Intimate relationships can be very difficult to maintain. We Americans know this, as we boast nearly a 50% divorce rate. I’m not above it, as I myself have been divorced. If I can be forgiven a moment of faulty logic, this means that my second marriage will be successful – my first marriage would represent 50% of my marriages. So the second will be a winner!
A bad joke, I know.
Success leaves clues, as has often been said. There is nothing new under the sun, and therefore, the way to nurture and maintain a successful relationship has already been demonstrated. Perhaps not at all times by all those who have managed more than seven years of matrimony, but if each successful marriage could give us just one lesson, one piece of advice on how to be similarly successful, wouldn’t that be useful? We would have volumes and volumes of wisdom, great advice for the rest of us to follow and adapt to our own unique circumstances.
Now what about that criterion I rather arbitrarily threw out there – more than seven years of marriage? Are such people the only ones who’ve learned a thing or two about relationships? Of course not! What interests me is something that makes sense, that we can try out, explore it ourselves, and verify the outcome.
I see no reason we can’t learn a great deal about how to make our relationships successful from anyone who’s been in one – successful or otherwise. Think about it…did all your knowledge come from successes? Did you just hit it out of the park on the first try, stumble into a successful outcome – every single time you learned a lesson? Of course not! We learn the most by our misses, not our hits. As with Thomas Edison, trying material after material to function as a filament in his electric light bulb – many people thought he was a fool, but he pointed out that each time his filament failed and burned out, he learned of one new material that wouldn’t work. He was bound to eventually run out of materials and therefore would find something that was successful, right? Sure, a bit of faulty logic also, but then history tells us he wasn’t off the mark. He eventually did find the right material and he really did learn something with each “failure”.
While it’s true that much of what we learn is passed down from people who’ve been there, whether our parents, teachers, spiritual leaders, mentors, and we learn much on our own, reading books and, ahem, blogs, let’s face it – that’s not the only way we learn. We get so much valuable information when something we try is not successful.
On that basis, each of us likely has something to contribute, whether we have already succeeded or failed epically, and not yet hit the mark!