Friday, November 03, 2006

mojito wobbles

After a gratifying and challenging day exploring possibilities and limitations in strategic partnerships and affordable housing we hit the town for Cuban. Two mojitos later and the conversation veered into the personal - about the strength and validity of love and commitment and personal philosophies about what is feasible to expect over the long term combined with biology and selfishness and the lack of control over all things changing.

One opinion was that no relationship can truly last "forever", that it's an unrealistic expectation and a farce of society. Others held truer to love trumping all, and the notion of beating the system. And above all else rose the notion of having integrity in relationship, and being brave enough to call it quits when quits is due. And how easy it is to wax on about relational ethics over mojitos and cuban.

I've generally fallen back on a simple tale, one told by the magnificent Barbara Kingslover in one of her earlier books, either Bean Trees or Pigs in Heaven, I can't quite remember now (blame it on the mojitos) the one w/ that kid Turtle, and the lover, Jax. And how Jax described secrets as taking a raw egg into bed with you, and instead of telling your lover about the egg, you roll and tumble and shield and do everything not to crack the egg, when the really honorable thing is to hand the egg over and let the other decide what to do, whether to scramble or toss or put back in the fridge. But at least you've let them in on the secret, because you respect them enough to know how to handle it from there. And if you don't, eventually, one of you is going to roll over onto it and all you'll have left is a big mess in your bed.

And as is more and more common lately, my thoughts turned to you, and I wondered what your philosophy is on love and it's sustainability, and whether or not we are all just kidding ourselves. And more importantly, how you separate the wheat from the chaff and decide what's worth keeping versus being simply sacrificial or largely afraid.


s@bd said...

Unfortunately, I haven't had any mojitos (yet).

Here's my dry opinion: I want every relationship to be right and good. I desperately wish for people to find 'true love'. I fervantly believe that healing and wholeness can come out of intimacy and being known.

And the flip side is that brutality, control and so many dark, ugly things are born in relationships and what may have started as love.

That's me: truly hoping for good and too often seeing bad.

(I bet you're kind of happy I didn't have those mojitos. Imagine what would have come out!)

And, I love the 'egg' story.

Jenny said...

I believe love conquers all.

But only if you want it to.

That secret analogy is so perfect.

Marsha said...

There is no easy answer to this question. I think some relationships last forever and the reasons the relationship lasted are diverse as the people in them. Some relationships are doomed from the start.

Anonymous said...

There are so many directions to go with that one. First off, one of my fundamental beliefs is that love is a behavior, not a feeling. It is an ethic and a choice. It is about how we interact with the world and the footprints we leave behind.

Relationships sometimes come for, as they say, a reason, a season or a lifetime. I do believe we meet people who stay with us a lifetime. These are usually spiritual brothers and sisters.

The Pigs in Heaven (loved that book!) story is a very good one ~ and I agree that toxic secrets will create that dynamic. In my own relationships, if I feel the need to keep secrets, to be anything other than who I am, wabi-sabi and all, then that is not a right person. Anyone who doesn't allow me to bring to the world the things that I bring, is not a good person to be in relationship with. Likewise, if I find myself wanting to change, manipulate or silence another person, they need to be free of me and my expectations.

Just my sorng baht...


Thailand Gal

Momish said...

I think there are so many facets to love that a relationship can last forever because the love it is based upon can change and morph to meet the needs of the people involved. For each person, love is different, so between them, love can grow and foster to conquer all. I remember there was a line in "Their Eyes Were Watching God" that hit home with me about relationships and love, it went something like:

Love is like the sea. It takes its shape from the shore it meets and it's different with every shore.

To me, if you believe in someone, then your love can last.

wendy boucher said...

As they say on the Supreme Court (although I think it was in reference to pornography) - I know it when I see it.

In other words, I can't define it without the benefit of a couple of mojitos. But even if I can't define it, I surely can recognize it when it's right in front of me. Like my fabulous brag-worthy marriage to Hubby!

Lucia said...

I really think ultimately everyone works things out in their own ways...sometimes forever, sometimes not, sometimes a day, sometimes a night.

I love mojitos. I felt happy just thinking about you drinking mojitos.

meno said...

i think that love, the kind that we marry and then stay together for, is a choice, a decision. It may start out as the more traditional view of love, with all the endorphins and giddiness, but those things cannot last.
The value of having a long term relationship has to come from you. If you value it, then you will work to make it so.

Anonymous said...

Mmm, liquid-enhanced deliberation - wish I could have been there.

I tend to agreee with most of the views presented here. Our biology provides us with a diverse range of DNA with which to interact with, and it is going to be a different experience for every person. For some, biology is at odds with our social and religious contructs, further complicating an emotion that I don't think we ever fully grasp the power of. I wish socially we were allowed to be more honest about why relationships succeed or fail. The only thing useful I was ever told was to not let anyone disrespect me, but nothing about how to handle the emotions tied to sex, or lack of sex, or how to tell someone you are unhappy without it turning into an all-out battle of wills.

Loving someone, the same someone, for a lifetime is hard. This gets glossed over. I think love helps, but only if the two people grow it together.

Anonymous said...

There are so many variables in life and love. And your variables have to combine with someone else's 'just so' for it all to mesh and work.

As for my marriage, I sincerely believe we're not kidding ourselves, and I hope it lasts. Yes, it happened fairly quickly for us, but we just knew. But maybe that's because we each had (more than) our share of chaff over the years so we could tell the difference.

acumamakiki said...

I think being in a long-term relationship (married or otherwise), is damn hard. I think that being in love and on the same page in the beginning of the relationship really helps because when it gets rough, you need to have a strong foundation to keep you together.
I don't know if people are destined to be together forever. I think it makes a huge difference if before you're with that forever person, you've been around the block and back, so you know that it's worth working hard for that relationship.

liv said...

I am so IN this topic right now. I agree with meno that beyond the initial giddiness, a choice has to be made to sustain the life together. The path that I thought my dh and I were on together has inextricably diverged. It comes to a point (for us) that beyond love, hate, disappointment, the fact is that we are destined to travel on different roads from now on. That's not to say that I'm so evolved as to not be a bit angry or disappointed, but that I'm closer to accepting the situation, and realizing that sometimes the best choice is to live separate lives. (cue that cheesy phil collins song)

kind of reminds me of a poem by someone I don't know. the line is something to the effect:

in between the fields of right and wrong, there is a field.
i'll meet you there.

irreverentmama said...

I had my very first mojitos in my life at a party a month ago. I even helped make some, grinding the mint in a mortar and pestle. (If that's not authentic, what is??)

True love? It's better to do without, or enjoy transitory, fun sex and interaction than to try to turn something fun-but-fleeting into True Love.

Ten plus years into the best relationship of my life, I can state unequivocably that True Love does exist, for I have found it.

I am very, very lucky.

flutter said...

There's no one relationship that lasts your entire life. But there is love that can last the rest of your life....

Alyssa said...

I heard someone recently say that it isn't important to like what your person/spouse/partner likes but that it is important for you to share the same dislikes.

I can see some value in that. But I know I'm lucky - I've been with Deeps for over a decade and we are still learning things about each other and still happy to be friends, to be together.

Anonymous said...

I think of the relationship as an entity. You have to care for it, keep it healthy, respect its integrity. Or you can let it wither away. The people in the relationship have to both be working at caring for it. Not necessarily in equal parts, but each contributing in some way, because one person cannot care for the relationship alone.

I'm adding that book to my lengthening list - what an astute observation about the nature of respect and self and trust - what Thailand Gal was saying, too - when you can be your whole self, beauty and warts, with someone, and the relationship thrives, that's a good example of health.

Anonymous said...

"if you believe in someone, then your love can last."

Momish.. I think this is very true.
And i think everyone has made very good points.

For us....we know our path to be the same....we may argue about the correct route to take..but the goal is the same.

We have many long standing issues between us...and have had our ups and downs and big fights, but we seem to know that these are things we can adjust to or move on from and we get on with it.

It is hard work..but with anything when you are not alone in the makes it more fun!

mrs.incredible - aka - Tabba said...

I guess now that I'm a mom, I've experienced love - true heart-wrenching, gut splitting, aching, your heart will explode, raw love. And I believe, that love like that is forever. When all that is left but mere whispers of who we once were, that love is there.
I also think 'forever' is a relative term. No, things don't last forever. People don't last forever. But I believe, that when I pass from this world to the next, that the love I have shared with my children will then be passed to their children and so on......
As far as other relationships go (marriage, friendships) that it is possible to love them forever, however it is also possible for that love to change whether it be lessen over time or evolve to different levels.
If any of this is any kind of answer......

KC said...

To get very neuroscience-y and geeky, (Geek love! Geek love!) there is a neural basis for love, hormones that have been found to be responsible for those different phases of human love: lust, attraction and attachment. That feeling of being head over heels in love is near universal, cross-cultures, and correlates to specific functional brain imaging patterns. In part, love is biology.

That's not to say there isn't a huge volitional component. We may not have much in the say of who we fall in love with, but we do have a choice in maintaining that attachment phase: do we choose to sustain this deep bond? We always have choices.

I believe in true love, in soul-mates, in loving someone so fiercely, he becomes a part of your very fiber. A love like this doesn't fold.

Penny said...

You are looking for one of the most elusive, subjective secrets of life.

Me too.

crazymumma said...

Damn I sustainably love you and the questions you pose;)
Simply put....for me, I think love is hard, love takes work, love takes everything that is NOT romantic. I do not ALWAYS feel love for my man, sometimes I feel nothing but anger, resentment. I dunno, I am a passionate woman, my feelings run pretty deep.
But sustainable love, love after 14 years of ups and downs? It is true love when you still find your man hot the morning after he has ticked you off and you shag him because of that. That is love. Then you get up, and keep on getting through the day. No one said it was going to be easy.

My kids on the other hand. The moment they were born, I knew what true aching blind love was. I still do. That type of love floors me.

Anonymous said...

A good marriage is one part love, one part respect, and eight parts good business. That sounds really crass but I think I am a little old now to be wooed by all the romantic love that lasts a lifetime rhetoric that pop songs have duped us into believing exist. Keep in mind that romantic love in marriage is a relatively new (and western) notion.

I love my husband deeply. I respect him profoundly. I have been with him for 15 years. We have the same half dozen fights over and over again. We are both set in our ways and not likely to change to prevent those fights from happening. But we find ways to manage our life around these hiccups because we love each other and we respect each other and we are committed to each other. Sure I could wish for x, y, or z in another partner but for the life of me I can't think of another man I would rather build a life with. And so I work to make it work and get swept away by the beauty of it when those waves come in.

Joker The Lurcher said...

i have a fried egg for breakfast every morning. i'm not sure if that might be some sort of metaphor. they are really tasty anyway...

Ruth Dynamite said...

Define love? I'll have egg on my face for sure.

But I'll say this: it's about hope, and trust, and looking outward in the same direction.

Oh - and mojito goggles for the later years.