We’re Different

We're here!

Of course I went to the Olympics! It was so close, and when will it be in our ‘back yard’ again?

Just before Christmas a friend asked if we were planning to attend the Vancouver Olympic Games. I heard my husband respond: “I am staying as far away as possible from those crowds”. His comment got me thinking. I wanted to go! I love crowds, excitement and I especially love people-watching. Give me all the Olympic hype!

After 22 years of marriage I still laugh at how different my hubby and I are. They say opposites attract. Really? It didn’t seem like we were all that opposite 20 some years ago.

I have heard so many engaged couples say “we have so much in common”. They fill out surveys and relationship evaluations that prove their point. Similar interests, similar activities and similar goals and focus. Of course they realize that are some differences, but it doesn’t seem significant. I particularly remember one couple that cooed “we even have the same love languages”. Then the years pass. Seven years specifically for this cooing couple. With tears she said to me “we have nothing in common” and separation was imminent as the marriage seemed cold and empty. So much alike and now so far apart.

I’ve heard that a person’s personality goes through significant changes every seven years. Obviously the changes happen over the seven year span. It’s not like you wake up on the 365th day of the seventh year and you are mysteriously ‘different’. I think we ‘shift’ as the days pass.

Renowned psychologist Dr. Kevin Leman, author of The Birth Order Book, writes that there is one trait that is in most sibling relationships. Two children that are side by side in the birth order will be opposites – totally different in likes and dislikes. It’s as if they react against the other and in trying to create their own identity. I wonder if this happens in a marriage as well.

I have a theory that I’d like to get a government grant to research some day. I think in marriage relationships we polarize. I wonder if the natural response to living with another person is that you begin to not only recognize each other’s differences, but that you being to shift away. As one person in the relationship becomes more dominant in a specific trait the other person backs off in that trait. Its like a balancing-act that we fall into. It becomes a type of polarizing toward our natural bend. The differences that we liked in each other, the stabilizing factor in the relationship during the initial years, slowly polarizes over time and you become quite different.

So how do we deal with these differences? I can’t expect my hubby to like everything that I like. I don’t want to be a clone of him, either. We are different and respond to situations differently. By allowing each other the flex and freedom of expression and experiences, we build a relationship that allows room for diversity. We give each other autonomy while still focusing on our firm foundation of commitment to each other. Recognizing and celebrating the differences will replace criticism, frustration or isolation.

we're NOT lost... just making sure the map was right

So, I went to the Olympics with all my children and we even added a cousin to our group for good measure. All six of us maneuvering through the streets of Vancouver… it was a blast. And although my husband didn’t attend the games, he had a series of meetings in the Vancouver area that day – so the scheduling worked out well. He happily drove us to the Olympic shuttle and wished us well as we headed out toward the crowds and hype.

He thinks I’m crazy to enjoy that type of stuff. I think he’s crazy to miss it. So… we agree. We’re both a bit crazy. Now that’s a common similarity, and we didn’t need a government grant to figure that out!

 

 

Copywrite © Doris Born 2010 – Permission granted to use and reproduce with proper citation

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Don’t Turn Off the Lights

 “Listen to this mom” my daughter suggested as she turned up the music and introduced me to Enrique Iglasias and his song “Don’t turn off the Lights”.  While my teenage daughter enjoyed the catchy tune and the ‘ee-ahh ee-ahh yah part of the song, I was caught by the words.

 Now, I’ve only heard the song once, so I couldn’t tell you the lyrics verbatim, but what I got from it was the lover’s desire to see the object of his affection so that he could be sure he was “loving her right”.  Don’t turn off the lights – I want to see if you are enjoying this experience.

Really… leave the lights on?  You’re kidding aren’t you? It would be awkward. I could see you – you could see me?!

But… isn’t that the heart of lovemaking? I think that lovemaking is more than just a “feel good”, or “duty”.  It is a deep kind of caring and desire to see the other person’s pleasure while mutually enjoying each other. This is love making at it’s fullest – two people fully engaged into each other, reading and connecting on more than just a physical level.

Now, let me be clear in setting the stage; in getting the parameters straight.  I’m talking about love making within the boundaries of a marriage.  This is true-love that requires a life-time commitment towards growing in intimacy.  Great sex flows out of commitment, companionship and …this takes time! I’m not sure if this is the same foundation that Enrique Iglasias is singing from but – I still like the song.

When it comes to the privacy of marital sex, seeing each other is really one of the best parts in love making.  Watching to see what brings delight, and watching the pleasure it brings. Expressions and responses bring connection.  Because men and women are physiologically wired different, lovemaking needs time and effort to be enjoyed by both. 

And also, there is the mental connection.  Looking your spouse in the eyes during lovemaking creates a bond that is essential.  It tells the brain that this person is the source of the great biological feelings that are being experienced.  The emotional and physiological thrills connect the two together. 

     “Because of the way we are created sexually, when men have a sexual act they get the highest level of endorphins and encephalins to the excitement center of the brain called the medial pre-optic nucleus,,, and this surge creates an amazing rush.  But with this chemical hit in the brain, men literally attach, glue to, and then hunger for whatever it was they were looking at the time.  This visual-sexual pairing is very strong.  That’s why I challenge married couples to look deeply into their mate’s eyes during intercourse.  The association of their mate’s face with the high sexual stimulation will create a deep bond emotionally and physiologically” (Dr Douglas Weiss).

So, leave the lights on… or at least a candle in the far corner.  Let your spouse be the source and attention of some great loving.

Now… I have a talk with my daughter about this song.  You can never clarify that ‘setting of the stage’ enough.

 

 

Copywrite © Doris Born 2010 – Permission granted to use and reproduce with proper citation