Marriage Of One

January 4, 2010

January Resolutions

Filed under: marriage — marriageofone @ 10:33 pm

Happy new year to all my readers and here’s hoping that 2010 is the year that your and my “Marriages of One” finally become Marriages of Two.

Usually around this time, like many other people I go through the motions of the traditional New Year Resolutions.  However, unlike most people I think I do quite well in the sense that I have for most of my adult life nearly always resolved by plan.  I mean that I don’t say things like “I will give up feeling so helpless and lonely” because that doesn’t work on two levels: first of all you feel what you feel and telling myself that I am not going to feel that way is in my opinion quite pointless.

Secondly, it doesn’t offer any alternative or options on how I could help myself from getting into situations where I feel helpless or lonely.

So what I mean is that if I were to make a resolution I would usually say something like (to continue the above example) “I will give up feeling helpless and lonely by avoiding situations where such feelings may arise and doing things that make me feel alive and appreciated.”

This of course still doesn’t say how exactly I will achieve the desired outcome.

And that of course is why I started the second paragraph of this post with the word ‘usually’: this year I didn’t bother with resolutions – I just mulled some things over in my head.

The problem is that when you live this kind of lifestyle (or should that be life style?) there is no resolution – no solution, no line in the sand and no answers.  I have no choice but to live day by day, and the only thing that can grow and become better is my knowledge of HOW I live each day.  With each passing day I gain a new coping mechanism or adapt an existing one, I might see a new perspective, I learn what works for me and what doesn’t.

So the idea of a ‘resolution’ in this context is actually counter-productive.

I’m reminded of the old Serenity Prayer:

Lord grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And Wisdom to know the difference.

So I stand here and I now know after nearly 10 years of marriage that I cannot change Susan.  But I can change myself.  Okay, Western individualism emphasises that we should be ourselves and we have a RIGHT to be happy and so on. But here’s my choice: I can obstinately be myself (or who I used to be and wanted to be) and be miserable, or can change parts of myself: my attitude to sex, my expectations and my goals to adapt to the cards I’ve been dealt.  I could give up, but I’m still playing.

I’ve come round to the attitude that my marriage is no different to any other ‘life baggage’ like difficult childhood, or bad schooling, or failing an exam or being made redundant from work.  Although I have chosen to stay within the institution, I can mentally put it in the past as an experience and live for today (within obvious limitations).  At least that is one of my new coping mechanisms.

Nevertheless life at the moment is particularly awkward: if you remember I made a pact with myself to work on my SELF not so long ago.  That was contingent on the upcoming move (which was at that time imminent).  Sadly, life has thrown a few curved balls and we are still stuck in our current rut.  Mentally I am prepared but physically and logistically, life is on hold.

Roll on 2010.



  1. Good luck to you sir- I too, am working my SELF. After Christmas and New Years Eve, which happened to include a few breakthroughs which actually ended up being setbacks, I started trying to look at myself and what I could change on my own without leaving the marriage. It’s a difficult task and I find what it all comes down to is distracting myself enough so that the rejection doesn’t crush me and my own disappointment/anger/resentment/etc. seem less important in the grand scheme of things. Stick and move, as it were. What’s the phrase? “Keep Calm and Carry On”

    Comment by ManInABox — January 5, 2010 @ 11:55 pm

  2. We all work on our difficulties. The difference comes in when there is a clear action that needs to be taken: are you up to following that path?

    Like you I was reaching the point of terminal frustration. After some relatively objective thought stimulated by some chance comments overheard somewhere, I reached the conclusion that I had to detach from the negative things affecting my life. What this meant in practical terms is I had to lower the importance of the negative things and how they affected me. For instance, I had to detach from the fact that my wife and I have very different views on raising children. One difference I will mention is having television in the house. I was against it totally, and she won’t live without it. As a stay-home mom, she raised the kids with the tube on constantly. Now that my kids are grown, they CAN live without TV, but they CHOOSE to live with it. I just shake my head and divert my thoughts to more pleasant things when I hear them complain about how little time they have. As adults, they now have to deal with the issues themselves. I cannot change them any more than I can change their mother. I can only change myself, which is what I have done.

    So if they make a mess of their lives, I will certainly assist them if asked, but I’m not going to take their burden on as my own. I have enough troubles of my own to deal with. And just enough time to do so.

    If you haven’t checked out our Seattle friend, you should. He’s produced some interesting thoughts lately.

    Comment by ToppHogg — January 8, 2010 @ 12:01 pm

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