ARE YOU LIVING IN LOVING AND SECURE RELATIONSHIPS?

Are you living in loving, secure relationships with sound expectations?

INTRO

Throughout October I'm sharing some wonderful thoughts from Anne Morrow Lindbergh and how they are reflected in my own journey through Midlife. If you missed the first two posts you can catch up on them HERE (Midlife) and HERE (Writing) and today's post is on Relationships.

There are three different kinds of relationships referred to in the quotes I've chosen - Marriage, Children, and Friendship, and I'd like to share a little on each.

MARRIAGE

Have you noticed that married life ebbs and flows? I've been fortunate in life that my own marriage, and the marriages of the majority of my friends, have lasted for 30 to 40 years so far. None of our marriages has been all smooth sailing on glassy oceans with beautiful sunrises and sunsets. Yes, there are lots of times of beauty and joy, but there are also times of sadness, times of misunderstanding, and times when you feel like you could cheerfully strangle each other!

You can't live with another person for decades and not expect to face hurdles. It's navigating the lumps and bumps in the road that strengthens our bond, and deepens the relationship. Some marriages don't survive the upheavals, but neither do marriages with unrealistic expectations and too much fluff and bubble. We are flawed humans doing our best to love each other throughout life - that's pretty special and definitely worth working hard at, rather than sitting back and expecting soul mates and endless sunshine. Marriage to me is about showing grace to each other and loving through the good and bad times.

When you love someone, you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility.

CHILDREN

One of the lovely things in life is that my mother reads my blog - but it also has a few limitations. One of those is that when I write about my childhood and some of the areas where it was lacking, I know I hurt her heart. But, my blog is my voice and sometimes I need to speak my truth - and one truth for me is that I didn't have a father who engaged with his children on more than a superficial level. 

The affirmation and security of growing up with parents who actively taught you that you were valued, and important, and worthy, is something a lot of us missed out on - it just wasn't the way children were usually parented in the 1960s. 

What I find to be the saddest thing in life now though, is that (with all the knowledge we now have of the value of loving parenting) I still see so many children today missing out on that loving and secure relationship with their parents. Consequently, they look for love in all the wrong places and are so damaged and desperate. 

It was so important to my husband and myself to provide a warm, loving, and safe family life for our children. We wanted to be their cheerleaders and encourage them to be all they're capable of - this started when they were young and continues into their adulthood today. For me especially, it's been a case of wanting to ensure they had the confidence of knowing without a doubt that they are loved and valuable and capable of (almost) anything.

I am most anxious to give my own children enough love and understanding so that they won't grow up with an aching void in them

FRIENDSHIPS

Friendships are a little like marriage - they ebb and flow and there are times when we are really close and spend a lot of time together, and times when we may be more distant. We grow and change, but true friends accept our changes and the friendship continues to flourish. Some friendships don't weather the storms of life - they aren't strong enough to take many hits, and sometimes they must be left to go their own way.

As I progress into Midlife friendships, I value those who I am close to. I want to invest in those friends who are equally invested in me. I don't wonder about what it will be like when we're old, or how things have changed over the years, I'm happy just to be in the moment, enjoying good talks, sharing stories, supporting and caring. To know that there are people in the world who have my back and who care - that's what friendship is for me.

Security in a relationship lies neither in looking back to what it was in nostalgia, nor forward to what it might be in dread or anticipation

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Do you resonate with any of Anne's quotes? Do you see relationships as ebbing and flowing and fluid? Are you secure enough in your relationships to allow them to fluctuate like the tides?


Are you living in loving, secure relationships with sound expectations?

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30 comments

  1. Like you I'm fortunate in that my childhood was a secure one, and my marriage has been (all things considered) a relatively stable one. As you say, that doesn't mean perfect, but one that's been able to weather the, well, weather. Friendships though? Aside from a few close, authentic friendships, I tend to have what my husband calls a bus where people hop on when they need me and hop off when they're done. It's something I need to work on my boundaries more in regards to.

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    1. I love that bus analogy Jo - the friends who hop and off throughout our lives - they are definitely the friends who I now drive past when they're waiting at the busstop of life. I'm sticking with the ones that are in it for the long haul (and help me fill my tank and pump up my tyres!)

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  2. I loved reading this Leanne. I especially like the quote about children. I tried to bring my children up know they were loved and with the confidence that I never had. Now they are happy confident adults, I breathe a sigh of relief and pat myself on the back.

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    1. I feel the same way Jennifer - I'm sure mine would have tales to tell of the times I was less than ideal as a mother but I look at them and I'm so proud of the people they've become - hopefully I played some small part in helping them get there.

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  3. No marriage and kids but I have friends... and I like the notion of being able to have different friends for different things / reasons. I've got a heap of school friends I'm close to but rarely see. There's a long intimacy though from having spent our first 17 or so years together I think.

    I'm still best friends with two of my Uni friends and then have accumulated work friends since. Some I just see / hear from on Facebook and that's fine. And now in my new hometown I've surrounded myself with a group of likeminded people I enjoy spending time with.

    Of course then there are my online friends and I feel a kindredness towards many that actually surpasses some of my everyday relationships.

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    1. I'm the same Deb - school friends and friends from younger days who live a distance away and yet I still feel close to them through the joys of Facebook. My blogging friends feel like family and I can't believe how well I feel I know everyone without ever meeting. Then there are the handful of really close friends who have been there for me through thick and thin - and I'm so grateful for each and every one of them (even though none of them read my blog!)

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  4. Such a beautiful post Leanne. Reading it reminds me of how truly blessed I was to have such a loving and stable childhood full of so many wonderful and happy memories! My parents provided me with a home that was my safe haven. I always had the security and love of my home and family and I still do to this day. :-) #TeamLovinLife

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    1. I always envy people who write about their relationship with their fathers Min. The ones who had the warmth and care that I can't even begin to fathom. I hope my husband and I did something to rectify that lack with our kids and they never have to wonder what it would be like to have that security and support and love.

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  5. I can relate to all of these Leanne, probably because we are of the same generation. In particular the quote and your thoughts on bringing up children in a loving and supportive environment was always paramount to me. My own parents weren't bad parents, but they were a little passive during my formative years. I like to think that I have remedied that with own kids. #TeamLovinLife

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    1. I think "passive" is a great way to describe our parents' parenting technique Kathy - and yes, trying to not parent the same way was a big influence on my parenting style!

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  6. This is such a great way to describe it, Leanne! I don't have kids, but I see this definitely in my relationships with family and friends. Heck, even in my relationship with me...
    XOXO
    Jodie
    www.jtouchofstyle.com

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    1. I think it's about recognizing that life ebbs and flows Jodie - good times and bad times, and it's the same with our relationships. If we have unreal expectation then we set ourselves up for disappointment every time.

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  7. A very lovely post with lots of wisdom!

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    1. Thanks for your kind words Shari - it's nice that you enjoyed reading it :)

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  8. Thanks, Leanne, for sharing Anne's quotes here. They resonate with me. I feel very blessed to have loving and supportive family and friends around me. #teamlovinlife

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    1. It's the most important thing in life isn't it Natalie - to have loved ones around us who we can rely on and feel secure with.

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  9. I love this, Leanne!
    I am blessed. I am blessed. I had a wonderful childhood. My parents were busy, but I knew how much they loved me. (They risked their necks to save me enough times!) My marriage, too has been mostly wonderful. We've had our rough patches, true, but got through. And I was fortunate to be a stay-at-home mom to our six children. I loved it and I love them! Truly blessed.

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    1. I think blessed sums it up beautifully Dianne - you seem to have scored on every level and success breeds success - I imagine your children are thriving in adulthood too.

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  10. I was so lucky to have a stable, loving family life as I was growing up. Yes, my two older brothers drove me crazy (of course I was a perfect angel) but I always knew they had my back. And, my parents were supportive and loving but never lax in their efforts to steer us in the right direction. My husband and I don't have kids but our friends are positive and engaged. I feel very lucky.

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    1. I think we get out of life what we put into it Janis - to be surrounded by wonderful family and friends means that we've made good choices and that we are investing back into those relationships to keep them strong.

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  11. I've been married for about 6.5 years now, and it can be work sometimes. We haven't had any major upheavals, but I feel like, so far, we are doing pretty good. I am so thankful that my husband and I both had a wonderful home life growing up, and are doing our best to make sure our children have the same. Friendships, recently, have been the hardest for me. We moved from Florida to Texas almost 4 years ago and I am still struggling here sometimes because I don't have any friends and really miss everyone I know and everything I know in Florida.

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    1. Finding friends as we get older seems to be trickier Stephanie. The benefits of having younger children is that you can often make connections through them. As my kids got older and left home, it became much more difficult to find committed and deep friendships - so I hold on tight to the few I have (with both hands!) I hope you make some strong connections soon - having a supportive husband really helps in the interim.

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  12. Your post makes me want to dig out my copy of Gift from the Sea. I love Anne's writing!

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    1. She has a beautiful turn of phrase and I also like that she addresses a lot of thoughts that come with Midlife - she was well ahead of her time.

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  13. Hi, Leanne - I am so grateful for the close relationships in my life that concentrating too much on the future can overwhelm me. I greatly appreciated Anne's quote on the importance of 'now."

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    1. I did too Donna - as soon as I start looking back at friendships that have faded away, or look to far forward and start wondering about who will still be around in ten or twenty years time, I lose the joy of their presence in my life "now".

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  14. It all takes work but I'm lucky that my relationships are pretty smooth. I think

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    1. If you can look at all the relationships around you and be happy and grateful for them then I think you're definitely doing something right Leanne.

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  15. What a lovely inspiring post Leanne, full of wisdom.

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  16. I have marital troubles and this spoke to me in many ways and I am going to return and read it in a quieter moment and see where the lessons take me. #AnythingGoes and thank you

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If you'd like to have a conversation, feel free to email me any time - leanne.lecras@gmail.com