>Share and Share Alike

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I recently heard the story of a very amusing, eccentric, fifty something woman who smokes about three packs a day, watches movies from midnight to about five in the morning and sleeps most of the morning away.  She
apparently lives with her husband of many years but on different floors of the same house, at different hours of the same day.  When presented with the opportunity of sharing her hours and interests with her spouse, she finds that he either falls asleep or resents her for compelling him to do yet another thing he is not interested in doing.  So instead of ringing his neck, like she might be inclined to do, she leaves him alone and goes about her life as she wishes.

Reflecting on all I had heard, I found that I understood her and thought her wise.  Do we have the right to condemn someone to a lifetime of activities they have no inclination to try or enjoy, just because we have
made the commitment to live together till death do us part?  Can we respect them enough to let them lead their own lives as they see fit, just as we should lead our own.

Of all the relationships I’ve observed I see that the most common desire amongst women seems to be to share more and amongst men to be just left alone.  It seems to me that women are indulged more in the early stages of the relationship and later on they are expected to settle in to a nice, calm and undemanding existence.  Most women seem to have an insatiable appetite for attention and sharing while as for most men, all this seems to be is a nuisance they have to put up with to get what they want.  After a while men seem to complain about the nagging and the interfering, while the women complain about the lack of attention and communication in the relationship.

So, who is right?  Do we have the right to expect more from them?  Is it so hard to comply with at least some of our wishes?  Are their wishes less important than ours?

It seems that as time goes by each individual gets more distinctive in his or her personal traits and habits.  It also seems that we all want to be understood and accepted as we are.  But do we try to accept and understand the other side?  What if all he wants to do in his spare time is to sit and watch a bunch of grown men run around after a ball for hours?  Do we have the right to demand, in the name of sharing, he watch an “interesting” movie with us instead?  How many of us can successfully join in our partner’s favorite pastimes without talking or doing something that distracts them?   

For years, whenever my husband and I traveled any where we used to have some major disagreements about the way we wanted to enjoy our vacation.   I wanted to see as much as possible of whatever history and art the city had to offer while he just wanted to find out about the nice restaurants and maybe take a scenic look at the city, try to get a feel for it and that’sit.  My problem was I wanted to share all I saw with him.  I wanted to get his opinion on what I saw and let it be a part of our combined experience.  I used to plead and try to entice him into doing what I wanted until we ended up fighting.  After a while, I realized, he might not be interested in seeing all the museums of all the European cities we have traveled to and he might just want to enjoy the city in his own way.  He has a right to his preferences as much as I have a right to mine.  So now when we travel, I leave him on his own to do whatever he wishes until I join him in whatever activity we might enjoy together.  I find we have a lot more to contribute
to one another when we get together after a day spent on our own respective interests.

If we were to manage this in our everyday lives, would we succeed in making things work more pleasantly to suit everybody involved?  Is there enough love and understanding in our relationships to accept each other as the individuals we are and persevere?  I sure hope so. 

A life shared with an unwilling companion would be pure drudgery as oppose to someone who has an open mind, in which case it could be close to paradise.

I hope and pray for more understanding and acceptance in all our relationships with our chosen partners in life.