Having the Same Goals Won’t Save Your Relationship

hands slipping part

(Image/singleblackmale.org)

An unexpected phone call changed everything.

I was in the middle of failing to learn how to speak Spanish effectively when my dad handed me the house phone.

“Hello?”

She spoke.

Oh man. It’s her.

I hadn’t talked to her in six months, and even though we’d known each other for a few years, we didn’t know each other particularly well.

After a lifetime in Ohio like me, she was moving to Florida with friends, she said. She had just graduated from the same university where I had another year of classwork before I’d get my degree.

Something was telling her she needed to see me before she left. You know — a feeling. Just like in the movies.

Dad reluctantly agreed to a stranger he had never met flying into town and staying with us for a few days that set the direction for the rest of my life.

The family loved her. My friends loved her.

I loved her.

She canceled her planned move to Florida, knowing I was planning to move there a year later. She would wait.

I instantly stopped living like a single 21-year-old. I would wait.

We had the same goals.

And for the first time in my young life, I was pretty sure I had found someone with whom I wanted to chase them with forever.

An Unmatched Pace Will Cause Just as Much Distance as Misalignment

I think alignment between two people is a prerequisite to them having a successful relationship.

Two people must want the same things in life for them to have a functional, mutually beneficial partnership.

We can generically call them “goals.”

But what I really mean is that two people must achieve alignment with their values (and honor one another’s boundaries) to have any chance of making it.

I think people need to share core beliefs about life (especially if they are raising children together), otherwise I think their lives will suck. Painfully.

I think people need to honor their partner’s honestly communicated boundaries, and I think people need to enforce (that means, being willing to walk away) their own well-communicated boundaries when they are violated.

When you Share Values and Enforce Boundaries, you achieve Alignment.

And that shit’s important.

Here’s what happens when two things are off by just one degree, according to Antone Roundy’s blog post about achieving alignment in business:

“I’ve been thinking lately about the big differences little things make.

“Consider this. If you’re going somewhere and you’re off course by just one degree, after one foot, you’ll miss your target by 0.2 inches. Trivial, right? But what about as you get farther out?

  • After 100 yards, you’ll be off by 5.2 feet. Not huge, but noticeable.
  • After a mile, you’ll be off by 92.2 feet. One degree is starting to make a difference.
  • After traveling from San Francisco to L.A., you’ll be off by 6 miles.
  • If you were trying to get from San Francisco to Washington, D.C., you’d end up on the other side of Baltimore, 42.6 miles away.
  • Traveling around the globe from Washington, DC, you’d miss by 435 miles and end up in Boston.
  • In a rocket going to the moon, you’d be 4,169 miles off (nearly twice the diameter of the moon).
  • Going to the sun, you’d miss by over 1.6 million miles (nearly twice the diameter of the sun).
  • Traveling to the nearest star, you’d be off course by over 441 billion miles (120 times the distance from the earth to Pluto, or 4,745 times the distance from Earth to the sun).

“Over time, a mere one-degree error in course makes a huge difference!”

Going the Same Direction Doesn’t Mean You’ll Arrive Together

My wife and I always wanted the same things. Sure, there were times we had competing interests and personal things take us in opposite directions, but never far enough that our hands couldn’t reach out and grab the others’.

However, we had a catastrophic problem with pacing.

She didn’t enforce her boundaries strongly enough when I was an asshole.

And I didn’t enforce my boundaries strongly enough when she wanted to me to keep up with her — for me — unsustainable running pace.

As serendipitous and magical as it all felt having her call me out of nowhere that one night and change all of her life plans to give us a shot at Forever, I was still just a kid in his early 20s trying to figure it all out.

She wanted to leave Florida faster than me.

She wanted to get engaged and married faster than me.

And she wanted to do a bunch of little life things, which added up to Huge Life Things, at different speeds than me.

She’d get her way sometimes because I’d reluctantly agree. I’d get my way sometimes because she’d reluctantly agree. And rarely, if ever, were we feeling the simple joy of doing something for someone we loved.

Rarely, if ever, were we giving more than we take with a grateful and unselfish servant’s heart.

We were shoveling coal to keep the steam train moving, but not without a lot of resentment and questioning of whether the effort was worth it.

Throughout our lives and relationships, we grow and evolve as Life introduces All The Things to us at whatever pace it chooses. New opportunities, major life events like having children, illness, financial hardships or windfalls, and a million others.

Sometimes we’ll want this and that. Sometimes we’ll want this and that in a certain timeframe.

Sometimes they’ll want this and that. Sometimes they’ll want this and that in a certain timeframe.

Sometimes that will work out for everyone.

Sometimes it won’t.

The question then becomes: Do I want this and that more than I want my relationship? Or, a much better and unselfish one: For the benefit of my Marriage which I want more than This And That, am I willing to give what is required to help my partner achieve their This And Thats?

Alignment matters. Am I willing to continue in that same direction?

Pacing matters. Am I willing to speed up or slow down so my hand stays connected to their’s?

Simply having the same goals won’t save your relationship.

Only love will.

And only you can decide which direction you’ll move and how much effort you’re willing to exert to keep walking hand in hand.

Because, love? It’s not a feeling.

Love is a choice.

…..

AUTHOR’S NOTE: One of my favorite writers is a guy named Mark Manson. He has written some of my favorite pieces on Values here, and on Boundaries here. They’re awesome.

Mark’s new book, “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” is being released tomorrow much to the chagrin of everyone who hates profane language more than they hate learning how to embrace discomfort for the sake of growth

Mark agreed to do a short Q&A with me as part of his book launch, which I’m super-flattered about.

I’ll be sharing that tomorrow. Bad language will be involved.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

57 thoughts on “Having the Same Goals Won’t Save Your Relationship

  1. Alice says:

    SO good! Thanks Matt!

    Like

  2. OKRickety says:

    “She’d get her way sometimes because I’d reluctantly agree. I’d get my way sometimes because she’d reluctantly agree. And rarely, if ever, were we feeling the simple of joy of doing something for the sole purpose of enhancing the life of the person we vowed to love forever.”

    This, again (I mentioned this in a recent comment), reminds me of a concept expressed by Dr. Willard Harley, author of His Needs, Her Needs. The concept is that each of us has a “Giver” and a “Taker”. In short, when one person does a lot of giving, but their “Taker” is getting little or nothing, that person soon resents the relationship.

    He also believes in his Policy of Joint Agreement which is:
    Never do anything without an enthusiastic agreement between you and your spouse

    In your case, both you and she would “reluctantly agree”, not enthusiastically agree.

    I don’t believe Harley has all the answers, but his work is interesting, and, if anyone is interested in learning more about Harley’s concepts, you can start from this link: A Brief Summary of Dr. Harley’s Basic Concepts

    Like

  3. Travis B. says:

    OKRickety said, “He also believes in his Policy of Joint Agreement which is:
    Never do anything without an enthusiastic agreement between you and your spouse”

    And this is where I would say some more clarity is needed. In the case of my recent home renovation and the considerable complications and frustrations it brought to my relationship with my wife, it wasn’t that we failed to start without an enthusiastic agreement between us first, because we certainly did. It’s that we failed (and, because of so many unknown variables along the way, couldn’t really have, if we’d attempted to) to start without a clear plan and structure of exactly how we were going to get there and what each party’s assigned duties and timelines in the process were. That’s the one thing that always sits a little uneasy with me with some of the philosophizing that’s common around here–it’s built on the idea of asking as many important questions, and setting as many clear boundaries, as possible at the outset of a relationship, which I believe is very valid and appropriate. But a very real struggle remains because there are so many areas over a lifetime where it wouldn’t occur to most people to have asked about first, so many situations that trigger boundary lines you didn’t even know you had before.

    Like

    • Donkey says:

      “it’s built on the idea of asking as many important questions, and setting as many clear boundaries, as possible at the outset of a relationship, which I believe is very valid and appropriate. But a very real struggle remains because there are so many areas over a lifetime where it wouldn’t occur to most people to have asked about first, so many situations that trigger boundary lines you didn’t even know you had before.”

      I agree, we just can’t know everything in advance. While I like the idea of enthusiastic agreement, and I really do think our minds can be very creative when given the chacne, I don’t think it’s always possible to achieve an enthusiastic agreemenet between two people on every subject.

      Like

      • anitvan says:

        Probably not, no. But I don’t think enthusiastic agreement is needed for *every* situation. For example, I don’t necessarily have to be enthusiastic about where we go out to eat dinner. He may want Mexican while I’m more in the mood for Thai, but meh…it’s just dinner, right? But if we’re taking about something major – like where we’re gonna live? Believe me when I say that both of you better be enthusiastic about it or one of you is gonna be in for a world of bitterness.

        My husband and I have an agreement – when we’re deciding between choices, if one or the other of us absolutely *hates* a particular option, it’s off the table, no questions asked. It’s just not worth it to force our preferences on each other. Or at least that’s the way it works for us

        Like

        • Donkey says:

          “My husband and I have an agreement – when we’re deciding between choices, if one or the other of us absolutely *hates* a particular option, it’s off the table, no questions asked. It’s just not worth it to force our preferences on each other. Or at least that’s the way it works for us”

          Sounds like a very wise principle!

          I just tend to agree with Shannon down below, that: “Good solid relationship rules are simple, it is the carrying out of them that presents the problem”.

          When people have legitimate different understandings that are super ingrained and it’s just so hard to get that someone else can think differently about the matter at hand, people have old wounds/stress/trauma that are unresolved and so everything can get confusing (like, is xyz really a dealbreaker or is it because it’s triggering something else that I’m reacting so strongly to it etc).

          So kudos to you and your hubby if you can adhere to your principle. :)

          Like

    • OKRickety says:

      For what it’s worth, I do not think Harley’s “enthusiastic agreement” is realistically achievable, but it might be a good target to aim for.

      However, I think Matt has outlined a pattern for relationship behavior that is also not realistically achievable. Specifically, in HOW TO HAVE A GOOD-ENOUGH RELATIONSHIP, he states:

      “LONG, LONG, LONG before we marry, we are supposed to outline our values. We communicate them VERY clearly through our words and actions.
      […]
      We ENFORCE our boundaries. And, (this is really important) we walk the hell away once they are violated by someone who KNEW they were doing so.”

      In this post, Matt extends this with:
      “An Unmatched Pace Will Cause Just as Much Distance as Misalignment
      […]
      But what I really mean is that two people must achieve alignment with their values (and honor one another’s boundaries) to have any chance of making it.”

      Summarizing, Matt says a “functional, mutually beneficial partnership” requires:
      1. Both partners know their values (presumably one can know all of these before marriage, and they will never change) and communicate them to our spouses (before marriage, I suppose).
      2. Both partners honor boundaries, but if they are violated, they enforce their own boundaries including being willing to “walk the hell away” when it is intentional.
      3. Items 1 and 2 determine the “alignment” of the relationship. If it is not aligned, they will end up apart over time.
      4. They must have a willingness to adjust their pace to the other spouse so they can walk hand in hand. If they don’t, they will end up apart over time.

      In my opinion, that makes the odds of a successful marriage to be about the same as finding a unicorn.

      Like

      • Matt says:

        In the absence of selfless love, humility, and giving more than we take in our relationships, I’d say your Unicorn Odds are spot on.

        People are monumentally shitty at relationships. Half end in divorce and of the half that don’t, many are miserable, or an illusion because one of them is pretending.

        Yes.

        This stuff is very hard.

        No one wants to do hard things. They want it to be easy.

        It’s not easy.

        So decide: Love and marriage? Or easy?

        There are no wrong answers. But it’s virtually impossible to have both.

        Liked by 2 people

        • OKRickety says:

          “So decide: Love and marriage? Or easy?”

          The evidence suggests that most want easy, but they think they have love so they marry. I think they have infatuation, not love. When marriage gets tough, they want out. The idea of complete commitment to the marriage is foreign and they are unwilling to have the fortitude to do so.

          Many years ago, I read a book titled Sex, love, or infatuation: How can I really know? by Ray E. Short. There are a lot of sites discussing these words, some replacing “sex” with “lust”. Perhaps it would be good for you to write about this, for the benefit of readers who are not yet married and, perhaps, those who married without true love but want to get to that state.

          Liked by 1 person

      • linds01 says:

        Rickety,
        You said “Both partners know their values (presumably one can know all of these before marriage, and they will never change) and communicate them to our spouses (before marriage, I suppose).”

        I don’t think that Matt has said we need to know “All” of our values, before marriage. Neither do I think there have been any claims that they wont change.
        I am one of those folks who believes we are continually growing, even as adults.
        So, there is no way values will stay stagnant- at least not all of them, but most might.

        I think the main thing is to be aware of how values function in your life, and know some of them in your own life. And- have conversations about them with your partner before you make any serious commitments.
        So if one person strongly values a close knit family, where parents can enter the home without knocking, and the other person values privacy, there might be some issues. Those issues can lead to resentment ect.
        There’s also issues about money, parenting, social circles, quiet time…

        Personally, for me- I know only some of my values. I have been looking at those with intention for about a year and a half.
        Because of how/when/where/why and who I grew up, I find some things that I intellectually value are hard for me to practice.
        I have at least 2 choices, and I am doing a little of both. 1.) Accept that maybe my intellectual claim of what I value isnt really a strong personal value or 2.) Intentionally practice living that out.

        In many ways your values are how you live in the world, and so are largely a reflection of who you are.

        If they are such an integral part of who you are, then they need to be weighed before you decide to be permanently connected with someone else.

        The cool thing is, when you are connected together- like really connected and both in relationship with each other the values that begin to evolve are effected by the relationship.

        So, say with money- when your young and dont have any children there may be more of a value on using money for entertainment and fun. But, then children are introduced and there is a turn in values towards savings and long term planning.

        Or, if both people were both emotionally healthy and valued a degree of emotional independence, but something traumatic happened and there was all of a sudden a need for more emotional support, there could be a shift in values towards more inter-dependence.

        That last example may be more difficult because our emotional temperaments sometimes seem so beyond our individual control…but, it was just a thought… :)

        Like

        • OKRickety says:

          From HOW TO HAVE A GOOD-ENOUGH RELATIONSHIP:

          LONG, LONG, LONG before we marry, we are supposed to outline our values. We communicate them VERY clearly through our words and actions. If you don’t, there’s a good chance much of your life sucks.

          Every day of our lives we have boundaries. Boundaries on what we will tolerate in terms of how we are treated, or in terms of what we are willing to be associated with, or in terms of what we are willing to subject children to.

          Marrying or even seriously dating someone with conflicting values is a recipe for disaster. Always.

          Marrying or even seriously dating someone who repeatedly violates your well-communicated boundaries is next-level foolish. Always.

          We communicate our values.

          We ENFORCE our boundaries. And, (this is really important) we walk the hell away once they are violated by someone who KNEW they were doing so.

          I don’t care if that’s cheating, or speaking profanely, or leaving a dirty glass by the sink.

          A boundary can be anything we determine it to be. It doesn’t matter whether it seems reasonable to the other person, but we damn sure better communicate those boundaries BEFORE exchanging “I promise to love you forever!” vows with them.”

          You said:
          “I don’t think that Matt has said we need to know “All” of our values, before marriage. Neither do I think there have been any claims that they wont change.”

          Perhaps Matt has never stated that “we need to know all of our values before marriage”, nor claimed they won’t change. However, that is how I read the above, especially in light of the highlighted text.

          I do not think that it is possible to know all of our values ever. Nor do I think all values are of equal importance. From my perspective, one of the benefits of a marriage of two Christians is that the importance of values should be determined by God’s standard as found in the Bible. For example, marital fidelity is very important, but having all the family together for Sunday lunch is not (which is definitely not even in the Bible).

          For those who don’t believe in the Christian view, there still needs to be a mutually-agreed standard or there will be ample opportunity for one or both to insist that their values and boundaries override those of the other and problems ensue.

          In a relationship with true love, there should be a willingness to re-evaluate our values and boundaries, and to change if appropriate. Are the values and boundaries more important than the relationship? Maybe, but not necessarily.

          For example, in the infamous “dirty glass by the sink” example, while Matt could have changed his behavior to respect her boundary, it is also true that his wife could have decided that the boundary was less important than the marriage, that is, breaking that boundary is not of sufficient importance to justify leaving a marriage.

          Like

          • linds01 says:

            Hi Rickety. I just lost a comment, so I’m grieving a little :).
            You said “Nor do I think all values are of equal “- that is agreed. There are other things that I agreed with, but that stood out to me.
            Please don’t take my response as a defense of Matt.
            It sounds like what you’re saying is the statement that we need to be very clear early on about values before the relationship is unreasonable.
            It may be.
            It may be more reasonable to say it’s important to understand values, and assess your own before a serious relationship.
            What I mentioned earlier I think is important here because values are an expression of who you are and how you interact with the world.
            Understanding your values allows you identify similar ones, or not similar ones with a potential.
            I think the examples I gave this morning were a little weak, and maybe misleading. Especially the money example- I should have maybe said a conversation about “If we get serious, what is going to happen when our fun money has to be given to a bald, foot tall, screaming poop machine?”
            That would be an example of how a value might change, but there may still be deeper values. Like, with money I know some people who value travel over eating out, or value time at home vs. Overtime pay- those things need to be addressed ( and not exclusively about money!!) Money is a good example because it is so neccessary in our lives (for better or worse). And money is what turned my attention to values. I didn’t know what to do with some extra money. So, I had to ask what I spend my money on, and what I spend my time on, and where do I put my emotional energy… And then I had to ask if those were a true reflection of who I am? Did they bring me joy, or was I being mindless? Ect. That is understanding and getting to know your values. Fortunately (and I will say fortunate because I always appreciate a clearer understanding of things) I began to see how much I wasn’t living into my values, and how much my life sucks. That’s not all fixed- not by a long shot, but its a start.
            About boundaries. …
            First, whatever happened in someone else’s personal relationship is way beyond my control. We can have all kinds of opinions about things, and that doesn’t make them true.
            Would I like for there to be more reconciliation and forgiveness inthe world? Sure. But, really- Jesus had to die in order for everyone to be redeemed. What I mean by that is Matt may have experienced a loss, and there wasn’t reconciliation in the marriage, but it offered him a way for him to be redeemed. He learned something. There was redemption from the loss.
            He has a new life now.
            I do think boundaries are important, and I think what Matt was saying was knowing and enforcing those boundaries in early in the relationship is extremely important- for you, and for him.
            Enforcing boundaries is something you have to do, and there are down biblical references to boundary marking, and boundary stones. But the point is- if there is something that is hurting you and harming you in the relationship, then you need to communicate it. If it doesn’t change, you eventually have to leave it.
            For example- me. No matter what anyone thinks, I know I am a whole human being and extremely high functioning for someone with my history of neglect. By all rights I should be a drug addict at this point in time. But God is good, and he made me pretty stubborn- so I survived, and I’ve done well.
            What I am still pretty bad at is enforcing my own boundaries (not boundaries on someone elses behavior, but on my own behavior-that is very important, and what needs to be exercised early on in the relationship) that it’s not ok for me to invest more in a relationship than someone else does. That is not healthy, and it leaves me always in pain. So if I managed to hang on, which I am really good at doing, and I finally got this person to somehow commit to me, likely the pattern of behavior wouldn’t change- and I will end up hurt and resentful because those were always the dynamics of the relationship.
            I think most wives leave because they have been hurt so repeatedly, without any of their hopes ever being realized. And it was because they didn’t acknowledge and take care of the pain when it first showed itself. (We want to relationship more than we care about the pain.) It was never about a dish, or a late night out with friends, or any single incident. It was repeated hurts that were not acknowledged, multiple needs not being met, and then being told we were “crazy” for complaining or feeling miserable. She had told him several, several times- but he didn’t know what she was talking about because he never bothered to really empathize with her experience.
            You can’t just look at it from our own point of view- none of us can. Just like you stated earlier- he didn’t say that, but that is how you were reading it. You were reading it a certain way bacause you have particular experiences, or hold certain beliefs. You read it a certain way, even though that wasn’t the intent. Looking past what you beleive it says and asking him, in a real attempt to understand his experience and understanding would maybe allow you to see things a different way.
            …I think I coversd everything, I’m not sure. Please let me know if I didnt.

            Like

            • OKRickety says:

              I empathize with losing a comment. So now, much of the time, I write comments in a text editor, then copy and paste it into the “reply box”. If something goes wrong, I still have it. Perhaps you could do similarly.

              Before marriage, I think it is important that each one communicate their values, boundaries, goals, dreams, personal history, style of family of origin, etc. But some of this will change with time.

              As to boundaries, I think it is difficult. The only one I personally have had did not work, but I’ll admit I was unwilling to enforce the consequences. I have my doubts it would have worked anyway, but I don’t know. However, I will say that for the Christian who believes the only likely acceptable reason for divorce is fornication (usually adultery), there is no option to “walk away” from the marriage when any other boundary is broken.

              “I think most wives leave because they have been hurt so repeatedly, without any of their hopes ever being realized.”

              I am skeptical that none of their hopes have been realized. Since I think from a Christian view, it is my opinion that most Christian wives have outlandishly high expectations of marriage and husbands. In fact, I seriously doubt that even Jesus Christ would meet them. As a result, they are constantly being hurt. But, rather than believing the husband is the problem, I think the real problem is unrealistic expectations.

              The “dirty glass in the sink” was used as a generic example. I think both spouses have the responsibility to evaluate whether their boundaries, etc. truly deserve the consequences.

              As to having Matt explain about his own experience, I am unlikely to ask as I perceive previous attempts to have been unsuccessful.

              Like

              • Linbo says:

                AH! That’s how you do it! I forgot to ask, at least twice, how you bold your comments! The word processor to comment box – duh!

                I get you have stong beliefs about living to biblical standards. I respect that.
                I do love the bible, but I probably read it differently.

                We’ve always been a bunch of screwed -up, gimpy kids and I am Thankful for His Love and Forgiveness.

                I hope you have a great day!

                Like

                • OKRickety says:

                  I don’t use a “word processor”, but a text-only editor. I do italics, bold, and web page links (anchor) using HTML tags. See HTML for examples. If you can’t figure out how to do this, let me know.

                  Note: I don’t know if the bold, italics, etc. would transfer to WordPress comment box from a word processor or not.

                  Like

              • Tina says:

                Hi – sorry to jump in mid discussion but I needed to add a comment here. As a Christian wife – currently separated because her husband committed infidelity and ordered her out of their marital home because he wanted to move his partner in that infidelity in – I’m struggling not to feel offended by your characterization of Christian wives expecting too much.

                I recognize my struggle with offence is MINE. You neither intended or actually said anything about me or my situation specifically. I’m the one applying it to them and theorizing how you would react to my specific situation.

                Here’s the comment I want to make – in that light – however. Honestly knowing and communicating as much of your value system and your boundaries BEFORE marriage and walking away BEFORE marriage is important. Because once the Christian marriage commitment is made – you are committing to compromising your values and your boundaries – to working always to create values and boundaries that benefit the success of your relationship for the rest of your life.

                My ex and I failed our marriage and each other in a number of ways both before and after we made that commitment. We each are responsible for our own failures. His failure to understand that he did not really want “family life and kids” is his. My failure to be empathetic to his struggle and to let go of bitterness over the ever increasing amounts of work I had to take on because he would not is mine.

                I see Matt’s writing here as saying the SAME THING you are. That real love (and Christian love) are a choice – actually not just one choice but a never ending series of choices – to put your spouse and marriage before yourself not with bitterness and resentment – but in authentic service to something you believe in.

                I’ve struggled with being separated because I do not believe in divorce. I cannot force my husband to stay in relationship with me. But I do not see my willingness to try and rebuild our relationship and his unwillingness does not automatically make me right and him wrong. Its as I said at first – we have both failed each other.

                Liked by 1 person

                • OKRickety says:

                  I am deeply sorry for your situation. In case it was not clear, infidelity is clearly a valid Christian expectation that deserves divorce (but can be forgiven, just not easily). An example of a questionable expectation would be that a husband should arrange a date (and babysitter) every week. That is fine if they both agree to it, but it is not okay if it is only her expectation, based on her parent’s behavior or some book or speaker.

                  Yes, love in marriage is a choice “to put your spouse and marriage before yourself” “in authentic service to something you believe in”.

                  Matt says:
                  “A boundary can be anything we determine it to be. It doesn’t matter whether it seems reasonable to the other person,….”
                  and
                  “I think people need to honor their partner’s honestly communicated boundaries, and I think people need to enforce (that means, being willing to walk away) their own well-communicated boundaries when they are violated.”

                  First, there should be some recognition that not all boundaries are equally valid. For example, a boundary that the spouse cannot speak louder than 60 decibels (normal conversation) is significantly different to a boundary that the spouse cannot get high smoking crack.

                  It is my understanding that Matt is saying that one spouse can unilaterally determine their own boundary, and needs to enforce it (be willing to walk away) if it is violated. I don’t see Matt saying anything about love as part of determining the boundary or deciding to enforce it. In my opinion, Matt and I have significant differences on the relationship between love and boundaries in regard to marriage.

                  Like

                  • Matt says:

                    Oh, I bet they’re not so different.

                    I just think maybe you’re confusing me talking about boundaries while dating and CHOOSING a lifelong partner, vs. boundary enforcement AFTER vowing to (and having it reciprocated) love and honor one’s partner forever.

                    That’s not your fault.

                    I’m a lousy communicator sometimes.

                    Let me break my theory down to it’s simplest form.

                    I think people should VIGILANTLY filter out boundary-violators during the dating years (even when it’s frustrating and inconvenient, and even when all your friends seem to be happily getting married around you).

                    And I think in exchange for that vigilance on the front end, you end up with amazingly empathetic and understanding partners skillful in communication.

                    In my scenario, things like crack smoking, or being petty over voice volume would never be remotely feasible scenarios.

                    I’m sorry you think we’re so out of alignment. I don’t presume to know what your specific beliefs are, but it would be my pleasure to talk about it.

                    Maybe I can write a post about this today, and then we can have a follow-up convo in the comments.

                    It’s as good a writing topic as any.

                    Like

                    • OKRickety says:

                      Perhaps you have written about differences in boundaries (and enforcement?) before marriage and after marriage. I was unaware that you believed there were differences.

                      Based on “A boundary can be anything we determine it to be ….”, I was unaware that you might consider some boundaries to be petty.

                      Maybe we’re not that far apart, but I haven’t seen much evidence to support the possibility.

                      Like

                    • Matt says:

                      The difference is dating vs. marriage.

                      Pettiness can live in dating. It’s an opportunity for someone else to enforce their boundaries. It’s an opportunity to learn what matters and what doesn’t.

                      Dating is about smart partner selection.

                      Because making poor marriage choices is VERY bad.

                      Most of us learn the hard way.

                      Ironically for me, I was an infinitely larger part of the problem than I ever realized.

                      But if she had enforced her boundaries vigilantly when we were dating, and demonstrated a willingness to walk away, perhaps I would have learned these critical life lessons a decade earlier.

                      And maybe I wouldn’t have “Divorced Guy” on my resume.

                      I don’t know.

                      I just know dating and marriage are radically different things and should be treated as such.

                      To not, is to enforce boundaries poorly.

                      Like

                    • OKRickety says:

                      Matt,

                      “Pettiness can live in dating. It’s an opportunity for someone else to enforce their boundaries. It’s an opportunity to learn what matters and what doesn’t.”

                      Sure, pettiness can exist in dating (and in marriage). From my perspective, if one has a petty value and boundary and they insist on enforcing that boundary, then it’s time for the other one to walk. In that case, the pettiness of the value and boundary is more significant to the health of the relationship, now and future, than learning to honor and enforce boundaries. Learning that the relationship is more important than some of your values is critical to success in marriage. How to properly determine the line between important values and unimportant should be learned before marriage.

                      I do think it would be good for you to write a post with more on values and boundaries, including the differences between dating and marriage. As well, you mentioned “core beliefs” in this post and I would be interested in how that relates to values and boundaries.

                      Like

                    • Matt says:

                      The most comprehensive post I’ve written on Values (core beliefs) lives here:

                      https://mustbethistalltoride.com/2016/03/30/this-is-why-your-life-sucks/

                      People don’t like my take on Values, because it’s SUPER-discriminating.

                      I’m pretty hardcore about NOT trying to create/adopt/raise/share children with someone who has fundamentally different values than you.

                      I know Catholics married to athiests, and I know Muslims married to agnostics, and I know Jews married to Methodists.

                      It’s never a problem until children are introduced.

                      And it’s not hard to understand why.

                      When a mother or father believes that a person must live a certain way in order to be “good” or “holy” or “acceptable” or (quite seriously in the eyes of certain faiths) qualify for eternal salvation versus eternal damnation, how is it practical to expect that person to be comfortable with the other parent contradicting them on the most-sacred and important life lessons?

                      If I believe something is of life-and-death significance for my child, and their other parent (or step-parent) teaches them things, or models behaviors that directly contradict that, how are we ever going to survive?

                      If I believe what your teaching my son or daughter can HARM them?

                      Thus, I’m ultra-discriminating about Value Alignment.

                      The core beliefs (values) of one person should very closely match the core beliefs of the person they marry and/or have children with.

                      To do otherwise feels irresponsible to me. The only way it can work is for one of the parents to be so lax in their core beliefs that they’re fine with their child believing ANYTHING.

                      And maybe that’s a parent’s core belief. To let their children grow up to learn and explore and come to conclusions on their own terms.

                      But even then, how’s that going to play when their partner is taking them to Temple, or reading them Bible stories about Jesus, or bringing them along to their Scientology conventions?

                      Vigilantly enforce boundaries.

                      Discriminately align your core beliefs/values.

                      THAT is how we make marriage high functioning and successful.

                      The rarity with which that occurs does a nice job of explaining our marriage-failure epidemic.

                      Like

                  • Tina says:

                    I hope Matt will do a separate post on this as he suggests below because I see a lot of what he is talking about reflected in my current situation but still a lot of areas that are unclear.

                    I understand that the bible allows for divorce in cases of adultery. I am also aware that it does not require it. I think that my ex to be and I both failed each other in really clarifying our values before marriage. We had many talks about our goals and values but they clearly did not go deep enough – or were some how not clear enough.

                    I entered our marriage thinking that we both wanted children. We both intended to raise and enjoy those children together and that we would spend time alone together sometimes but most of our time would be spent as a family doing things as a family. i thought he and I would be a team – related to tasks and fun. I didn’t and do not expect that would mean both of us always did 50% of every task every time. I didn’t expect our “fun” time would always slip 50/50 on what he liked best or what i liked. But I did figure that over time it would be reasonably equal. We both worked out side the home – I was not expecting him to do more than me either in or out of the house.

                    My husband found that while he loves his kids and I would never say otherwise – he doesn’t really like spending time with them. He’s not really interested in the things they like to do or in having them along for the things he likes to do. That really bugged me. More than the not helping around the house, or with the bills, or any other complaint I could come possibly think of. So whether I failed to communicate that value or really discern how he felt about it from him up front or he changed after the fact – it became a huge problem.

                    I’m not interested in hanging everything on him – or claiming he is some terrible person. He is not. (despite what I may have said when I first found out what was going on) I had my part in this too – I handled dealing with this values clash badly. I either gave in completely – sure go do whatever you want as long as you are happy – and was secretly resentful and bitter. Or I was explosively angry over his going out every weekend without the kids and I. His choice to break our marriage vows remains his alone – but I cannot deny the atmosphere between us had become very unpleasant and undoubtedly was the setting for him making that choice.

                    So I tend to agree with Matt that aligning BEFORE committing is immensely important. But I’m still a bit lost on where you go if you think you have done that and still find yourself in a huge values crisis later on.

                    Like

                    • Linbo says:

                      Hey Tina.
                      I may be being presumptuous, but I think I feel your pain/empty/lost/ feeling.
                      I think Matt is dead on about the ideas of values and boundaries, but we have to remember not everything is full proof.
                      Sometimes people just give up. It sounds like that is what your soon to be Ex did. (sorry if that felt harsh to read- please tell me to “back the truck up” if you need to..:)
                      It could be things from his past that he himself hardly takes into account. There’s all kinds of neuro-attachment issues that are very real, unless you are actively working on them. And, they do very much effect your emotional life.
                      Or
                      Sometimes, people just go along with what they think they are supposed to do, and as you described- he nor you really knew what you were getting into.
                      Did you read Matt’s post about “the blue print”? It’s basically the thought that people go to college (At least some do) , get married and have kids because that is the blue print- the American dream in a way. Then at some point they look around and feel basically unfulfilled. It is what Mid-life crisis’ are made of. But, I think in part it is because there was never serious inquiry as to what you want out of life, and what is important to you.
                      And lets face it- it takes a lot of courage to say “I don’t know what I want” when it seems like everyone else is headed off in some direction or another.
                      So people make choices and decisions that have the appearance of movement or progress, but they may not be gut level sure that THIS is what I want.
                      By the time they do figure out who they are and what they want- there are a lot more consequences to change.

                      I’m rooting for you!
                      “He gives us a future and a hope”…(Jeremiah) but not only that…”this hope will not disappoint us” (Romans).

                      Keep looking up, keep trudging through, and eventually it will feel like a new day again.

                      Like

              • Linbo says:

                Rickety,
                I am so cheating on myself because I am very aware that I need to be concentrating on other things, but I wanted to respond to a few things.

                In one of your comments you said “For those who don’t believe in the Christian view, there still needs to be a mutually agreed standard or there will be ample opportunity for one or both to insist that their values and boundaries overrides those of the others, and problems ensue.”

                I wanted to address this when there was a discussion about decision making. I hope I am not making a mistake by even including this sentence. But, having a designated decision maker may be just a band aid over a still gaping wound.

                Here is my thought on this- the problem isnt that 2 people disagree, it is that they refuse to put the other persons view point/understandings, ect. before their own.
                It really is a lack of empathy.
                In business people have to do the same sort of things all the time. It may be easier because they are less emotionally charged (Sometimes), but we should be able to listen and come to a working compromise with our partners.

                The issue isn’t that we need a way to avoid problems, it is we need a way to work through them.

                I know this is an ideal, and most people are really not mature enough to function this way at the critical times it needs to be implemented.
                Our culture just doesn’t do that! (* which makes me think of another issue)

                But, that is one of the reason I think conversations like this are important.
                These ideas need to be talked about, and slowly they can hopefully be implemented into everyday lives.

                Lesson #1- We must learn to empathize.

                (*Other issue:Please know I am just sharing an observation, maybe something that can be thought about. I am not trying to be inflammatory if you or anyone else has a certain political or religious bend. It really is just something that occurs to me, often. One thing that frustrates me so much about a lot of politics these days are how Christians take such a strong stance politically that typically (At least in my neck of the woods) is very partisan. I know churches where if you are Christian it equates to being one particular party. Also, in my neck of the woods, churches and Christian organization hold a lot of money and power, and so can exercise a lot of political sway. Given our culture I cant say that is right or wrong. What bothers me is they (we) use the money and power to assert and protect our own interests. But, it is very clear biblically that we are supposed to look out for other’s interests before our own.
                I don’t hear a lot of campaigning about listening to each other, and loving your brother. I hear a lot of campaigning about “taking back” things like “Merry Christmas”, ect. I hear a lot of fear about losing our power.
                I know it can feel like “We are eliminating God”, but there are a few things here-
                First, Christianity, to me, has gotten far too mixed up in the culture surrounding it. We have enjoyed a lot of power and privilege for a few milliniums and that may be changing. But, I wished we could grasp that money and privilege was never where our power was supposed to lie.
                Sometimes God is most powerful when we stop trying to direct things (Even with the best of intentions.
                I really feel like it would be the most Christian thing to do to say “Happy Holidays” to someone who doesn’t practice the Christian religion. It is respecting someone elses beliefs, over our own.
                There are verses about not eating meat sacrificed to idols for the sake of your brother. It’s kind of the same thing. If someone else cant stomach the thought about even a small religious saying, then we should respect that.
                If this is extremely offensive to you, I apologize and will not mention it again…
                But the big point I want to make is how in politics we DO NOT look out for other peoples interests, only our own- because we believe they are “right.” )

                Like

                • Linbo says:

                  PS-“Happy Holiday’s” was just an example. .. :)

                  Like

                • OKRickety says:

                  Linbo,

                  “Here is my thought on this- the problem isnt that 2 people disagree, it is that they refuse to put the other persons view point/understandings, ect. before their own. It really is a lack of empathy.”

                  If someone is never willing to put another’s desire ahead of their own, then they are acting selfishly and that will cause problems.

                  There is a difference between unselfishness and empathy. Empathy is “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another”. I don’t like this definition as I think it is entirely possible to understand a loved one’s feelings but still not share them. For now, I am going to use unselfish instead of empathy, with unselfish meaning being kind, considerate, and generous to others.

                  “But, having a designated decision maker may be just a band aid over a still gaping wound.”

                  Ideally, decisions in a marriage will be made unselfishly. How to do this deserves its own separate discussion.

                  But, sometimes, important decisions must be made quickly and have only two options. If spouses desire different options, then compromise is not possible and one spouse must submit to the other’s desire (mutual submission is not possible). I believe the biblical model is that the husband will make the decision in that case. Others believe otherwise. But no matter how it is done, a decision must be made and only one spouse will get their desire. Note: I think mutual submission is logically impossible, but that discussion can wait for another day.

                  If both parties have been unselfish, then there should not be a gaping wound, although there will often be some hurt.

                  “Lesson #1- We must learn to empathize.”

                  I think Lesson 1 should be “We must be kind (considerate of others and generous to them).”

                  “It is respecting someone elses beliefs, over our own.
                  There are verses about not eating meat sacrificed to idols for the sake of your brother. It’s kind of the same thing.”

                  It may seem the same, but I don’t think it is. It’s one thing to be concerned about another Christian’s spiritual health, and quite another to be concerned about respecting a non-Christian’s spiritual beliefs. However, in both cases, I think that being kind is appropriate.

                  Like

                  • Linbo says:

                    Hi Rickety :).
                    I appreciate your view point.
                    I’m curious- are you really interested in understanding what I mean, or would you be content to keep your understanding and move on to a different topic?

                    Like

                    • Linbo says:

                      Are the dialog boxes getting narrower and narrower, or is that just me?

                      Ok Rickety,
                      You said
                      “If someone is never willing to put another’s desire ahead of their own, then they are acting selfishly and that will cause problems.”

                      First, I am curious as to why you prefer the use of such consummate terms as “never”, and previous the use of “all” etc. Is this a way of testing universality in the statement?

                      Because life is what it is, in its very incomplete, imperfect form I tend to think its ok to have things be “usually true” and be aware that there are times that they are not. In diagnosing we coin those things horses and zebras. It’s usually a horse, but keep you eyes out for the zebra’s.

                      If we are talking about real things and not just idyllic things (which I tend to do myself, so no judgement!!) then the use of always, never, all, etc. tend to not really be useful.

                      But, I agree that if people put their desires ahead of other people’s even most of the time could be labeled selfish.

                      I think we need to assess the selfish/unselfish and empathy thing, because those terms, to me, feel very different. And the reason it is different is because of boundaries.

                      You said “There is a difference between unselfishness and empathy. Empathy is ‘the ability to understand and share the feelings of another’ I don’t like this definition as I think it is entirely possible to understand a loved ones feelings but still not share them. For now, I am going to use unselfish instead of empathy, with unselfish meaning being kind, considerate and generous to others.”

                      First, I tend to think it would be impossible to understand the feelings of another unless you also felt the feelings of another. It doesn’t mean you have to agree with the feelings. Just, understand what they are.

                      So, say a child see’s a lizard and freaks out like holy hell, starts screaming and runs away. You don’t have to agree that the lizard is worth all that, but you can understand – yeah, I was bit by a dog once and I felt like that for 10 years afterwards, every time I would see a dog.

                      The thing about empathy is that it connects you as two humans. It says I get the emotion in you, because I have emotions, too.

                      Second, Empathy does not require you to give up your boundaries. And, I feel that “selfishness” is used so very often in our society as a manipulation tool that obligates you to do things you don’t want to do, and that you are really not “meant” to do ,even, but are what other people want you to do.

                      I think I have used the example of my friend before, I will call her A-Stew (because that’s what we call her .. : ).

                      We are both nurses, we went to the same church together and we worked at the same hospital together. In part because I wanted to get to know her, and in part because I felt (like most people do) that we have this social connection, so I can sort of lean on you, right? I asked her a few favors here and there.
                      Well, every time I asked her for help either with work, or with something in the church her answer was always a “no”. It was unapologetic, no sweet nice “Im sooo sorry, I cant because…” . It was just “no.”
                      It frustrated me and I really thought she didn’t like me. But, the more I got to know her (And her family) I got that she was just really ok with upholding her boundaries.

                      It’s not selfish to preserve yourself.

                      The fact of the matter was she had other things she was going to do that brought her life and joy or had meaning for her.

                      But,just because these things were positive experiences for her doesn’t mean that they gave her more time, or energy or more money.

                      Let me back up and clearly state what I mean- we are finite human beings, with finite resources.

                      We can only give so much before we have nothing to give. Then you can become angry and resentful.

                      So, you have to allocate your resources.

                      I will spend time writing you back because I feel these topics are important. I wont spend time trying to convince you I am right, nor will I argue with an orangatang – it just wouldn’t be a good use of my time (I am not comparing you to an orangatang- I just think that trying to convince someone I’m right, who is not interested in listening is a waste of time.)

                      When you are unholding your boundaries you are protecting your resources. You are protecting your (literal) self. You are protecting your person.

                      We cannot give to the things that are really important (and I would say really important to God, too) unless we have something to give. I cannot be compassionate to my patients if I was up all night fighting with my (imaginary) husband. 

                      Now it depends on what you believe, but I tend to believe that God equipped us women with many good things to do out in the world. That isn’t to the exclusion of a husband and close relationships, it is in addition to them. He made you to be a fully functional whole human being with a point and purpose.
                      If you spend who you are on pleasing other people, you are wasting what he has given you.

                      But, empathy- and selfishness.
                      Your definition of unselfishness was “being kind, considerate and generous to others”.
                      Im not going to say that is wrong. But what I picture in the context of a disagreement is something like: not raising your voice, listening to what they are saying, and giving in if you need to.

                      I don’t think that is a bad or wrong thing to do.
                      I think the issues come in when in order to be kind, considerate and generous you are giving out of resources you don’t have. And vis a vis with a husband who is asked to give something he doesn’t want to.

                      But here is where the empathy thing leads to: 1+1=3. (I’m being clever, dang it!)

                      If you take your point of view and set it aside for a moment. And really listen to his point of view- you hear what he is saying. More importantly you can see the outcome he wants to achieve, or the outcome he wants to avoid.

                      Then he can take his point of view and put it aside and really listen to your point of view. More importantly he will see the outcomes you want to achieve, or the outcome you want to avoid.

                      THEN- you can come up with a 3rd way that achieves the outcomes you want and avoids the ones you don’t.

                      That doesn’t mean compromise isn’t involved. It usually is. It is just that when you come up with a plan together you have more of a choice- it is your decision to give up, sacrifice whatever it is for the sake of this 3rd way.

                      I do have other thoughts on other things you wrote, but I thought this would be a good place to start.

                      I will say, though- I am at a loss of an example where any decision worth fighting about needs to be make very quickly. If you had an instance in mind, that would help me.

                      Like

                    • Matt says:

                      It’s not your imagination. It was either, cut off the threads, making it impossible to carry on conversations past three replies, or set it up to go as long as people keep replying. I acknowledge the design is substandard. :)

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • OKRickety says:

                      Understanding what you mean is not a major life goal for me (I don’t think that will upset you), but I would not bother to reply or state disagreement if I was not interested to some degree. I am fairly comfortable with most of my views, but I think I am open to changing them if I am given sufficient information to do so.

                      As a rhetorical question, are you really interested in understanding what I mean?

                      Like

                  • linds01 says:

                    Ok Rickety,
                    You said “If someone is never willing to put another’s desire ahead of their own, then they are acting selfishly and that will cause problems.”

                    First, I am curious as to why you prefer the use of such consummate terms as “never”, and previous the use of “all” etc. Is this a way of testing universality in the statement?

                    Because life is what it is, in its very incomplete, imperfect form I tend to think its ok to have things be “usually true” and be aware that there are times that they are not. In diagnosing we coin those things horses and zebras. It’s usually a horse, but keep you eyes out for the zebra’s.

                    If we are talking about real things and not just idyllic things (which I tend to do myself, so no judgement!!) then the use of always, never, all, etc. tend to not really be useful.

                    But, I agree that if people put their desires ahead of other people’s even most of the time could be labeled selfish.

                    I think we need to assess the selfish/unselfish and empathy thing, because those terms to me feel very different. And the reason it is different is because of boundaries.

                    You said “There is a difference between unselfishness and empathy. Empathy is ‘the ability to understand and share the feelings of another’ I don’t like this definition as I think it is entirely possible to understand a loved ones feelings but still not share them. For now, I am going to use unselfish instead of empathy, with unselfish meaning being kind, considerate and generous to others.”

                    First, I tend to think it would be impossible to understand the feelings of another unless you also felt the feelings of another. It doesn’t mean you have to agree with the feelings. Just, understand what they are. So, say a child see’s a lizard and freaks out like holy hell, starts screaming and runs away. You don’t have to agree that the lizard is worth all that, but you can understand – yeah, I was bit by a dog once and I felt like that for 10 years afterwards, every time I would see a dog.

                    The thing about empathy is that it connects you as two humans. It says I get the emotion in you, because I have emotions, too.

                    Second, Empathy does not require you to give up your boundaries. And, I feel that “selfishness” is used so very often in our society as a manipulation tool that obligates you to do things you don’t want to do, and that you are really not “meant” to do, but what other people want you to do.

                    I think I have used the example of my friend, I will call her A-Stew (because that’s what we call her .. : ).

                    We are both nurses, we went to the same church together and we worked at the same hospital together. In part because I wanted to get to know her, and in part because I felt (like most people do) that we have this social connection, so I can sort of lean on you, right? I asked her a few favors here and there.

                    Well, every time I asked her for help either with work, or with something in the church her answer was always a “no”. It was unapologetic, no sweet nice “Im sooo sorry, I cant because…” . It was just “no.”
                    It frustrated me and I really thought she didn’t like me. But, the more I got to know her (And her family) I got that she was just really ok with upholding her boundaries.

                    It’s not selfish to preserve yourself.

                    The fact of the matter was she had other things she was going to do that brought her life and joy or had meaning for her. Just because these things were positive experiences for her doesn’t mean that they gave her more time, or energy or more money.

                    Let me back up and clearly state what I mean- we are finite human beings, with finite resources.

                    We can only give so much before we have nothing to give. Then you become angry and resentful.

                    So, you have to allocate your resources. I will spend time writing you back because I feel these topics are important. I wont spend time trying to convince you I am right, nor will I argue with an orangatang – it just wouldn’t be a good use of my time. (Im not equating you to an orangatang- I swear!, I’m just saying it wouln’t be a good use of my time to do either! :)

                    When you are unholding your boundaries you are protecting your resources.

                    You are protecting your (literal) self.

                    You are protecting your person.

                    We cannot give to the things that are really important (and I would say really important to God, too) unless we have something to give. I cannot be compassionate to my patients if I was up all night fighting with my (imaginary) husband. 

                    Now it depends on what you believe, but I tend to believe that God equipped us women with many good things to do out in the world. That isn’t to the exclusion of a husband and close relationships, it is in addition to them. He made you to be a fully functional whole human being with a point and purpose.

                    If you spend who you are on pleasing other people, you are wasting what he has given you.

                    But empathy- and selfishness.

                    Your definition of unselfishness was “being kind, considerate and generous to others”.

                    Im not going to say that is wrong.

                    But what I picture in the context of a disagreement is something like: not raising your voice, listening to what they are saying, and giving in if you need to.

                    I don’t think that is a bad or wrong thing to do.

                    I think the issues come in when in order to be kind, considerate and generous you are giving out of resources you don’t have.
                    And vis a vis with a husband who is asked to give something he doesn’t want to.

                    But here is where the empathy thing leads to: 1+1=3.

                    If you take your point of view and set it aside for a moment. And really listen to his point of view- you hear what he is saying. More importantly you can see the outcome he wants to achieve, or the outcome he wants to avoid.

                    Then he can take his point of view and put it aside and really listen to your point of view. More importantly he will see the outcomes you want to achieve, or the outcome you want to avoid.

                    THEN- you can come up with a 3rd way that achieves the outcomes you want and avoids the ones you don’t.
                    That doesn’t mean compromise isn’t involved. It usually is. It is just that when you come up with a plan together you have more of a choice- it is your decision to give up, sacrifice, whatever it is for the sake of this 3rd way.

                    I do have other thoughts on other things you wrote, but

                    I thought this would be a good place to start.

                    I will say, though- I am at a loss of an example where any decision worth fighting about needs to be made very quickly. If you had an instance in mind, that would help me.

                    Like

                  • Linbo says:

                    Well, to be honest, it kind makes me think “lets move the conversation elsewhere” anyway. But, I’ll just deal : ).
                    I should log back onto wordpress, that usually makes it all better , at least from my perspective.

                    Like

  4. shannon says:

    Whatever agreement is come to, with enthusiasm or reluctantance or because there is no other choice, both partners have to hear what they are agreeing to, do their part in the agreement to its fullest, within the allowable or agreed upon time frame, and communicate if a change needs to happen, and then make adjustments to the agreement. Without all that, one person gets stuck being both responsible for more than their fair share of adhering to the agreement, as well as for supervising the agreement, while the other partner excuses not adhering to the agreement because he or she did not understand what they agreed to, or did not remember what they agreed to, or did not take seriously the agreement, or had something come up that disallowed them to adhere to the agreement, and/or did not communicate and adjust the agreement in a timely and specific manner. Good solid relationship rules are simple, it is the carrying out of them that presents the problem.

    Like

  5. Linbo says:

    I think this was touched on, but just slightly, a while ago.
    I tend to think having goals unifies the couple/family.
    It’s not that two people “find each other” and they both want the same things (like a horse farm, or a sail boat).
    It’s that once they are together they talk about what’s important to them, and what they want out of life -ie values. (*side note at the bottom).
    I know it seems like goals are a direction people are moving towards. Sometimes that’s true, but what I mean is- they are focusing on a similar outcome. They are talking about what they want/need and the relationship they want. And they are working towards that.
    The goal is Love.
    (O-yeah, bottom side note…Super-duper deluxe about the Mark Manson interview!! I totally need to be reading more of that stuff myself!)

    Like

    • Linbo says:

      In other words, if they both agree to the goal of a good, sound, loving, authentic relationship, that becomes the purpose of being together.
      Having the goal just states what is important, So that the relationship becomes the priority.
      That means it takes regular maintenance. That means the relationship is what is protected when things go bad (it is what is protected from the fire).

      So, really, I think we’re both right :)

      Like

    • linds01 says:

      I’m thinking you could add family and lifestyle choices to my examples of “not the goals I am talking about.”
      Because two people can want a family, in suburbia,etc. but they find out they cant have kids or something similar.
      But, the goal of “me relating to you and you relating to me” can remain.

      Like

  6. Jeff Strand says:

    Two of the most important ingredients for a successful marriage – shared values and reasonable expectations. Also a sense of humor and willingness to forgive can’t hurt.

    Like

  7. OKRickety says:

    Note: This is a continuation of an existing discussion.

    linds01,

    ‘First, I am curious as to why you prefer the use of such consummate terms as “never”, and previous the use of “all” etc. Is this a way of testing universality in the statement?’

    It’s partly because I want life to be black and white. That’s my personality and my primary work experience (most computer programming is exact, not “it’s usually this way, but sometimes it’s another way”). I know life is not always black and white.

    I don’t understand what you mean by “testing universality”.

    In the example, I chose to use “never” because I thought it was important. Maybe it wasn’t, because selfishness can exist without being everpresent.

    As to empathy, I suppose I am misunderstanding the dictionary definitions. I agree that empathy helps two people connect more strongly, but does not require either to give up boundaries.

    A claim of selfishness can be used to manipulate, but selfishness does exist and usually motivates one to behave less than ideally.

    “When you are upholding your boundaries you are protecting your resources.
    You are protecting your (literal) self.
    You are protecting your person.”

    It seems that your version of boundaries is different from Matt’s, because he says they can be about anything one person decides, not just personal resources (unless that only applies before marriage).

    I very much agree that empathy should enable spouses to come to agreements more easily and with better outcomes.

    I will try to give examples or analogies as appropriate. Unfortunately, I have not experienced good results doing so, so please try to see my point rather than critiquing my attempts.

    Here is an attempt at an example of an important decision to be made quickly. A couple has a dream property they have had their eye on it for years. The property becomes available and will be sold at auction next month. The spouses cannot agree on the amount they can afford to bid – one says $500K, the other $400K. The property sells to someone else for $450K. One spouse gets their way, the other doesn’t. In effect, the decision was made by one spouse, not by mutual agreement. Not a good result. Was it worth fighting for? Maybe not, but couples fight over a lot less.

    Like

    • Linbo says:

      Hi Rickety,
      Wow. Computer programming? The binary system… 01001010111. It is amazing what can be coded from 2 digits.
      I think I used to be more black and white in my thinking. Actually I was accused of that quite a lot, but just through the crap that one goes through in life that notion was stripped away.
      “Testing universality” is just something I do a lot, because I still do tend to talk in generalities. So, if I can apply my idea in a few different scenerios, I feel a greater sense of confidence that what I am saying is true (in most cases, most of the time), that apply’s even to universal (God) truths for me. If I see something repeat in a few scenerios then I begin to believe that there is a sort of character revealing thing about that, and so begin to believe that this certain thing is truth. At least until, I receive more information about it.
      Sorry, I think I am rambeling.

      I agree that selfishness exists, even when it isn’t ever present and that it does motivate people to behave badly.

      But, more important to discuss is “it seems your version of boundaries is different from Matt’s because he says they can be about anything one person decides, not just personal resources (unless that only applies in marriage).

      I honestly don’t think that what I am saying and what Matt is saying are contradictory or exclude one another.

      They can be “petty” boundaries, and it still be about resource allocation.

      Lets say person A has a request for person B to pass the stevia across the table. And person B says “no”.

      Will it cost person B a whole lot to pass the stevia across the table? Will this somehow be more weight than person B could bare?

      Maybe or maybe not.

      It may be that person B just really cant be bothered with person A’s request,
      and if that is the case, person A will see clearly that the cost of responding to the request is more than person B is willing to invest. (Whether it seems reasonable or not.),. So, this gives person A , a very indication of what can be expected from person B. (This would be walk away time.)

      Or maybe person B did a really heavy arm workout the day before and it really takes concentrated efforts to move his arm over to the Stevia, lift it up and place it in from of person A.

      The point is, It doesn’t matter if person B really doesn’t have the resources available, or just chooses not to use them at that time. Person B has the right to use his resources and conserve his resources as he chooses.

      So, “petty boundaries” may only be petty to one party.

      This would be in a dating scenario and not a marriage scenario.

      I do want to bring something up because I think it has come up before. I think people read “boundaries” as “barriers”, and I really don’t think that is an accurate way to think about them.

      So, if your values are a large part of “who you are”- they are what shows up in the world, they are the things you would choose over other things, they are what leads you and guides you to be the person you are; then I think boundaries are in large part there to protect your resources so that you can live out of your values. They really do go hand in hand.

      In a marriage, hopefully, that person would respect my values- maybe even love me for them. He would certainly see the value in my values in the very least. So, in a perfect world I would hope for my husband to respect my boundaries.
      I would hope he would respect my limitations and allow me to use my resources in places that make me feel alive, and bring life to the marriage.

      What happens more often than not is that women don’t have strong boundaries (we don’t say , and maybe neither party has really ever explored real personal values in depth.
      So, the things that will make you a well differentiated individual ( values and boundaries) are compromised in the relationship, and ultimately then the relationship gets compromised.

      I’m sorry, I really am tired, because I really did have a really hard work out this AM, and every muscle in my body is aching.

      I am going to go take a Tylenol and lay down.

      If you read Bowen about differentiation and “family systems” theory, you will get where I was trying to go with this.

      It is very important to be an individual in the relationship. It doesn’t subtract from real intimacy and closeness- it makes it more true.And on the flip side, being in a family/group doesn’t lessen who you are as an individual, it enriches you.

      Ok, probably making very little sense now.

      I really hope to continue the conversation. There are more things I want to talk about from the original exchange.

      Peace.
      Let me know what your thoughts are!

      Lindsey

      Like

      • OKRickety says:

        Lindsey,

        [I have been distracted, plus my comment hasn’t posted, so I’m trying again.]

        As a digression, I understand that many years ago the Russians had computer systems that worked on a tertiary system (-1,0,1, I think).

        As to the differences I perceive in your and Matt’s versions of boundaries, I think Matt says they can be about anything (this would include personal resources), but you have said they are always about personal resources.

        Suppose a boundary is communicated and discussed. Assuming only one party considers it petty, then that person can still choose to honor it, break it, or consider it to be a deal-breaker. In the latter case, I think that person is enforcing their own boundary. Using your Stevia example, if person B “just chooses not to use” their resources, then person A should recognize that person B does not care enough about them to do it. Assuming person A has a boundary that “my friends/lover will care enough about me to do things for me when reasonably possible”, then person B’s enforcement of their petty boundary has broken person A’s non-petty boundary. Of course, person B has the right to his own boundaries, but enforcement has potentially significant consequences to the relationship. Overall, I think boundaries that are likely to be perceived as petty by others should be seriously questioned before they are established. If the boundary is important enough, then it should be set regardless of what others might think.

        In a marriage, I doubt that any human is going to see the value in all of the other’s values. Because of love, I would expect that each spouse would attempt to respect the other’s boundaries. However, there will be failures and then love will be put to the test. When this happens, there should be re-evaluation of the boundary. Is enforcement of the boundary more important than the relationship? In a Christian marriage, it should be extremely rare for this to be true. Most commonly, either the boundary should be modified (or perhaps removed), or the spouse must recognize they broke the boundary, repent, and the other spouse forgive them so that the relationship remains intact and they move forward.

        I rather doubt that most people, women or men, know their values or boundaries. I do think successful marriage depends on being dynamic, not static. I am reminded of the song Strong Enough to Bend as sung by Tanya Tucker (you can find the video on YouTube if you want), especially the line “Our love will last forever if we’re strong enough to bend”.

        Of course, it is important to remain an individual, but a marriage depends on our willingness to consider another individual to be as important as ourself.

        Like

        • linds01 says:

          Hi Rickety, I’m just reading this and am writing a response, but it may be a day or two. Thank you for writing back!

          Like

        • linds01 says:

          Rickety,
          With such a delay I hope I haven’t falsely built up suspense or anything .
          I finally can really answer this thoughtfully.

          You said: “As a digression, I understand that many years ago the Russians had computer systems that worked on a tertiary system (-1,0,1, I think).”
          – Cool! I wonder if it made things easier or more difficult…

          You said: “As to the differences I perceive in your and Matt’s versions of boundaries, I think Matt says they can be about anything (this would include personal resources), but you have said they are always about personal resources.”
          I still think that you can boil almost everything down to personal resources, and using those towards the things you value. …Can you give me some examples of boundaries issues that don’t seem like they are there to protect personal resources? I can either be corrected, or I can ‘splain to you what I mean.

          You said : “Suppose a boundary is communicated and discussed. Assuming only one party considers it petty, then that person can still choose to honor it, break it, or consider it to be a deal-breaker. In the latter case, I think that person is enforcing their own boundary. Using your Stevia example, if person B “just chooses not to use” their resources, then person A should recognize that person B does not care enough about them to do it. Assuming person A has a boundary that “my friends/lover will care enough about me to do things for me when reasonably possible”, then person B’s enforcement of their petty boundary has broken person A’s non-petty boundary. Of course, person B has the right to his own boundaries, but enforcement has potentially significant consequences to the relationship.”
          The bolded sentence is exactly right. Enforcement of boundaries necessarily effects relationships- because it effects the “objects” in relationship to one another, and how they relate.
          Two isosceles triangles are 2 distinct triangles, but they can face each other and become a diamond or a square, they can face away and be a sort of hourglass looking thing, 2 triangles can relate to each other in all sorts of ways… Or, not.
          You said “Overall, I think boundaries that are likely to be perceived as petty by others should be seriously questioned before they are established. If the boundary is important enough, then it should be set regardless of what others might think.”
          I am a little confused by these statements. You said “boundaries that are likely to be perceived as petty by others should be seriously questioned before they are established.”…
          It sounds like you are talking about “rules”, or guidelines in the relationship. I think those are also likely to come up, but boundaries are personal boundaries that we should develop throughout our lives. They are a part of us, individually. Boundaries are about understanding yourself, and your values and knowing what you can give and what you can’t.
          That is why Matt stresses knowing them before getting into a serious relationship, – and for women to uphold them early on in the relationship.
          That way the partner isn’t all of a sudden surprised when his girlfriend or wife has a knee jerk reaction to something that he never knew bothered her.
          The truth is, it always bothered her- she just never spoke up about it.
          You finished your thought with “if the boundary is important enough, then it should be set regardless of what others might think”.
          I need clarification of who the “others” are. If it is Joe Blow down the street, or even your mom or clergy, then I AGREE! Your boundaries, are your boundaries (period.)
          If the others include your partner, then I would refer you back to my previous answer. You are talking about guidelines, or rules within the relationship, and not boundaries. …(as far as rules go, on a personal level, I would disagree that if you believed a rule were important enough it would need to be established. But, yes- hopefully in a loving marriage there would be consideration of each others needs, and so would defer. But, this should go both ways.)

          You said: “In a marriage, I doubt that any human is going to see the value in all of the other’s values. Because of love, I would expect that each spouse would attempt to respect the other’s boundaries.”
          AGREED!
          You said: “However, there will be failures and then love will be put to the test. When this happens, there should be re-evaluation of the boundary. “…
          So, are you saying that if someone disrespects my boundary, then the boundary needs to change and not the disrespectful behavior? I would have to disagree with that.
          However, if you are talking about “rules” , which are different from boundaries- perhaps those rules should be re-negotiated.
          You said “Is enforcement of the boundary more important than the relationship?”
          I would have to say an emphatic yes to this, if we are talking about personal boundaries.
          But, I would frame the question in a different way- I would ask “Isn’t the relationship worth respecting personal boundaries?”
          Otherwise what you are saying is that one person has permission to disrespect, and even in some cases rape and abuse their partners because there is not a clear delineation of expected, and even preferred behavior towards each other.

          You said: “ In a Christian marriage, it should be extremely rare for this (enforcement of the boundary being more important than the relationship) to be true. Most commonly, either the boundary should be modified (or perhaps removed), or the spouse must recognize they broke the boundary, repent, and the other spouse forgive them so that the relationship remains intact and they move forward.”
          Again- I think there is a misunderstanding of what personal boundaries are. They exist without needing to be enforced. Honestly having boundaries modified usually happens in abusive situations (where people are worn down and made to believe they are not people at all) , but I am confident this isn’t what you mean.
          I think you are talking about a person being more willing to do something that benefits the partner. Sometimes boundaries do interfere with that, but the boundary isn’t designed to restrict or benefit the partner, the boundary is designed to give shape to the individual, and it defines their limitations. A boundary is actually a part of the person- they are not rigid rules. The ability to give in one area may restrict the ability to give in another area- a persons boundary is to know when they cant give, a persons values indicate where they want to give.

          You said “I rather doubt that most people, women or men, know their values or boundaries.”
          Again, (unfortunately) I AGREE!
          You said: “ I do think successful marriage depends on being dynamic, not static. I am reminded of the song Strong Enough to Bend as sung by Tanya Tucker (you can find the video on YouTube if you want), especially the line “Our love will last forever if we’re strong enough to bend”.
          I am not very familiar with Tanya Tucker, but I may check out the song. Thanks for refereeing to it.
          I agree that flexibility is stronger than rigidity. Boundaries and values aren’t necessarily rigid at all.

          You said : “Of course, it is important to remain an individual, but a marriage depends on our willingness to consider another individual to be as important as ourself.”
          Absolutely. So, respecting each other and their boundaries is a part of “Considering one another.”
          Have you seen Brene Browns talk on boundaries?

          Like

          • linds01 says:

            Clarifications:
            The triangles: my point was, that even though they can be in relationship to one another in different ways, they are always two separate entities. If you take away the triangles boundaries, it is no longer a triangle.
            I know some people are unsure of why that would be a “bad” thing, and I could offer up an explanation to that, if you like. But I wanted to keep this as simple as possible.

            Boundaries aren’t “established” in the relationship, they come with the person involved in the relationship.

            And, you weren’t refereeing to Tanya Tucker, you were referring to her.

            Those are the most glaring things I feel like I need to clarify :)

            Like

          • OKRickety says:

            linds01,

            I am relatively lost in the confusion of boundaries and associated concepts. Here are some of the variations:

            I think you side with Matt’s belief in Mark Manson’s statement that “Healthy Personal Boundaries = Taking responsibility for your own actions and emotions, while NOT taking responsibility for the actions or emotions of others.”

            Jack Ito says “Simply stated, a boundary is an action you either take or refuse to take, whether you communicate it or not.”

            And Cloud and Townsend say “A boundary shows me where I end and someone else begins, leading me to a sense of ownership.”

            So, I am going to give my version of boundaries. We all have core values — the beliefs that are intrinsic to our individuality, our worldview. The next level is boundaries — the lines we draw to differentiate our individual selves from others. These are rules in the sense that we can use them to determine what we will do or not, and what behavior we will accept or not from others. Now, these rules may vary according to the relationship involved. For example, a rule for my children may be different from one for my friends. Finally, there is maintaining our boundaries — upholding them or not.

            This will be easiest to understand with examples. I will endeavor to make these generic, that is, without reference to the sex of the parties.

            First, suppose I have a core value of “fidelity in my marriage, both myself and my spouse.”. A boundary might be “I will never be alone with the opposite sex.” Maintaining that boundary could be ensuring that someone else always goes to lunch with you so you are not alone with the opposite sex.

            Now, suppose my spouse has the same core value, and a different boundary that “I will divorce my spouse if they talk to the opposite sex without me being there, too.”. It would be difficult to never cross that boundary.

            Now let’s look at a core value of “Be generous”. I have the boundary that “When it is reasonably possible, I will help my lover/family/friends and I expect them to do the same for me.”. However, I maintain that boundary differently depending on the importance of the relationship to me. For example, I am very unlikely to take a week off work and fly across the country to comfort my high school classmate because their pet died. However, I might do so for my BFF whose spouse was killed in an accident. If a friend will not make the effort that I consider reasonable to help me when needed, then I will evaluate whether I want to continue that relationship or change the intensity of it.

            As you can see, I view maintaining a boundary to be dependent on many factors. The boundary itself does not change, but my choice to uphold my boundary is quite fluid. What is the best decision for me to make in a given situation? I need to make my decision and believe that it is the best choice. This is important, because I think it is impossible to know beforehand what the exact boundary will be in every situation. Which also means it will be impossible to communicate all of your boundaries to your spouse before marriage.

            Returning to the behavior of leaving a glass beside the sink. What would be the core value and the boundary? I find it difficult to imagine. Is there another core value saying “My marriage is very important to me”? If two boundaries are inconsistent with each other’s core values, how do you determine which one to follow?

            There is another problem that can occur with boundaries. If one spouse breaks the other’s boundary and they uphold it, is it no longer relevant? Is it forgiven, or is the spouse going to implicitly keep score?

            Well, I know that my version of boundaries is probably at odds with yours. I will now respond directly to a little of what you wrote.

            “…and for women to uphold them early on in the relationship.”

            I think Matt would say this is true for both sexes, not just women (but I believe Matt has a tendency to write with the perspective you assumed).

            ‘You said “Is enforcement of the boundary more important than the relationship?”
            I would have to say an emphatic yes to this, if we are talking about personal boundaries.
            But, I would frame the question in a different way- I would ask “Isn’t the relationship worth respecting personal boundaries?”
            Otherwise what you are saying is that one person has permission to disrespect, and even in some cases rape and abuse their partners because there is not a clear delineation of expected, and even preferred behavior towards each other.’

            You are supposing that choosing to not enforce a boundary necessarily gives the other implicit permission to be disrespectful to you. It does not! I posit that you may choose to not enforce your boundary, but instead demonstrate love to the spouse by making forgiveness available if they show contrition and repentance. If they are not repentant, then forgiving them would implicitly be giving them permission to repeat the disrespectful behavior. [One of the reasons I think forgiveness without repentance is a bad idea.]

            “Again- I think there is a misunderstanding of what personal boundaries are. They exist without needing to be enforced.”

            More confusion on my part. Are “personal boundaries” different from the boundaries we have been discussing? Are you now adding relationship boundaries to the mix?

            Matt says “Emotionally healthy people have and enforce strong boundaries.”. I see that as inconsistent with your statement “They (personal boundaries) exist without needing to be enforced.” I recognize that the boundaries can exist and never need to be enforced, but I think that would be unusual and I dobut that is what you mean.

            ‘Absolutely. So, respecting each other and their boundaries is a part of “Considering one another.”’

            True, but in reality, spouses will inevitably fail to respect all of the other’s boundaries all of the time. Consequently, enforcement of boundaries should depend on the factors involved.

            Like

            • linds01 says:

              Rickety,
              I so need some time to process everything you noted here.
              But just some things that jump out at me: I think my particular definition of boundaries is more like Cloud and Townsends than anyone’s.

              One thing I want to keep at the forefront is that there likely really is no wrong or right. It is likely that these things will be negotiated on a personal level, very individually. – So, if for nobodies sake but my own, I want to say I don’t look at this conversation as a debate, where I have a stake in being right, or at least not being wrong…
              With that, it’s a little wild that there are so many different definitions of boundaries! They all do seem to lean towards self responsibilty.
              I still do not consider them “rules”- or perhaps rules are external boundaries, but they are not personal boundaries.
              It could be very well how we interpret language that we understand it one way and not another.
              I know someone who believes the ten commandments are actually promises- so it completely changes the message to us.
              In the same way, looking at behavioral guidelines, even if self imposed, does not ring true to how I see personal boundaries.
              So, maybe we do just have two different working definitions of boundaries- and as
              I’ve stated above, Im not going to try to prove to you mine is right, mine is just mine.
              But, I will mention you did make a statement about boundaries changing with different situations, and not being able to communicatr those boundaries beforehand- I think I have a clearer understanding of what you mean, but I would like to suggest that understanding a persons values will give a good indication of where some boundaries are.
              Let me read this again, there are a lot of good, valid points here that are helping understand where you’re coming from.
              Please give me a little time and I will get back with you.
              Thank you!

              Like

              • linds01 says:

                Also, I want to note that the reason Matt stresses women need to be the ones to uphold their boundaries at the very beginning is because we so often don’t.
                We are empathizers, and accommodators. I believe this is something we are taught. And, there is nothing wrong with it, except when we accommodate so much we know longer exist. Everyone else’s needs come first- that is the role of the mother, and it is expected of women.
                We don’t know how to enforce boundaries very well at all.
                That doesn’t mean we have to be a-holes and always say “no”- but we have to learn to know our limitations, and where the best place is to put our energies.
                Men typically do not have a problem with stating boundaries and not have them questioned or pressed on.
                Women get their boundaries pressed on all the time- because we are SUPPOSED to say yes.
                It is really exhausting.
                When you are in a romantic relationship- or are starting a romantic relationship, women don’t want to upset the man and make him not like us, so we accommodate in ways that cant really be sustained.
                We even tell ourselves we can do it- we like this person so much, ect..
                But, in the end- no you cant live with consistent acts of disrespect. (Read/listen to the current blog post about how they are read as betrayals)
                Matts idea, and I don’t think it is foolproof, but its a start, is that women need to be clear on what is ok and what is not ok.
                For me, being ignored is not ok. I really need interaction. But, I have a history of being willing to be ignored or put to the side.
                I have to be honest about that being a boundary- even at the risk of not having a relationship with this or that person- because it will come up again, only with much higher stakes a year or two or ten years down the road.

                Like

              • OKRickety says:

                linds01,

                Please take the time you need. It took me a long time to put that together. Here is just a little quick feedback.

                “One thing I want to keep at the forefront is that there likely really is no wrong or right.”

                “With that, it’s a little wild that there are so many different definitions of boundaries!”

                There are a lot of variations leading to confusion, and it is compounded by those who are insistent that their understanding is correct. Likely none are fully correct.

                “Men typically do not have a problem with stating boundaries and not have them questioned or pressed on.
                Women get their boundaries pressed on all the time- because we are SUPPOSED to say yes.”

                Perhaps that is mostly correct for men-women relationships, but I am not so certain for men-men relationships, both personal and business. Maybe those denigrated male childhood behaviors actually prepare men for life in the long run?

                Like

              • OKRickety says:

                linds01,

                Forget about this, or decide it wasn’t worth going further? I’m just checking.

                Like

                • linds01 says:

                  Rickety- Good timing!
                  No, I haven’t forgotten- the last 10 days have just been really full, and I haven’t had time to write a response yet. Tomorrow, Friday or Sunday I can get back to you.
                  Thank you for asking/checking on it!

                  Like

            • linds01 says:

              Rickety, I am really, really sorry. I started writing back, but I haven’t finished it. I am,appropriately, dissappointed in myself. I am interested in continuing this conversation. I really am. But I need to take a hiatus from this blog for a while. I am a critical time I’m my grad program, and I am too involved here foru own good. So, I guess I am learning my own boundaries. ..:). Hopefully you won’t lose interaest and we can pick up at a later time. Again, I am sorry for not being able to continue at this time. Many blessings!

              Like

  8. Linbo says:

    Hi Rickety,
    I am interested in understanding what you mean. The reason why I bring this up is because I believe people can learn a lot from each other, if they listen.
    I want to have those kinds of conversations, I don’t want to fight or bicker.
    Fleshing this stuff out is good for both (all/any) parties, it is meant to get a clear and full understanding. I think we are doing ok so far! :

    I’m not critiquing your understanding, thoughts or writing. I am sorry if I came across that way. All of the above 3 things are less than perfect (And I am being generous there) for myself as much as anyone else! :)

    I will respond more directly to your response this afternoon or evening.
    Hope you have a great day!

    Like

  9. Interesting. One degree, magnified, over distance.

    I suppose that’s not entirely unrelated to the whole thought of “those charming quirks you smiled at when you were first married will be labeled as ‘motive’ in ten years.”

    Funny, but not funny in the mirror I’m staring at.

    Like

Join the Conversation!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: