Sunday, July 31, 2005

All Work & No Play

All work and no play makes Jane a boring girl, as the old saying goes. Being in a monogamous relationship for more than a few years may become a bit redundant at times, depending on the two people. Especially today, it is extremely challenging to make ends meet off one income. It’s even more of a challenge for a couple to have a normal life with two incomes due to the lack of time together, and the fatigue that comes into play when there are two people working in the household. Real estate keeps going up and up, as well as renting an apartment or a condo. Working has become the means of ‘living’. We live for our work. Most of us are in careers that we don’t even like, and if you are fortunate enough to be doing something you like—you are indeed very lucky. The whole bottom line is, when do we get enough quality times to be with our significant others? When do we start making time for our lover?

Procrastination has become a big part of being in a relationship. Of course, when you’re in a new relationship, it’s a bit different, and you make time with that person you care for. Why can’t we hold on to that concept and use it for the future years to come? You literally have to ‘make a date’ with your partner to actually have sex with them, if they’re not too tired from the daily routines they’re accustomed to. I can remember a time when I was working for a telecommunications company and my partner was working for a car dealership. Both companies demanded a lot of our time. She worked twelve hour shifts, and I worked twelve hours shifts in the beginning of the week. At the end of my week, I had the weekends off, but my partner didn’t. Her day off was on a Tuesday, and a Sunday once in a blue moon. It was hard to schedule any events with her due to the conflict of work schedules. We argued a lot of times due to this and I also complained of how we never got to go away on weekends together or do normal things that other couples did. Were other couples having this problem though? Of course they were, but to me, it seemed as though we were the only ones facing this dilemma. Eventually, our intimacy faded out, there was no time, and I would come home, eat dinner and do my regular evening routine, then go to sleep. My partner would come home, eat, and then go to sleep because she came home much later than I did. We basically had no time to talk, because there wasn’t any left at the end of the day. Communication started to diminish and our relationship was more of a ‘roommate’ situation now.

Time went on, and my partner was going through a depression. I thought that it may have been that she didn’t love me anymore. I didn’t talk to her about it because I was scared to hear those words come out of her mouth, so lack of communication on my part was evident as well. We eventually had to make that awful decision of whether or not to implement separation. The only thing we were good at back then was arguing. It was an unhealthy situation that needed to be addressed; but who the heck wanted to address it? Not me, that’s for sure, but I wasn’t going to just leave it like that and become one of those couples who don’t talk or communicate. I finally sat her down, and explained how a separation may be beneficial to us right now. Separation can either make or break us---is how I thought. It was during that time of separation where I began to realize that our jobs, careers, what we do for a living isn’t as important as our loved ones.

Yes, making ends meet is a must, of course, but to put work priority to your partner and shutting them out is extremely detrimental to one’s relationship. If you cannot avoid the work situation and long hectic hours of the day, then it’s wise to communicate and ‘make time aside’ for a date with your lover. When my partner and I got back together, she made a point to take Sunday and Mondays off, which was great, because now I had those days off as well and we could do things together. She made such an effort that it amazed me. I was very shocked to see the changes that had been made, and very pleased. It is very common for couples of any lifestyle to go through this, and especially to have their intimacy slowed down a bit due to their hectic lifestyles, but with a little effort and communication, you will be amazed at the results. The key with anything in life is moderation. Work in moderation, intimacy in moderation (or above!) and of course time for ourselves, as well is very important too. Don’t forget that we need time for ourselves to think things through without surrounding influences and time to pray & meditate; whatever it is that makes you relax and become closer to God or closer to what you believe in. For me, it is extremely crucial that I have time aside to pray to God and meditate, I feel more grounded and secure. When I do this, I become more serene with myself, making better decisions and wiser choices. My understanding on what my partner goes through increases, and I become someone she wants to talk to, as a friend. I am fortunate enough that my partner is the same religion as me, being a Christian, so we pray together as well. That’s one huge thread that binds us together. Our faith in God makes us stronger as a couple, and harder for us to be apart. What is the thread that binds you and your partner? If you can answer that quickly, you are very fortunate.

A lot of people say that you need to have a lot in common with someone in order to get along. My partner and I have almost nothing in common, but the one thing we do share is God, which makes us more lenient and open-minded to each of our interests. I don’t know if opposites attract or if you need to have everything in common, but if you find a similar ‘tie’ that holds you two together, go with it. Making time aside to do something fun with your lover let’s her know, “Hey, I care, and I want to spend time with you.” It shows effort. I also want to note that the little things are so important as well, such as, little love cards sitting on her pillow, bringing her a single red rose home, sending flowers to her office (just because) and making your partner her favorite dish when she gets home at night is a special treat for her. You can even write little notes and place them in her pockets of her outfit that she picked out for the next day. This doesn’t go unnoticed, believe me. They will always remember what you did. There are so many ways to show your love, so many ways we can say thank you, and so many ways we can make time for them. It’s inevitable—life gets in the way of our relationships, but the key here is, let’s get in the way of life and stop it from ruining our precious time with our significant others. Let’s start communicating more and making our short time on earth here a never-ending vacation.

If you live with your partner, one of the many interesting things that happen is, the two of you most likely don’t e-mail one another anymore, since you two have the same living quarters. If you do e-mail each other through work, it’s short and brief usually. Many people communicate more freely through the expression of writing. I suggest you write her a long e-mail expressing all of your feelings, emotions and how you feel about her—openly. Be honest, be direct and be detailed in everything that you write to her. Start communicating through e-mail (the way we all started at one time or another!) I think it’s a great idea if two people find it hard to talk one-on-one in person. It’s sad to see the romance fade after years of being together. It’s almost a shame to see two people who loved and cared for one another so much, to break up after somewhat years. Don’t get me wrong, I know that it happens and it is a normal process of life, and hopefully those two made an effort to work things out before the break up; nevertheless, it is still a shame to see that occur.

The other side of the spectrum is couples who work together at the same place. Now this can either make or break the two depending on the circumstance. I used to work with my ex-girlfriend for approximately one year or so, I got her a job with me working for the telecommunications company, and it was fun—till it got hairy! When we fought, I couldn’t focus on my work, I was not concentrating on anything, and when we passed one another by in the hall, we gave each other snarling looks---or just ignored each other all together which was even worse. She thought every person I went to lunch with was my new girlfriend or new ‘interest’. At times, I even saw her take her breaks the same time I took mine, and this made me feel a bit awkward, and a bit stalked to tell you the truth. The company ended up laying people off and I decided that this was the end of my work here; I needed to move on and get out of this place. For me, working with my girlfriend was very stressful and unnerving. They always say, never do business with family; well I think the same is true with your partners as well. Your workplace is sometimes your sanctuary to get away from your partner at times, as sad as that sounds. What’s even a nicer thought is that your partner can’t wait to get home. This is truly a fortunate thing to have. The anticipation to come home to your lover is definitely a wonderful sign for you two. Whether you love or hate your job, if you feel that excitement of coming home to your baby, I think that you have it better than most.

As the Dorothy tapped both her shoes together in the movie, “The Wizard of Oz”-- and said, “There’s no place like home.” I think she got it down right! That’s how it should be. Your home should be your sanctuary, the place that you desire going back to, the place where you are loved, the place that holds love for “you”, and most of all, the place that you share your inner most ‘self’ with the love of your life. That is what I call, “home”…

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