they will reciprocate those things back to you. Don’t be an idiot.