As we approach Valentine's Day and the world around us is filled with heart-shaped balloons, cute stuffed animals, and flyers portraying a variety of jewelry, I can't help but reflect on the love lives of my close friends and other acquaintances. Relationships are difficult. Hopefully, the longer you are together, the more unified you become. Supposedly, marriage vows are meant to strengthen the relationship bonds by providing promises to have and to hold, for better or worse, in sickness and health, for richer or poorer, til death do us part or for time and all eternity.
Instead, what I witness is a cynical approach. The thought, if any, behind the promises is about tax write-offs, staying together for the kids, and staying together until it gets to hard or something different comes along. The first year is often the most difficult. You have come out of the honeymoon stage and realize that despite the best of intentions, you are not married to Prince Charming or Mrs. Right. For many, this disillusionment is considered to have been dishonesty or misrepresentation on the offender's behalf. The reality is that we all want to be the person we portray ourselves to be and it is only after time that we realize that we can't live up to the ideal we set forth and disappoint both ourselves and our partner. Some partners are forgiving enough or loving enough to accept this human frailty and keep on putting up with us. These are the lucky couples. They will persevere and find joy in each other's company. They will live up to the vows taken at marriage and continue to love, cherish, honor, and obey even when it is difficult to remember why exactly they took those vows.
Sadly, others will look for their ideal person elsewhere. They will refuse to acknowledge that even as they have been disappointed, so have their partners. Instead of recognizing that this may be a portion of the "worse" instead of the "better" and strive to focus inward on the marriage and the partnership, these individuals will look outside the relationship with the idea that something better is out there and will cause them to be happier.
What a selfish outlook. They disregard the wake of disaster they leave in the path behind them as their partners and children are left to pick up the pieces. What is truly sad is that this new adventure will most likely end the same way and more lives will be destroyed and happiness will never truly be obtained. They are unlikely to realize that they need to change themselves and be that something better and create their own happiness.