Fifth Power, Ride the Walrus, Olympic Diving

Posted on February 15, 2016


“Adding up the total of a love that’s true, multiply life by the power of two” Emily Saliers

“It’s only the giving that makes you what you are.”  Ian Anderson

I have been badly neglecting my blog this year.  I usually get posts written in the gaps in my schedule and there just haven’t been many so far this year.  If you have been reading me through a couple hundred posts, you know pretty well how I view life and relationships.  Anyway, I thought I should at least get an anniversary post written.

My wife and I celebrate our 32nd wedding anniversary this week.  We are 2, and 32 is 2 to the fifth power.  I have no idea what that means, but, hey, I like numbers.  To get to the 6th power, we would need to both live long enough to be married 64 years, so this may be our last power of 2, but you never know.

Ride the Walrus was one of the great rock bands that no one ever heard of.  Despite being strictly a cover band and touring the world without leaving the family room, they remained in relative obscurity until they were wiped out by a system error.  If that sounds terribly confusing, let me explain.  My daughter and I used to play Rock Band on her WII.  Ride the Walrus was a band name generated by the game (we would have called it “History of Hamburgers”).  For those who know me, you know that I am a musician and play several instruments.  One that I don’t play is drums.  In Ride the Walrus, I was the drummer.  That worked out okay, because I could set the difficulty level to “easy” (which still required most of my concentration).  My daughter played guitar for the band on the medium setting.  Consequently, she always got paid more for the gigs than I did.

This is an Olympic year.  I know precious little about Olympic diving.  One of the things I have learned is that part of the scoring involves the degree of difficulty of the dive.  You get a better top score if you are attempting a difficult dive.

In marriage, you don’t get points (or higher pay) for degree of difficulty.  I have a decided advantage in that area as my wife is easy to be married to.  I can’t lay claim to superior decision making in my selection of mates, as we had not known each other long enough to have made an informed decision.  It just worked out that I got a great wife (I was either lucky or blessed depending upon how you account for good fortune).

When I am working with a man who is recovering from sexual addiction, he usually is also coping with his wife’s reactivity.  She has been traumatized by his acting out.  If she also brought a trauma history into the relationship, the degree of difficulty goes up accordingly.  Helping her heal (while working on your own healing) is difficult.  It is just how it is.  Unfortunately, you don’t get extra points for degree of difficulty.

Here is where I am going with this.  If you are thinking that your partner is hard to be married to, you are looking at this backwards.  You can’t control your partner.  You can only control you.  How easy are you to be married to?  Are you intentional in affirming your partner?  Do you speak nicely to your partner?  Tone of voice counts big time here.  Do you make the effort to make your partner feel loved and cared for?  Does your partner get the benefit of the doubt from you?  Can you be relied upon?  Can your partner turn to you for comfort and support in times of distress?  Do you consider what is in your best interests or the best interests of the two of you together?  When you talk to yourself about your partner, do you focus on positives or negatives?

Marriage may be a legal contract, but relationships are not contracts.  Long lasting marriages are sustained by the moment by moment, day by day decisions to be a blessing to your partner.  Living with another human being is difficult.  At the same time, human beings were made for attachment.  Isolation is inherently traumatizing to us.  We need each other.  The secret to a long marriage: every day work on making the degree of difficulty for your partner very low.