I saw on a recent Today Show that applications for both divorces and marriages were down since Sept. 11th. I think a lot of us are thinking more about the people in our lives, and how we relate to them since that day. Maybe it's a part of our lives we can have some control over.
Not a very cowboy message here but, after all, cowboys these days drink lattes, trade cattle on-line and journal about their fathers.
I often comfort myself with the platitudes and other non-specific wisdom passed down from therapists and couples counselors. For instance: Staying Together Takes Work. (Like, staying together longer than the first time you see your spouse being an asshole.) I always thought that in this instance 'work' meant: Sacrifice - something I was good at when living with my parents, but have lost practice in since; Not Winning Arguments - very valuable when winning stands in the way of a peaceful life, and Sharing - not just your Oreos, either!
For me, Sharing My Awareness is the 'work'. When I go out with a future sweetheart, I'm brilliant. Witty and charming at every turn, I surprise even myself. Why then, after the deluge of infatuation calms down, does this charm and wit go the way of my broadband cable guy? (I know he'll call!) Yet, when we're at a party, there I am again doing those genuine personality traits for which she thought I was sooo cool. We come home, and they're gone. "Oooh boy, am I tired!" The shop is shut?
Careful. Shut too long can mean rusted shut.
I am lazy. I'd rather "do my share" by taking out the garbage, or even wielding the Kirby, than by thinking of something clever to say to get a laugh from my sweetheart. Today, if I am being solitary, having my own 'inner life' while we're together, I let her know when I'll be back. Just like when I leave the house. There's not much difference.
To me, the 'work' of relationship is to be willing to improvise on reality, humorously and intellectually, for the benefit of yourself and your partner. I told my friend once that I hadn't gotten much from a meeting I'd attended, and he asked me, Well, what did you give? I will overlook a lot of faults if someone can make me laugh. Turns out, being afraid to commit to staying with somebody may be nothing more than the fear of being bored to death.
PS: I believe one must write for oneself and have no public, if writing for your public has to mean that you have no self. But I happen to like to write songs to communicate, rather than as monuments to my journey, to be left somewhere to collect dust. I am writing songs that I intend someday to be on pop charts, on television and in movies. If you'd like to 'participate' (as they say in the financial world) in these opportunities with me, go to my website and click on The Woodshed.