43-Love Letters From Vietnam: Will This Relationship End?
To Read Letters from the beginning of Tim and Kate's Journey, Click Here.
Also, dear reader, an interpretation of what these two letters meant follows the letters themselves. Remember, the priest had told me, "Go ahead!"
7 December, 1969
O my Love, it was so good to hear your voice today. Kate, what a position we find ourselves in. Our love is so strong and our need so complete, we find happiness and fulfillment only in each other. Maybe that's selfish, but I don't think so.
For now because of the married-unmarried state we find ourselves in, we have withdrawn into the un-made world of our future. Before we can offer our love to the world, we must make that future. We will, my Love, soon. As man and wife, Kate, our love will continue to grow, touching everything about us. Only good can come of it, only unselfishness.
How I wish I could offer you a secure future, or even to make plans for that future. I can give you neither. All I can give is myself. I am your Kate, now and always.
Have a good week, my Joy. Take care.
9 December, 1969
We've just talked Kate, and well, hearing your voice doesn't make the waiting any easier, but then we don't have too long to wait. By the time you receive this letter, it will only be six days. If it was one day longer, my Love, my heart would break from lonliness.
You seemed so uneasy and troubled, my Love. I hate to have you feeling this way, Kate. I know you're concerned for your mother; I hope she's feeling better soon. Did I contribute to your mood, Kate - maybe something I said or the situation we find ourselves in? If so, my Love, let me share your feelings - now and always. Maybe what I sense is imagined. If so, tell me. I'm a goof.
Have a good week, Kate. Keep busy, and know that I love you more than I've ever loved anyone before. God bless, you Kate. Take care.
Tim Senses Something's Wrong and He's RIGHT!
For those of you who have been following the Tim and Kate episodes from the time he enlisted and started sending letters, you understand what must be going on with "Kate", i.e. me, during this time.
As I read today's entry, I can put myself back into the situation. No, that's not right. Forty years later, I can only remember how I felt then as a young woman in love and in this situation!
Tim states that he senses that I was "uneasy and troubled" in our last phone call. He was right about that, but it wasn't because I was concerned about my mom's health! His second guess was correct - it was our "married/unmarried" situation. We weren't married; we felt married, and we seem to have decided when he came come on leave at Christmas, we were going to act as if we were married.
Seemed to Have Decided: Random/Abstract Thinkers vs Concrete/Linear Thinkers
I've finally come to realize that random/abstract thinkers like myself and concrete/linear thinkers like Tim, see the decision-making process differently.
For me, the prospect of consummating the marriage we really didn't have was still open-ended. Yes, I had told Tim this was the decision I made, but random/abstract thinkers don't see their decisions as final until, well, for me, until after the fact! (At this point, some men might say, "See, she never says what she means." No, that's not it. Open-ended people, be they men or women mean what they say at the moment, but the moment changes. If you're a linear thinker, you have to keep checking in for a play-by-play account because a decision made at 1st and 10 is not the same decision that one makes at 4th and 10.
Our priest was wise in understanding that the need for the physical part of our relationship was overtaking any thought of building our relationship and determining our compatibility with each other. However, having somewhat "given us permission" to have sex before marriage, really didn't provide closure for me. It was his opinion, and while I embraced it when he spoke it, I was taking in more information from my own thoughts which was changing my initial enthusiasm for the concept. (You really don't want Concrete/Linear people to have their finger on the proverbial button because once it's pushed, it's all over.
I can read in Tim's letters, his assumption that the issue was closed after my discussion with our priest. He is puzzled by our phone calls. He's puzzled at what he can't interpret. He can't interpret my thinking that establishing a monetary future for us is not important. He doesn't, at this point, realize that I was so conflicted that I wanted to run away. He doesn't understand that this was a deep moral decision for me to make and I knew myself and was worried about the consequences to our relationship. All of this I can't tell him overtly, and he's having trouble guessing at the reason.
What Will Happen Next?
At this point in the relationship, there are several possibilities for outcome:
1. Tim, not knowing how I feel, might come home and I'll be gone.
2. I might continue talking with my family and friends, another priest, perhaps a counselor, and simply embrace the concept of us making love when Tim comes home on leave.
3, Tim might figure out that I can't make love when he comes home and decide to go to Michigan instead to visit his brothers instead of returning to Milwaukee. This will give him time to consider the relationship.
4. Tim might decide, with the help of his Army buddy, O'Brien, that he's too young for any of this (He's only 22) and come to realize that he would be better off having more experience with more young women and not commit at this point.
5. I might decide that Tim is not ready to commit. Maybe I'll explore my relationship with my best buddy from college (with whom I still play tennis and who, I sense, would want a relationship with me) and just write to Tim while he's away.
It's only a few days before Tim will be home. "Tension mounts," as they say, and Tim and I need to make (hopefully) a collective decision or at the very least, an individual decision that ultimately affects our collective relationship.
What Kind of Thinker Are YOU?
The abstinance question is weighing heavily on Tim and Kate. Remember, this is the 60s and even though "free love" seemed ubiquitous, this concept was just emerging in many young people's minds - especially those with strict Catholic upbringings.
Understanding how we, as individuals, approach problems can help in our relationships. Many of us are familiar with all kinds of personality tests that have been developed in the field of psychology such as the Meyers-Briggs test, etc. However, one test that is not as well known, is the Learning Style inventory that comes out of the field of education. While used in the classroom to determine the most effective methods for teaching individual students, this assessment tool provides an analysis of four different learning or thinking styles that, in my opinion, has a crossover to analyzing how we interact in individual relationships. Click here for an description of learning styles that are listed below.
For those of you who are not familiar with the Meyers-Briggs test, you might want to take that assessment tool as well. One cautionary note: It's important when undertaking any assessment inventory to have a person highly skilled to interpret these tests for you. Sometimes you might get a result that would suggest to you that you and your mate are incompatible, when in fact, almost any style can work together and sometimes opposite styles actually enhance a relationship. As stated by the Meyers-Briggs Foundation: "People who are qualified to administer the MBTI instrument are committed to using it in an ethical way, which includes protecting your confidentiality, showing you how to verify your type, giving feedback interactively, and presenting all types as valuable."
My advice would be to approach any tool with the idea of finding out how differences you may have can be accommodated, and many times only a trained professional who understands your intent can do this for you