Time passes whether you are single or married, happy or sad. In the end we are all dust. But in between birth and death when we become adults, then, for a brief moment , we can create something of our selves and with luck, our relationship.
Shelly’s poem Ozymandias reminds us that no matter how great you think you are, no matter how much power and how much you create, in the end we are but sand in the wind.
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
Relationship, like wine, is a living thing and for the most success to occur must be treated with love, care, and attention. Even when it is in the cask, wine needs to be checked on to make sure it is maturing as it should. So should you check on your relationship at regular intervals.
If these regular check-ups don’t happen, you are taking a risk that the wine will spoil. And vinegar is bitter indeed. An unpleasant surprise especially when you thought you had done your job. You may even have been in love with making wine, but a lack of attention is both naive and speaks of an inexperienced wine-maker. Same with relationships.
As in life, the best wine-makers devote themselves to the task of making excellent wines. They study, learn under an experienced master, and practice. Over time they come to understand the subtleties of their craft and the delicate nature and dedication it takes to create a great wine.
Your relationship is the same. When we first start out we know very little about how to make a relationship work. If you were lucky, you might have been born into the business and been brought up with parents who did relationship with skill. Like I said . . . if you were lucky. For myself and most of the people I know, it was far from perfect.
If you come from imperfect role models, an intimate relationship becomes about first discovering what doesn’t work. This can occur in one relationship or over a series of relationships. Then it is about letting go of dysfunctional thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors.
Don’t know about you, but this has taken me some time. It seems to be a life-long project as new issues keep popping up even after all these years. Fortunately, in my current relationship of twenty years, we are now able to move quickly through stuff when it surfaces. In the beginning, it used to take so much time. But worth it in the end.
This is due in part because we feel secure in the relationship, we both have been willing to change which leads to trust in the other persons priorities (i.e. the relationship over being right).
We have also weathered numerous BIG challenges that need time to show themselves. Things like, illness, financial difficulties, old lovers, menopause, moving, change of jobs, going back to school, and the death of loved ones.
If you have children you can add a host of heart-stopping events to this list like how to stay sane while sleep deprived for one to two years, choices like staying at home or going back to work, illness (theirs and yours especially once they are going to daycare and then kindergarten and finally school), which school to send them to, keeping them safe, and on and on. All the while trying to have time and energy for your partner.
Of course, having children from birth until graduation and staying with the same partner takes time. Anywhere from 18 – 24 years and then some kids don’t move until much later.
Depending on your mindset, all of these challenges could be ingredients that make for a fantastic wine. Or, it could be the beginnings of a tragedy.
If you have the courage to dip into the barrel of your relationship and taste the product of your efforts, you will know if it is time to celebrate or make some serious changes. If you have waited too long you will have to throw it out and start over (that could be with the same person or someone else).
What I have come to realize about time is the truth behind those oft quoted phrases: there is no time like today (there isn’t, there is only the now), don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today (did you tell your partner you loved them?), and the biggy, death waits for no one. So don’t wait for it. Don’ be oblivious to what you know but let the knowledge of death (the ending of time) inform all your choices in the relationship.
Ultimately, all relationships are about death. The death of your relationship because it didn’t work out, or the death of your spouse whether early in the relationship due to an accident or disease, or later due to aging.
Knowing this, or rather, when I remember this, puts me in a state of gratitude and reminds me to do the little things that constantly improve the bouquet and taste of the wine of relationship.