Friday, February 18, 2005

To A Dear Friend.....

This is a post that is intended for a good friend of mine, although she'll probably never read it. If she does, there's some things here that I've tried to say to her over the past few months, but she's never really been receptive to listening. She is getting married this weekend, and I fear horribly for their marriage. Only time will tell.

First, I want to tell my friend that she is a wonderful, caring person that I love dearly. I write the things I write because I DO love her, and want the best for her. So, my dear, dear friend, here are some things you need to hear.

You need to realize the scope of what your fiance has given up to be with you, and I don't' think you do, even though you say you do. And, yes, I mean given up. He's changed his entire world. Moved 3000 miles. Left his entire family. Taken on chores and responsibilities he's never dreamed of. Taken on a family and (soon to be) wife. His entire life has changed. Even the clothes on his back are new. He has virtually nothing left over from his former life. He is totally dependent on you.

But your world has not changed one bit. You still have your job, your kids, your friends, your home, your car, your clothes, your bed, your friends, your family....everything. Nothing in your world has changed, except the addition of him.

He has folded his entire life into your world, and I worry he will lose himself, and you will not notice. Or worse, you will not mind.

One of the things that attracted you to him was his music. You were very proud of his music, and showed off the CD he sent you at every opportunity. How often has he made music since he's been here? Yes, his keyboard has been broken, but he plays the guitar too. His keyboard is fixed now, but how often does he play? Does he play for you? How often do you take the time to sit down and listen? Do you ask him to play for you, and take find the time to listen? Yes, I know you are busy, but I know very well you could make time for him if he was a priority for you. His music is an intrinsic part of what attracted you to him, but it's not been a part of your life together at all so far.

I have not seen you express much tenderness toward your fiance in the times that I've been with the two of you. I rarely hear you say kind things, or whispering quietly to him, or see you holding hands, or gazing lovingly at him. In fact, I've been surprised at many of the things you've said that were hurtful or embarrassing (I've seen the look in his eyes when you say some things, so I know where I speak). You say things without thinking, that a loving wife or girlfriend would never say, at least not in public ("You know you can't do two things at once" ; "Pull your shirt down" etc). Usually, you are complaining about how things aren't being done right, or how he doesn't understand how you do things. The night I picked you up to take you to the airport I was horrified at how you treated him, and surprised he didn't just say "f-you" and walk out.

You yell at him for little things when he doesn't jump as quickly as you want. You need to STOP that. You should never YELL at him at all in the normal course of your day. He is not your child. He is not a little boy to be corrected when he does wrong. He is a man, someone you intend to share your life with. He is going to be your mate - your PARTNER. You MUST learn to say please and thank you, and even more importantly, I'm sorry. You MUST treat him with the tenderness and kindness and patience that YOU want to be treated with. If he treated you the way you sometimes treat him, you'd be horrified and hurt, and I think you know it.

Now I understand you're not used to having a man in your life who is responsible and smart and who can be trusted to pull his own weight in the relationship, and you are used to doing things your own way. You've been highly successful in taking care of yourself, and have made a very nice home for yourself and your kids. But you must learn to trust him, and let him deal with some things HIS way, or at least be patient until he learns and comes around to your way. This all all so new for him. He's never had to be responsible for a family. He's never had to deal with a wife, and a strong-willed one at that. He's never had children, or learned to be a father. This is all on the job training for him, and you MUST be patient with him, and heap praise upon him when he comes through for you in a pinch. Remember, he doesn't HAVE to come through, but he does. He does because he loves you, and wants to make you happy.

You must begin thinking how what you do affects him.

For instance, why on earth did you call and ask the alcoholic ex-boyfriend to come over the night you went to the airport (leaving town to go to your wedding, for goodness sake) and ask him to run an errand to the store for you (I could have done that, sheesh)? Good lord, woman, that is a man you should NEVER again call, for anything. You spent a year trying to get him OUT of your life, and you invite him back in? It's not just YOUR LIFE anymore, it's your fiance's too! Aside from the fact that he's a raging, destructive alcoholic, did you ever, for even a second, consider how it made your fiance feel for you to call the ex- and ask him for a favor? He was so mad about it he could have spit nails, but you didn't even notice. Why?

Because it wasn't important to YOU. You did what you wanted to, and that should be ok with everyone.

My dear, dear friend... you must begin to consider how what you do affects the people in your life, especially your soon-to-be husband. You have got to begin thinking about him, and dis-entangling yourself from some of your old acquaintances. Never, ever invite an old boyfriend or someone you've had a relationship with into your home without asking him. And that goes for the x-husband too, even though he's your daughter's "dad". You have a new husband now, and HE must come first. His feelings and your respect for HIM must be a higher priority than the ex's. And that's going to be hard for you, because you know your husband will not get angry and stalk out of the house, where the ex just might get mad be upset with you, and you won't want that.

I know you will be prone to think, "oh, the hubby will be fine, he'll get over it, but I don't want to make my daughter's dad mad because that will just be hurting my daughter". That's wrong thinking. You're daughter's nearly a grown woman, and her relationship with her "dad" is her job now. She is free to call him or see him any time she wants. Let her make that decision. You look out for the man in your life now. He's the important one.

And all this is important for you to do, because these are only things you'd want him to do for you. You want him to be considerate of your feelings when dealing with former people in his life. You want him to be kind to you, and speak softly, and say loving things, and gaze longingly at you. You want him to be patient with you, and think of you first. You must also do these things for him.

I worry very much that you are getting married for the wrong reasons, but you are an adult, and can make your own choices. I respect that. But I need to speak my mind, and let you know that I care, and in that caring, have had to say some difficult things to hear.

I hope you will be willing to listen to some advice. Trust me, I learned these things the hard way.

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