Tuesday, September 23, 2014

"Death by Marriage"

Death by Marriage is a free ebook (Kindle) mystery novel by Jaden Skye. I have not read it, but I might. I enjoy a fast mystery story.

The title of this book generated thoughts about the deep pools of dangerous relationships. We hear of harm, even murders, that end either once-promising or always-dangerous relationships. I also thought of questions sent to Carolyn Hax of The Washington Post, an advice columnist and one of my favorites.

Letters to Carolyn Hax reflect parent-adult child, adult child-parent, live-in lovers, engaged couples, about to become move-in friends or lovers, in-laws, siblings, employees-employer, and almost every other relationship combination you or I might think of. The array of dilemmas should be no complete surprise to anyone in circles of relationships.

Relationships gone or going wrong, whether in or outside marriage, flood the news with tales of shock about lives of celebrities in sports, entertainment, and politics. The majority of troubling relationships, however, do not make the news or do so only when tragedy has occurred. What I notice in the letters or regular people to Carolyn Hax of the Post is how often people seem to be very uncertain about themselves, their actions or lack thereof, and others' actions or lack thereof, all at the same time. This is part, I think, of being in situations that hit life at its fullest points of hope or dreams.

It's a good sign, I believe, when people seek advice, help, confirmation, affirmation, or a more objective views. Many of the problems are not uncommon, if most of us would admit, although the situations may be somewhat unexpected. They are, basically it seems to me, part of personal identity and being so close to emotionally-charged challenges that it's difficult to admit the solution, or resolution, or even to think of it. 

Unreal expectations often lie at the bottom of our close relationship problems at one time or another. I could also say "unagreed" expectations, for many people in relationships seem to keep a lot of their thoughts and hopes to themselves. There is fear of really talking, face to face, honestly. There is fear of telling oneself, and so it seems easier to tell Carolyn. And I don't blame or judge anyone for that. To seek guidance from someone good at giving it is, in my view, a wise move.

I cannot help wondering if a third party not impressed by others' money, influence, appealing ways, or other circumstances might have been available to people at risk who were ready and willing to ask, talk, and listen to words in their own best interest, for the future. It's scary when one wants something or someone so much that truth is covered over...or second thoughts are pushed aside, those nagging hints of trouble that are quickly blanketed over with hopes, dreams, and fictional thinking.

Coming from a close, loving family and being in a long, close, and loving marriage and family situation, I find that my heart goes out to those in the news or in the advice columns who are in the midst of some extremely uncomfortable situation. Who among us has not been "there," at some time, I wonder. I am relieved and happy for those who seek, ask, and consider carefully...before deciding to continue further into a relationship that bruises the spirit.

Everyone can choose freedom for themselves, however hard-won it may be, and each person can allow their future to have the best opportunity. Beautiful doors of love, and I include friendships and family here, are often just ahead, although as yet unseen. I have seen this happen in almost mysterious ways. To prepare for a better life often requires letting go of the person we now are, the one avoiding change, and  letting ourselves out of boxes of limited expectations. Emotional turmoil and unrest in relationship can often end with a clearer eye to recognize patterns and our own roadblocks, rather than disasters we see in the news.

Beginning with honest admissions to one's self can be freeing, especially when a caring and wise listener can be there, even at the end of a letter. To hear and to offer another that freedom of honest expression is, to me, a great gift. In addition, there is much to be said for writing thoughts down...and for praying, often, from an open, ready heart. 

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