Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Good Work

I used to scoff at friends who talked about "working on their relationship." It was my rather insistent view that relationships shouldn't need or take work. They should be value-added, and at the precise moment that they stop being that they should be cast aside with the expectation that another would come in and effortlessly fill its place. Until it became work.
I held this point of view for a portion of my life that we like to call "The Single Years." Others refer to it as the Reagan/Bush years. For a little more than a decade, I stuck to these metaphorical guns, taking whatever opportunity presented itself to continue my scoffing at those coupled friends whom I encountered on their trips toward marital bliss. Why suffer? I would ask them this in hopes that they would see just how ridiculous it was to try and meet some unrealistic standard set by pop music and movies. There were entire sections of bookstores that offered tips on how to make those rocky paths smooth.
And still I scoffed. My scoffing became something of an avocation. Scoffmaster. Then I fell in love and realized that I had been wrong and that a relationship is a living thing and must be fed and nurtured in order to grow. You need things like patience and forgiveness by the bushel in order to keep moving toward the next page. If you want understanding, you've got to give it. Love and commitment takes a lot of commitment and love. And that can be a lot of work.
And I'm not talking about myself anymore. I'm not talking about my wife or my friends. I'm talking about Lyle Mitchell. If that name doesn't ring a bell, it could be that you weren't watching the Today Show last Tuesday. Lyle was on the show to talk about how he is dealing the the somewhat strained relationship between him and his wife, Joyce. You might recognize Joyce as New York prison employee who is accused with aiding and abetting the escape of two convicted killers back on June 6 from the Clinton Correctional Facility. These two gentlemen are still at large. If this were an episode of "I Love Joyce,"  she would have a lot of 'splainin to do. Did I mention that part of the plan included slipping her husband enough pills to knock him out long enough for the bad guys to get away? And in one draft, the bad guys were going to kill Lyle so that Joyce could run off with them to a cabin in Vermont? Lyle works at the Clinton Correctional Facility, and he will probably be spending some time in damage control, and not just for his career. The question on everyone's mind was would he stand by his wife? As of right now, I don’t know what to think,” he said. “I do not know.” He added: “Do I still love her? Yes. Am I mad? Yes. How could she do this? How could she do this to our kids?" It's going to take a lot of work to bring these two back into harmony. May I suggest reading "Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Cell Block A?"

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