"Mature" Love???

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Guest
"Mature" Love???
Posted: Sep 16, 2006 1:34 PM

So, I was doing some of my pre-Cana homework last night, and I was working on a chapter on communication in a book written by a priest called, "For Better and Forever".  The chapter has a section on one's relationship evolving into what it referred to as "mature love", and it listed several signs of such love, two of which were:

(1)  I come to understand that there is "more" to me than I have known in the past, and things about me that I have not shared with my partner...Sharing all of me is a greater challenge than I used to think.

(2)  I risk sharing more of my self with my partner...Unlike the phase of romance, when it often felt very "safe" to share my deepest and most personal thoughts and feelings, now sharing more fully of my self will be accomplished through and in spite of my "fears".  The predominant feeling will be of "vulnerability" rather than "safety".

I was pretty surprised, upon reading these signs, to decide that my fiance and I are not yet in a state of "mature love".  This was a real shocker;  I mean, we've known each other for many years, dated for over four years, and recently moved in together (a transition which went smoothly).  We're best friends, and I've never felt closer to a person than I do to him. 

Also, I honestly don't understand some of the logic behind these two signs.  One implication of my feeling the way I do about my FH is that, through the years that we've been together, he has come to know all of me; there honestly isn't any part of me, that I am aware of, that I keep from him.  I share my hopes, dreams, frustrations, downfalls, and vices with him, and I'm pretty sure he does the same with me.  What's this deal about my having parts of me that have not been shared with my fiance?  I don't think there is anything left!  (Well, of course, I will continue to evolve as a person, but I plan on sharing any changes with him, too!) 

Secondly, I just don't understand why "maturing" has to mean that you lose the feeling of safety in sharing yourself/thoughts/dreams/etc with your significant other.  In FH's and my relationship, we have some very real fears, but we always take comfort in confiding those fears in each other and working through them together.  When I have a concern about anything, I can always feel comfortable sharing it with my FH, and I honestly thought that that was the way a good relationship should be.  Regarding any vulnerability that I feel now, of course I'm vulnerable to being terribly hurt by my FH.  He has my heart and knows everything about me; he could basically destroy me if he wanted to, but at the same time, I feel safe being vulnerable to him in that way because I trust him completely, and I know that he would never set out to purposely hurt me.  In regards to this whole thing, am I missing something?

What do you all make of this stuff?  Do you agree with the book, not understand it, or just plain disagree with it?  Where do you all think your relationships lie?

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Guest
Re: "Mature" Love???
Posted: Sep 16, 2006 3:35 PM Go to message in response to: Guest

I find it confusing. The first one I think may be what you said, that you will continue to evolve and then share those things. But the wording is confusing and I'm just not sure. The second one I just plain don't get. Why would not feeling safe with your partner be a sign of mature love?

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Karibear Posts : 87 Registered: 7/23/06
Re: "Mature" Love???
Posted: Sep 16, 2006 5:05 PM Go to message in response to: Guest

I agree that the wording of the first one is confusing, and I downright disagree with the second one.  I wouldn't be with my FH if I didn't feel "safe" with him.  But then again, who knows what they even mean here.

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Guest
Re: "Mature" Love???
Posted: Sep 16, 2006 5:39 PM Go to message in response to: Karibear

Yeah, I think it's totally confusing, but what I typed is right out of the book.  We have a face-to-face counseling session later this week, and I am totally asking about what is meant with those signs!  Seriously, I can't think of one happy couple that I know who would probably agree with those two exerpts.  I have to admit that one of the reasons I posted here was because I wanted to see if anyone replied and was like, "Oh yeah, I totally remember when we hit that point in our relationship!", but I doubt that will happen. 

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Guest
Re: "Mature" Love???
Posted: Sep 16, 2006 5:52 PM Go to message in response to: Guest

I think the point of the second part is that at some point in your relationship the 'fairytale' will end and all won't be perfect, and you WILL have very rough times (and I'm not talking ONE bad fight, I'm talking a bad YEAR).  The key is to then lean on your partner when you are afraid of rejection rather than to pull away.  I think that is mature love, to have really been tried.  Although I don't really think it's normal to go through those trials prior to marriage, in fact I've heard that if thing are really hard with lots of arguements when dating you probably are a good match because those should be the 'easy years' and in some way I agree.

 

I think the first one is just saying you are going to change and you need to be sure that your relationship and partner is aware of those changes otherwise that's how you wake up next to someone you don't 'know' one day.

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Guest
Re: "Mature" Love???
Posted: Sep 16, 2006 6:02 PM Go to message in response to: Guest

im not a catholic preist, but what i get from the above is that we are all growing and getting to know our selves. for instance, when you were eight, you knew you hated brussel sprouts and liked the color yellow. not exactly internally insightful! even now you probably dont know everything about yourself. i am 27 and readily aggree that i dont. i find new and exciting things about myself every day! when i was younger i ofetn catered my likes to my highschool boyfriends likes, but now that im married i am more independant in the fact that i know me much better. it allows me to know other people for their strengths and weaknesses as well. but still i dont know everything. now should you, for some time. as you start to know more you will also learn that there are dark sides to you and to him. if you beleive in the bible, we love AND we sin. maybe that is why they are saying it is difficult to share it all and sometimes a feeling of vuneribility is a resulting factor.

 

 

like i said, i dont know for fact, but its a possibility of what it could mean. if you are confused, ask to talk to your priest, or just approach him after mass. though episcopal, i know my priest is always free and approachable for discussion, even though i dont always totally agree with him. that is why clergy are there thoughSmile to help us and guide us. if he refuses to talk to you, consider finding another church. but chances are he will be patient and informative and might bring you great comfort with his answer. best wishes

 

 

 

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: "Mature" Love???
Posted: Sep 17, 2006 8:00 PM Go to message in response to: Guest

Dear Brides,

I am much older than all of you and have been married for more than half of my life. Both of us are in our first marriage; no divorces. We are happily married, approaching retirement.

I agree exactly with what the book said. Very well put.

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Guest
Re: "Mature" Love???
Posted: Sep 19, 2006 9:20 PM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

auntofthebride:  I think it's interesting that you say that.  Could you elaborate?

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: "Mature" Love???
Posted: Sep 19, 2006 11:24 PM Go to message in response to: Guest

Dear September 6 Bride,

"(2)  I risk sharing more of my self with my partner...Unlike the phase of romance, when it often felt very "safe" to share my deepest and most personal thoughts and feelings, now sharing more fully of my self will be accomplished through and in spite of my "fears".  The predominant feeling will be of "vulnerability" rather than "safety"."

Think of a typical person getting married for the first time, say, at the age of 24. (Or 24-ish. Whatever.)

At that age, the typical person has:

1. Very little in terms of possessions and assets
2. A huge number of years left to live
3. Probably no children, or very young children

Now, think of me in my 50s. I have

1. Lots of possessions and assets, ALL MARITAL PROPERTY. Neither of us had anything when we first got married, so virtually everything we have now is jointly owned.
2. Not that many years left.
3. Adult children, for whom I'm interested in modeling marital fidelity and honoring the "till death do us part" in our vows

Do you see that the 24-ish person has little to lose if the relationship goes south? There are plenty of other eligible men (and women) out there. Division of property is a matter of remember who bought what CD, and splitting the $249 balance of your savings account. If my marriage goes south, I am looking at literally thousands of dollars in legal fees alone, plus half the retirement income that I would have if we stayed together.

Are you beginning to see the "vulnerability" vs "safety" dichotomy?

Next, when you first meet someone, there are special characteristics about that person that you really like. I'll pick a few at random:

"My wife and I both love college football games at our alma mater."
"My husband and I are both avid travelers."
"We agree on religious issues, and are (planning on) bringing up our children according to our beliefs." 

Now, think of the 24-ish person who wakes up one day and says "College football is boring." or "I am tired of living out of a suitcase. I'd give anything to stay in my own house for a vacation." or "I have found Truth and Light in the Hare Krishnas".

The 24-ish person can share these new personal revelations to their partner, knowing that it the partner says "If that's the case, then we have nothing in common and might as well split up." The 24-ish person need only figure out which CDs are theirs and take their half of the $249 in the bank.

Consider someone my age who starts to think of college football as boring, travel as a burden or of Hare Krishna as very attractive. I'm actually AFRAID to tell my husband, for fear it might lead to a very difficult, expensive divorce. It would devestate my adult children. So much for the "till death do you part" role model. Furthermore, there are not a lot of attractive eligible 55-ish men out there that I would even begin to consider dating, much less marrying.

So, what do I do? As a mature married woman, I think of how I can strike a compromise. "So, honey, I'm thinking that maybe you and our son can go to the football games. He can use my ticket. That would be a great time for you to spend some dad/son time together." "What do you say about just renting a beach house for our two week vacation, and relaxing a bit, rather than our usual 12-day, 12-country tour of Europe?" "I would like to explore the Hare Krishna religion, but not drag you into it. I'm just interested in learning more."

You would like to hope that you are married to someone flexible enough to change and grow as you are changing and growing as you both get older. My husband is like that. We are actually quite different than the way we were when we were first married, but we've been able to accomodate it. There's been some rocky points, but our commitment "till death do us part" is very strong.

Still... there's that sense of fear and vulnerability vs safety. That's why I agreed exactly with the pre-Cana writing quoted by the OP.

Finally: I heard a great quote on The Simpsons, Season 8 DVD. Lisa has a crush on Nelson, the schoolyard bully. She wants him to change, and has a talk with her mother, Marge. Marge says

"Well, most women will tell you that you're a fool to think you can change a man. But those women are QUITTERS!"

I'm not a quitter. I face my fears and vulnerability in discussing personal change with my husband, but try to do so in a way that he will find it acceptable. I think he does the same for me.

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Guest
Re: "Mature" Love???
Posted: Sep 20, 2006 9:55 AM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

Aunt of the bride -- while I do think that you put that well, I have to disagree with some of it. I am 24 and just got married in july.....I have a daughter (will be 6 next month), DH and I rent a home yes (we are working on rent to own) we own 2 cars (of which are in both of our names) our home is completley furnished (3 bedroom, 2 bathroom, formal living room, tv room, 2 car garage) and ALL that is in our home was purchased by "us". We got together almost 6 yrs ago and have lived together for over 5.5 years and EVERYTHING that we have we have accumulated since we have been together. So if MY relationship goes south both my DH and I have much more to loose than splitting the $249 in our account and picking out which cd's are ours......I think that is VERY judgemental of you to say, just because  we are young does not ALWAYS mean that we have nothing, or next to nothing. And if I were to divorce (which I am not planning on) it would be very expensive for me just as it would you, and it would devistate my minor child!! My parents divorce when I was an adult (I was 21) and it did not affect me they way it would affect my 6 year old if my husband (who is a wonderful step father to her and her main male figure in her life and has been since she was 3 months old) and I were to divorce. It would definatley affect a minor child WAY worse than it would a grown adult. And what you said about "telling your husband that clooege football is boring, or travel is a burden" you said that you are AFRAID to tell him these (examples) because you do not want it to lead to an expensive divorce. I am sorry but I am not AFRAID to tell my husband anything. He loves me and respects me for who I am, not matter what I think is boring, or what I want to try...etc. But, that is how I feel and the point of view of a "real life" 24 year old newlywed!!! And the quote from Lisa Simpson, too funny and I agree with that!!LOL

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Guest
Re: "Mature" Love???
Posted: Sep 20, 2006 10:31 AM Go to message in response to: Guest

i am a bit older than gin, but younger than auntofthebride, and TOTALLY agree. regardless if you already have kids and a multimillion dollar bank account at 24, i beleive emotionally and spiritaully you have more to lose the older you get. i beleive auntofthebride was just using the above to illustrate things in a tangible way. i dont think auntofthebride was saying "DONT GET MARRIED AT 24!" because that would be rediculous. i think the point is you have to expect that your love with grow and change with you. just like you crush with your 4th grade boyfriend has an entirely different dichotomoy than your present relationship with your FH, your relationship with you love now will be THAT much different from your DH as you celebrate your 25th anniversary. to say that it won't be any different is like saying your cool lime green accent furntiture will still be as fashionable 25 years from now. good luck with that one! as for NOT divorcing, i think we live in a society where people often weould rather get divorced than spend time (sometimes the course of years ) trying to work it out. dont get me wrong. i know some people who were in negative relationships and NEEDED to divorce there spouse, for the good of the family. but now adays it seems people would rather contact a divorce attorney then remember to put the cap back on the mayo. "working at it" won't always fix whats broken, and for those relationships divorce is certainly a viable option, but often people don't even search for the tool box!!! how are you going to fix something without one?!? so maybe age, when you've more invested (any you will have MORE), does make "working at it" more attractive. but thats just my take on it. best wishes

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Guest
Re: "Mature" Love???
Posted: Sep 20, 2006 10:46 AM Go to message in response to: Guest

Ok so you have more "emotionally and spiritually" the longer you are married yes. I agree with that, however the examples that were given were not at all of any kind of emotional or spiritual loss. They were an example of possesions, and expensive divorced....and that is what I commented on. And I can not compare a 4th grade crush to my husband. For me (at my age now) it would be an emotional loss for me if we were to divorce (not happening) or something should happen, since I have been with him since I was 18 and therfore he is the only man I have been with in my adult life. Yes, there is more emotionally and spititually to lose with every year that you are married and I have seen the toll divorce has taken on people married for 25 years (as I helped my mother through her divorce, which she has finally...thankfully come to terms with since she was with my father for 25 years before he left us for another family) I am not disagreeing that point at all. As I said the examples used were material possesions, and opinions about "football" and such and that is what I commented on.Wink

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: "Mature" Love???
Posted: Sep 20, 2006 12:34 PM Go to message in response to: Guest

Dear Gin,

I was just citing some very simple examples.

A younger person has longer to live, fewer assets/possessions and younger children (or no children). An older person has shorter to live, more assets/possessions and older children (or, still no children).

Making relationship changes when you are older is scarier than doing so when you are younger. That is the essence of the reason I stated, earlier, that I agreed with the pre-Cana excerpt in the original message.

I hate to say this, but wait about 25 years and then tell me if you agree or don't agree. Sorry! That's such a cop-out, but it's all I can say.

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: "Mature" Love???
Posted: Sep 20, 2006 12:40 PM Go to message in response to: Guest

Dear Gin,

"I think that is VERY judgemental of you to say, just because  we are young does not ALWAYS mean that we have nothing, or next to nothing."

I'm sorry if you took that as judgemental. I did not mean it that way.

I'm glad you have a nice house, now. You are in an excellent position to build for the future. That's wonderful, and I am happy for you.

Keep on saving to purchase a house. That's, quite possibly, the best investment a young couple of moderate means can make.

Because I have your attention, may I add that, if possible, you should sock as much as you can afford into an IRA or 401(k) plan and into term life insurance to provide for your child in the event you Meet Your Maker?

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: "Mature" Love???
Posted: Sep 20, 2006 12:45 PM Go to message in response to: Guest

Dear jgorczy06

"i dont think auntofthebride was saying "DONT GET MARRIED AT 24!"

Indeed not. I was 22 when I got married.

There are few people out there, and they are sad cases indeed, who have fewer possessions and assets at 55 than at 25.

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