Familiarity Doesn’t Breed Contempt – Religion and Politics

I’ve come to the conclusion long titles are harder for people to handle than short ones. As a result, I did my best to keep this one relatively short. If I had made it as long as I would have liked, it would have been “Familiarity Does NOT Breed Contempt; and Absence Does NOT make the Heart Grow Fonder.” Since I was unable to do that while keeping with my own “short title rule,” I thought it might be good to make this the introduction to the article. So, here it is!

I often wonder if I will have enough to say to “fill” a thousand words. The funny thing is, I seldom find that to be a problem in the least. I wondered that about this article, I don’t think it’ll be an issue here either.

One of the sad realities of many “old adages” is, they sound really good, but it turns out, the sound is very nearly the only good thing about them. These two “old gems” are no exception.

The fact is, in the case of both, though they sound fair and reasonable—they even sort of sound “deep”—they’re actually shallow and therefor lack real and meaningful substance. 

The reality is, relationships take work. The reality is, people choose to behave appropriately, or not. The reality is, people in the “current age” have been “sold a bill of goods,” and many of us have bought them. The reality is, but for a few people who have actually figured, or are actually figuring, it out, relationships in the modern day are a highly expendable commodity.

Maybe this is not so new a phenomenon, but it sure seems like it is to me. It truly seems to me that in my scant almost fifty five years of life, I’ve watched as relationships—particularly more serious, long term relationships—have become rarer and rarer. More and more, it appears to me, such relationships end in failure; and if you listen, you’ll find at least one party who swears that it’s all the other party’s fault—if both parties don’t do so!

Don’t get me wrong, there are instances where one or both persons really kill a relationship, and can be “held responsible” for so doing. The problem is, in the majority of instances, it’s not the person or people folks count responsible. Either that, or the reasons are not what folks account them to be.

One of the first problems in long term relationships, is that folks “jump into them” far too quickly. Would it were that folks would take their time, and refuse to rush into such relationships, the World would be far better—if far from perfect—one. And this is more significant when considering that people seem to be living ever longer. As a result, my first piece of advice to young folks seeking to enter into long term relationships is, “Truly, take your time. I know it seems like you have to do things now now now, but if you do, you will likely reap a somewhat unexpected reward, or set thereof.”

Another problem is that folks approach such relationships in an almost cavalier way. It’s not so much that they say things like, “If it doesn’t work out, we can just get a divorce,” or other breach of the relationship, though this does happen, and happen far too often. It’s that they are thinking in the “short term” and not considering what’s likely to happen as their life continues.

So here, by way of example, are two young folks working as wait staff at a local restaurant. They strike up a relationship, not considering that one truly desires to work in food service, where one is doing so in order to “step up the ladder” in the course of time, doing something entirely different. As time and events move, the two realize their ambitions and views on life are not only different, but counterproductive one to the other. Instead of changing for one another, they “stick to their guns.” The both continue to move in the path of their choice, ultimately tearing the relationship apart.

Or perhaps they start in a place that looks much the same—even in terms of what they believe and hold dear and one changes (or both do), and again, the changes work to rend the relationship in a way or in ways that is or are “unfixable.”

The point is, as has been said many times—to the point that it is seen as flippancy or a “pat answer”—relationships take work.

As if this were not complicated enough, things come along that entirely change the character of the relationship. One of the first and most important of these is children. This is particularly true when the children “aren’t normal.” By way of example, I have a moderately Autistic child. Rest assured, he has entirely changed the character of my relationship with my wife.

Please don’t assume I’m saying this is the “only challenge” we face by any means. On the other hand, realize that it’s a pretty serious challenge. How such a challenge will affect a relationship is largely determined by the character of the participants in that relationship.

Another pretty important consideration is where the relationship “finds itself” at the time those in it are dealing with such a challenge. Put another way, when confronted with various challenges, if one or the other (or both) of the parties is not in a place to handle it well, the relationship may well be in serious trouble (if not doomed to die).

Allow me now, to take a moment to impart a bit of wisdom and in the process, sum up this piece.

Please do not “rush into” any type of long term relationship. This is my first “gem of wisdom.”

Realize that relationships are not static. You will  change; your partner will change. It’s already possible the relationship will become irreconcilable if you work to make it work, but not doing so all but guarantees its failure.

Okay, you can be certain I have much more I could say, but here I am at my “self imposed” word limit—and this looks like a good place to “wrap it up for now.” So, may your time be good, and thanks for reading.

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