Monday, January 3, 2011

Children Sometimes a Welcome Distraction

Ever notice how a child loves so easily, so unconditionally, and like-wise is very easy to love?
Having the love of a child is so intense that there’s nothing that compares and almost nothing that can compete with it.
Except for one thing; our adult relationship.
Every day, our adult-intimate-relationship works double time to compete for the love and dedication it deserves.
An adult relationship can easily take a back seat to parenting, especially when waters are rough.
You may not think so, but I believe this to be true.
Let’s think about the way a child loves.
They love every day, in every way, no matter what you do. They do not know conditional love. They just love. They generally don’t have (or hold) grudges and they usually do not judge, ridicule or abandon. All of the things adults can do quickly and easily to one another.
A child’s love is everlasting and very forgiving. Adults can forget how to love each other with that level of trust, faith and forgiveness.
And, as parents, when our adult relationship gets rocky, we can tend to focus more on our children, choosing to nurture the simpler relationship while leaving the more difficult one to fend for itself.
We would never leave our child out in the cold to find their own food and shelter. We know it’s our responsibility to provide these necessities.  We feel the obligation assure their survival.  
So why don’t we always have this dedication to our relationships?
Maybe because it is so much easier to please a child, love a child and get love from a child. Children are easy. They often only want you to smile at them, talk to them and spend time with them.  
Adult relationships need these things too, but we often act as if we need more. This is conditional love. Combined with the fact that adult relationships require work and our mate isn’t always perfect….who wouldn’t  turn to loving a child instead of dealing with this imperfect person. Loving a child certainly can be more fun, and most times less work, than loving a grown up.
The day we become a parent unconditional love for a child is ingrained in us.
We know this, because even after they’ve vomited on our new shirt, written on our freshly painted walls, embarrassed us in public, short circuited the microwave, or worse, backed the car into the garage door, we will still love them.
WHY? Because we know that they don’t spill Hawaiian Punch on the carpet, scrape the car door with their back pack or break our most used dish, on purpose. They do it because they’re human. And we know, as parents, our love is everlasting and strong and so we give allowances for things like this.
The question remains: why don’t we always do this for our mate? Why don’t we just forgive them as easily can do our children, and follow it by saying, ‘hey, it happens’, ‘it’s okay’ or ‘so what, it’s not the end of the world’?
Our mates can mess up just like our kids can, and you know what? We can too. We’re not perfect.
So why the difference in forgiveness and patience?
Maybe it’s because we look at children and see them as human and we say, ‘oh, they’re just a child and they’re still growing, still learning’.
Well, sometimes adults are still growing and learning too.
Loving a child is not that much easier than loving our mate, we just think it is. If we just look to our adult relationship with the same unconditional love and forgiveness as we do our children, rather than some of the unrealistic expectations and resentment, things might be different.
Forgiving our mate requires an enormous amount of self-sacrifice. It requires not taking things personally and remembering they aren’t perfect. We must love them with the same unconditional love we have for our children if we want a long healthy relationship.
We all want to be loved and forgiven, no matter what age we are.
So the next time your spouse upsets you, try not to run off on a special outing with the kids, leaving your mate home. Go out together as a family and watch what happens when you forgive them with the same conviction you have when it’s your child who messes up.
Guaranteed you’ll notice a very big difference both in your mate and the relationship.


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