Devotion or Lack of Devotion responsible for Success or Failure of Relationships – 6 Jul 11

Relationships

In the last weeks, while working all over Germany, I have given a lot of individual sessions. There were two sessions that I felt I would especially like to tell you about in one of my blog entries. They took place one after the other.

At first, a woman came to me who told me she is now a bit older than 60 years. She was determined to make a change in her life at that age. She did not come for counseling to ask me whether she should or should not make this change but already had decided that she definitely would change. She came because she had a bad conscience and felt guilty. She wants to separate from her husband, who is 80 years old. They have been together for 40 years and have two adult children. She said now she would like to do something for herself.

Just right after that, a young couple, both in their thirties, came to meet me. They have been in a relationship for three and a half years but as they live quite some distance apart from each other, they could only meet on weekends. Sometimes he came to her town, sometimes she visited him. Five months ago, the young man fell down from the roof of his house where he was working. He broke his spine and is now in a wheelchair. He is still being treated in the hospital and she picked him up to come to me together. They now make plans how they will go on living their lives with this change. They decided to move together, close to where she works and are happy that they can now make this step.

If you have read the two paragraphs above and came until here, I think I don’t need to tell you much about what was going on in my mind. It is the same that you are feeling now. These two stories are about the same topic but the persons go in completely different directions. The topic in common is clear: devotion. To both couples something happened that nobody could prevent. For the older couple, it is simply age. Everybody gets older. For the young couple it was an accident, something that can happen to anybody and at any time. In one story there is no devotion, even after spending this much time together. There doesn’t need to be a proper reason for separation, the lack of devotion is enough for the wish to leave. In the other story there is a lot of devotion. It shows the commitment, strengthens love and gives a nice feeling to the couple and to whoever hears this story.

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  1. Deniz

    A big difference in the West is that many people approach romance as a kind of adventure, like going on a vacation to some exotic place. Like such a vacation, there is fun for a time, but then the fun wears off and you look for somewhere else to go. This idea of romance as an adventure is rooted to a large extent in Western traditions of chivalric romance stories. A big range of other sociological factors regarding changes in Western life over the past 50 years or so have resulted in relationships becoming less and less stable. It’s true that romance as an adventure can be great fun, and like many forms of fun comes with its dangers, but the approach to romance as an adventure tends to undermine relationship stability over the long run.

  2. Julie

    Touching, really touching. You must meet a lot of different people on your journeys. Great that the young woman stays with her guy instead of going off and searching for one that can dance and run. Wonderful.

  3. Paul

    If I read this right, the elderly couple only stayed together until now because of this woman’s guilty feelings? She wants to do something for herself now. I don’t know this woman and i may never know what is in her mind but if you have such feelings of guilt, don’t do it! You know it is wrong, why are you doing it?You cannot just leave your 80 year old husband, alone and possibly unable to take care of himself! Marriage is a vow that you take and you can usually rely on the other one to take care of you when you are old. If everyone ran away when the other one got old, this would be a sad place for all of us!

  4. Ramona

    Dear Deniz,Yes, I agree to what you say, people see their love life like one of those romantic movies in which you need to have a quarrel, some drama, big reunions and other situations have to come. As long as everything goes according to their script, it is fine but then the movie ends after 90 minutes and they are there, no idea what to do now and bored with what they have…

  5. Melia

    I think it’s wonderful that the younger couple chose to move closer together and devote more of their lives to the relationship. Perhaps the accident awakened them to the reality of their love for each other. It put life in perspective and they realized what was important to them.
    But I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the older woman leaving her husband if it what she needs in her life… she said she’d like to do something for herself, not that she’d like to abandon her old husband because he’s senile. I think it would be wrong for her to continue her devotion and relationship with him if it was for the wrong reasons and wasn’t what was in her heart. Maybe no one else knows what her reasons are and would all judge her for her decision, but I think if she is being true to her heart and soul, no one else has room to judge her for it.

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