Monday, March 24, 2008

A complete work of Fantasy

A year ago something changed profoundly in me. I was writing a story in which I was supposed to develop the love relationship between two characters. When telling a friend about this - he said "Ah, so it's a complete work of Fantasy." And I realized that he was exactly right. I knew nothing about the kind of love that occurs between real people.

Not knowing what else to do (being in the midst of a divorce and all), I called 2 of my closest friends and asked them to talk to me - for the sake of my book - about what made their partnerships great. Both of them agreed. And these wonderful women opened their marriages in all their glory.

One woman had been married for more than 30 years when her husband died two years ago of cancer. The other has been married for 8 years to a man who still seems like Prince Charming. I spent hours and hours with these two women understanding the good and the bad of their relationships. But mostly talking about what made them work. The younger woman's husband called while we were talking, and he spent a long time on the phone with me. The older woman told me later that our conversation was tremendously healing for her, because it helped her remember all of the wonderful things about her late husband, easing her grief.

These wonderful friends bravely answered the sometimes uncomfortable questions honestly, helping me to understand where my marriage had gone wrong. And hopefully helping me to see what I could change about my expectations and behaviors when I begin a new relationship.

The most important thing I learned:

Respect - meaning I respect you enough to allow you to be yourself, to have your own interests, and needs. And you respect me enough to do the same.

Respect - meaning we love each other enough to really want to spend time together, sometimes doing your stuff, sometimes mine, and as often as possible - ours.

Respect - meaning welove and trust each other enough to spend time separately doing our own things.

Respect - meaning when we have a disagreement - if you feel stronger about an issue than I do - we do it your way. And vice versa. But that cannot happen if there's no respect.

There were more things that I learned during those conversations. But that one stuck in my mind, because I think that's the one that contributed most heavily to the downfall of my own marriage.

Ah but again - I digress. This started out talking about my Fantasy book, and there it shall end - or is it a beginning? I am still working on the story line. I do not yet know where the tale will take me, and apparently it is not yet time. So I shall patiently write bits and pieces of my characters - knowing that in the end they will get together, or they won't. But when it is written it will be a story of multi-dimensions, instead of cardboard cartoon characters.

So dear friends, I thank you for your honesty. And caring.

In Joy
Gayle McCain

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