Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Most Valued Friend is Not for Everyone: Read On

Remember that person of the opposite sex whom you developed a bit of a crush on back in school?
Now, remember all the naive notions you contemplated in your youth when you thought you knew it all? It is both of these concepts that, if balanced carefully, can present you with a friend so good, you'll wonder why you never thought of it that way before.

In our teens, it was all too easy to fantasize about the hot guy or girl that captured our gaze. That attractive person who could be the perfect boyfriend/girlfriend in your life was just a hello away.
What could be more perfect than that someone who could satisfy your desire for companionship AND intimacy?

The NOT in finding that perfect boyfriend/girlfriend to satisfy you.
Rather, why don't so many of us search for the perfect FRIEND in our youth?

Let's face it. In our teens, we are all a bit too emotional, hormonal, and just plain excited about the opposite sex. Though likewise, we all thirst for the companionship and attention of a good friend who would be loyal and supportive to us. The problem is, beauty fogs the heart when our mind needs a companion of supportive and compassionate strengths.

Often, when we make friends of the same sex, we can take comfort in venting to them and looking to them for humour or support in difficult times. For example, without sounding sexist, two guys can engage in an afternoon of fishing while venting about their personal issues. Likewise, two ladies can meet for coffee and face each other as they vent and seek validation or advice from each other.

But consider the significant void in that friendship. You can't get a woman's perspective from a man, and a man's perspective from a woman!
Consider that if you had a friend of the opposite sex, you could ask him/her for their perspective or advice on an issue, through their eyes!

In theory, such a friendship could be endlessly valuable. You could get honest answers to things like:
"How do I look in this jacket?", "How would you and your lady friends interpret that answer?" or "I need a guys/girls perspective on this."

But although this type of friendship CAN and DOES happen, most of the time it dissolves. Why?
Because of feelings.
All too easy, we develop attraction to people we liaise with of the opposing sex. It could be the sweet voice or captivating eyes of an good friend that can suddenly cloud our judgement and arouse feelings of romantic desire for that person. 
But herein is where the line between friends and lovers can be crossed. Once crossed, the friend now takes on a different title...that of boyfriend or girlfriend, open to the privileges of intimacy and sexuality.

But if two people of opposing sexes can develop an innocent, comfortable, supportive friendship, where there is no temptation to walk past platonic lines, then a most favourable and powerful companionship can occur!

This type of friendship can last for years and remain forever strong. With time, the bonds of friendship can grow so powerful that the two friends can be very comfortable around each other, sharing personal thoughts or seeking meaningful advice about social interactions with others. 

Of course, this type of friendship may not be easy to maintain. With time, two friends can grow closer than expected. Now this isn't necessary a bad thing between two single people. 
I've always said that everyone should take a long time to grow a very good friend...and God willing, you may one day fall in love with your greatest friend. 
That said, falling in love with your best friend has many pluses. You learned to respect them first, way before even looking at them with hungry eyes. You also know each other inside out. By now, a sudden belch or temper tantrum will be no surprise between two close friends. You then know how the each other are on good days and bad days. Very little is hidden with someone you have known for years as a good friend first. There is no reason to hide yourself from your best friend. if you LATER fall in love with the person whom you FIRST believed in and respected, then you have likely found the compliment to your soul!

But back to honest friendships. Having a friend of the opposite sex can be as valuable, perhaps at times more valuable, than a friend of the same sex. Forming such a friendship is traditionally not easy, as the heart may wander when the mind otherwise seeks a consoling companion. 

I will just conclude with this final point. Never abandon the notion of finding your greatest strengths in life. One of which, can be developing the strength to build and grow a friendship with a guy or girl who seeks the same respect and support that you would desire as an honest adult in a very big world.
It is when we grow our senses of maturity and respect that we can develop a sense of character we can be proud of, a character so beautiful that it will one day be seen and valued by the person who is destined to be the mate to your soul.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Why Some Men Fear Marriage: The New Comparison

I was in a discussion earlier today about an article that spoke of a rising trend in the avoidance of marriage  by men for the fear that they no longer feel they have a secure place in a marital union.

Intrigued over what it could be, I learned from the article that some men feel that through the emergence of equality among the sexes, women have matched the economic and social standings of their male counterparts.

Some men have stated that they feel less than capable, when, as their parents grew up, some family units were traditionally stabilized by one working parent and one that stayed at home to raise the children.

So today, many families boast two working parents to help with living expenses, and more and more women are nullifying the earnings gap between themselves and men. This has some men feeling less competent or unnecessary in their role as earner or supporter in a marriage. As a result, some men are avoiding marriage altogether, thus staying far from a relationship where they may feel unwanted or unnecessary alongside their stronger more independent counterpart.

Well, I did give this concept some thought, and certainly don't want to offend either of the sexes, but what I have to say is, "Unto each, their own."

Firstly, our generation is  brought up in a culture where we follow traditional actions: study hard, land a job, buy a house with a picket fence, get married, have kids, and continue the process for the next generation. Not all people need to or should get married. I'm sure many of us can recall  friends who have dissolved their marriage for reasons other than the one above. Sometimes, marriage just doesn't work for everybody. It should not appear as a compulsory rite of passage as traditional society dictates. Many people can enjoy rewarding lives alone or with a special companion as opposed to through a lifelong marital tie. Though certainly, those who wish to marry can also find successful partnerships within an established marriage framework.

Second, I'd imagine that as far as earnings and social stature go, this may be more of a psychological nuisance than an actual threat. Perhaps those men who dislike the thought of a highly established spouse feel threatened by how they would look to their friends if a man knew his wife earned more or was more successful than him in some manner. But in order to keep with the intent of a successful marriage, it is up to the couple together to earn and invest in their marriage in order to see it succeed. 
I'd say, why not enjoy the successes of your spouse, male or female, and reap the rewards of such success through that marriage. After all, the more funding a team gets, the more opportunities it can find, higher goals it can set, and greater rewards it can attain. There is no shame in comparing strengths. Likewise, a football team boasts players of all sizes and capacities, but they all work together to accomplish success.

And lastly, I can't help but ponder if some of these husbands desire to attain a spouse which they can execute authority OVER, instead of WITH. Let's face it, authoritative spouses still exist out there, and I'm all for finding a spouse to compliment you. So, if you are a woman who desires to serve your man endlessly while he brings home a paycheque, so be it. Likewise, if you are a woman who wishes to reach the highest level of your potential and marry a man to compliment that success, so be it as well. 

To conclude, the main point I'd make in response to this article is to say that you can't hope to change people. They may decide themselves to adjust their ways, but it is near impossible to change who you are. Therefore, take your time when you look for the right spouse if you do decide to eventually marry, and on that journey of dating, find out EXACTLY what they stand for. Are they authoritarian? Traditional? Open to new ideas? Eager to compliment their life partner instead of compete with them?
One of the keys to success in marriage is not to be afraid or feel threatened. Life is not about finding the wildest horse in an uncertain effort to tame it, only to worry down the road about being overthrown down the road. 
Rather, why not find someone who is that "gardener" to your life, who respects who you have grown to be, and is eager to see you grow into the best person you can be. When done together, I have seen some marriage take to amazing heights!

There is no need to fear what you understand. So grow any relationship with the right person, and you will reap its rewards.

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