Relationships: Some Thoughts on Women in Relationships
A Woman’s Perspective
A love relationship is about a man and a woman journeying together. For some it may be beautiful, fulfilling and enriching; for others painful, exhausting and even destructive. Falling in love can happen in a moment; being in love with someone is a process which encompasses all the uphill and downhill moments.
From a woman’s perspective, I think loving someone can be a beautiful experience and the capacity to love is truly one of life’s richest blessings. We do not live for ourselves only, or at least we ought not to. We find gratification and fulfillment in loving our children and seeing to their needs; in loving our parents and ensuring their well being in their waning years; in loving our siblings and friends and looking out for them, but we experience a special type of wholeness in loving a man - our partner or spouse.
The Man-Woman Connection
There is a fundamental reason why this is so: God created woman for man. We have hearts abounding with love and we need to give this love to a partner. Love is far too beautiful to be held within ourselves.
In a relationship where there is reciprocity the journey, regardless of challenges, will be gratifying and beautiful because every step is taken together. The good times are shared and the sorrows are borne together. It becomes natural and easy for each partner to lavish love on the other for their lives have become one. The years will only add to the richness of the experience.
It is far more challenging, however, for a woman to nurture love in her heart for a man who does not reciprocate, a man who has neglected her, abandoned her or cheated on her. It is perhaps even more difficult for the one who has undergone physical abuse. Yet it is not unheard of that some women do continue to nurture love for their estranged partners long after they have separated; sometimes throughout their entire lifetime. Consequently, such women may be considered weak or foolish and may be the objects of much criticism and ridicule, but who are we, outsiders, to judge them? The human heart is a strange organ; the mix of emotions which can be contained in it is truly awesome and it is different with everyone. While some may indeed be weak or foolish, there have been many strong women who have undergone heartbreak in a relationship and yet, at the end, have been able to forgive their (ex) partners and maintain good relations with them.
It is a Strong Woman Who Forgives and Maintains a Good Relationships With Him
Different Women; Different Reactions
Different women react differently to what is perceived by onlookers to be similar situations. It is our prerogative to respond differently for God made us all different. We are not all strong or weak or loving or hating and this is good for a balanced world. To be tough does not necessarily make you strong ; to be vulnerable does not make you foolish.
A strong woman is really one who can endure suffering and emerge from it with a deeper understanding of human nature and a renewed capacity to love; one who can stoically pick up the pieces of her broken world and move on in life with a new level of maturity. Sadly, we’re not all strong. Let us look at four different women: Mary, Ann, Jane and Pam who are representative of so many of the women out there who have experienced difficult relationships.
Mary has weathered the ravages of separation and emerged strong, resilient, majestic, yet still steadfastly in love with Paul, the man who once awakened her heart and made it pulsate and swell with love; the man who once brought her joy and laughter and taught her to live.
After the initial pain has eased, she has found a way to look beyond the bad times and hang on to the happy memories. She is able to forgive Paul and this opens the way for healing to take place. She is therefore able to move on without being bogged down by the negative emotions which we often allow to take control of our lives after we experience heartbreak. She chooses not to go back into a union which clearly did not work. However, her fond memories keep her heart throbbing and she is able to relate to Paul amicably.
Mary is a light to those who have not found a better way.
Ann has survived a bitter divorce and has decided that no man is ever going to get the chance to hurt her again. She will use men as they use women, but no man will be able to penetrate the fortress which she has built around her heart. She has made a statement and everyone knows what she now stands for. She is tough and everyone is in awe of her. Deep down, however, Ann is the loneliest person in the world. Deep down Ann recognizes that bravado, career, success stories, socializing – none of these things can fill the emptiness inside of her. Her heart yearns to love and she yearns to be loved and therein lies her vulnerability.
Ann needs help in understanding that it is okay to be weak sometimes, it is okay to be human and above all it is important to let go and to allow your heart to heal.
Jane has emotional insecurities. She has never been able to believe that she is equal to any partner. She has always felt undeserving and unworthy and as a result, when things turn sour between herself and Jack, it is easy for her to accept her heartbreak as her due.
She therefore feels imprisoned because she lacks the self confidence to say goodbye to Jack and move on with her life. Even when he becomes physically abusive and she has, on occasion, had to flee for her life, Jane, broken and hurting inside, remains in a situation which obviously won’t get better. She is unable to make an intellectual decision for she is convinced that Jack is giving her something which she will not be able to find elsewhere. She hangs on in the belief that if she quits there might never be another man for her.
Jane needs help in boosting her self esteem.
Pam is devastated as a result of her failed relationship. She just cannot put the pieces back together. Everything had appeared to have been going so well; she just had not seen it coming. She can’t believe that this has happened to her and is too consumed with self pity to focus on the future. She just surrenders to her fallen world and remains in a state of lethargy and self pity convinced that her broken pieces will never mend. For Pam it seems as if there is no tomorrow, only the darkness of yesterday.
Pam needs to understand that you can do nothing to change the past, but you certainly can plan a better way in the future. She needs help in getting to her feet again
A Call for Empathy
These four women are all different and each deals with her situation in her own way. Rather than decrying those who are not thought to be handling their situations well, we need to support one another in this sometimes difficult journey of life. We must always remember that we could have been walking in the shoes of a Mary, Ann, Jane or Pam. We should also thank God if our journey has been great thus far.
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A relationship is meant to be a beautiful and fulfilling experience and no matter the outcome, we are usually richer or stronger for having gone through it. It is not always meant to be permanent.
© 2012 Joyette Helen Fabien