“Jacques had taken up martial arts to protect himself and his mother. Sadly, as Hannalie recounted, she never permitted him to use it again after that first time. Though her husband had been keen on dishing out his discipline, he had been unable to deal with the pain himself. He’d whimpered about for days with the broken nose his son had inflicted, whilst saving his mother from another drunken beating. Hannalie had loved the man so much that she could not get it over her heart to permit her son to stop and possibly hurt him again. Jacques could not bear to stand by and watch her suffer needlessly, and so, respecting her wishes, he’d forced himself to leave.”
Angela may not have realized it but she needed a protector to help her battle: corrupt politicians and their lackeys; evil-ghostly Birth Mothers who sought her destruction; her own internal doubts; and even her very own sanity. She, like most of us, could not do it alone no matter how hard she tried to solely rely on her own fierce independence and inner strength. She needed a heroic protector – someone, who would be willing to take on her fight to protect her. He needed the chance, which his past had not afforded him, to truly protect a woman he loved. The fact that his mother had been unwilling to accept his protection had been very hard for him to accept, understand and survive. But, it had made him mentally stronger and more than willing to defend Angela against all that sought to destroy her. His past made him a natural protector of women and he was perfect to help her face all her demons.
But, besides needing a partner who would protect her, she also needed someone who was willing to have those difficult conversations and he proved he could go there.
What is a love anyway?
“‘What is a great love anyway and why should that be so different from what we have now or may have in future? I don’t even know what love really is, for I have never had a great role model in that department. If it is self-martyrdom at the expense of oneself, like my mother for my father, then I don’t want it. If it is cruelly beating or shouting at the one you supposedly love to make them too afraid to leave you, like my father, then I don’t want it either…
I want to learn everything there is to know about you, so that I can do everything in my power to make you happy. I want to find out what makes your heart beat with excitement and what takes your breath away, as I adore you. I want to protect you and what we have, for it makes me want to stand taller just because you are at my side…I want to hold deep discussions about life and everyday ones about the smaller things, for I greatly respect your opinion. I want to make everything all right and support you to fly as high as you can in this life. I want you and I want to be with you.’”
As ‘Birthplace of the sun’ has romance at its heart, it begged the question: ‘What is love and how should it be expressed?’
Exploring the concept further with reference to Jacques’ parents, Frankie and his Selloane, and, of course Jacques and Angela, it was clearly in the eye of the beholder. Love means different things to different people and every couple should explore this for themselves and its implication for their relationship.
The extract above is part of a difficult conversation between Jacques and Angela in which they come to their own unique view, as a couple, on what love is not, what it ought to be and what it could be. Everyone has their own view on love and on how it should be expressed, which is why it is a vital addition to any list of difficult conversations that couples need to explore together.
‘Birthplace of the sun’ leads couples in having open, honest explorations of difficult conversations on important topics for better, stronger relationships.
Having difficult conversations sets the foundation for real communication and for a real relationship. Too many of us reach the decision cross roads and take the easy route to stick to the superficial chats to keep the peace and not rock the boat. The thing is that, in so doing we rob ourselves of discovering more about ourselves, and our partners. We also rob ourselves both of the opportunity of having a truly meaningful relationship and of forcing ourselves to find out what it is that is truly bothering us. It becomes easier to just leave and move on to the next relationship and follow the same pattern rather than actually putting in the work. It becomes a convenient excuse to say, ‘Oh, we just did not work out.’ When, we should actually have said, ‘It was just too hard to figure out a way to make us work out.’
Having one honest conversation leads to trust in the future of that relationship but only if both parties are serious, open, transparent and wisely see it as the opportunity it truly is. It is an opportunity to create a stronger, lasting relationship. If you are not willing to have the difficult conversations with the person you are with then you should be urged to reevaluate your relationship and where it is going.
If you are willing to find a solution together then you will neither talk down to, nor over nor try to cleverly outwit the other person. You will instead really listen to understand with compassion and caring – and not just to respond. You’ll see its importance to the other person and that’ll make it important to you too. You’ll make the decision to work at your relationship because it is important to you.
How can one honest conversation lead to trust in the future?
To answer that, I’ll have to dig into your imagination – if you’ll forgive the intrusion.
Imagine you’re a woman (men may if you wish invert the sexes in this analogy) and you’re with an amazing man who’s perfect for you – on paper, at least. He’s handsome, witty, intelligent, sexy, confident, successful, loving and patient. But, he simply cannot bring himself to have a difficult, serious conversation and will in fact go to inordinate lengths to avoid it.
Will this not eventually lead you to naturally start to lose faith in your future together because he is unwilling to share anything real with you? Will you not begin to doubt your and your relationships importance to him because he’ll not go to that place within himself, or trust you enough to open up? He resists and keeps the real him at a distance and the harder you try to get in, the higher he builds the wall to protect himself. Finally, your relationship becomes stilted and no longer a beautiful thing.
The promise of a future together is lost because you did not have that one honest conversation. If he’d had the courage to go there once, you’d have trusted in each other to be able to overcome anything and your future would have been secured from that apparently small thing onwards. But it cannot be done alone…two must tango in every relationship…and it takes hard work.
How is just talking, hard work?
It is hard work because it involves taking a brave stand in being open to changing what you think, feel and even how you act. It can be painful when you realize that you are not always right and that you have been wronging someone you care for.
It is frightening to lay your innermost fears out on the table, exposed to the light of scrutiny and logic – some may even fear having their own fears used against them but if you don’t take that chance your relationship is doomed anyway. It can be even more frightening to go inside yourself to find out what your fears really are and to be willing to delve into that darkest of places within yourself. That place you normally do not visit because it is just too scary.
It takes wisdom and compassion to not laugh at or belittle others fears because you just don’t see them as being an issue at all. It takes respect to go there and respect to deal with it once it is all out in the open, and the giving of this respect results in a lasting trust and faith in one’s partner. This beautiful thing will reward your leap of faith with untold treasures.
Some of the difficult conversations every couple should have:
ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
- The new role of women in relationships
- Who will be responsible for what, where, when & how
- What areas of daily life and responsibility requires joint agreement
- Financial expense responsibilities (individually and jointly)
- Support required from partner in specific areas
- Pets and children – to have them / not, how they are to be cared for and by whom, etc.
- What I require to feel loved, secure and needed
- What is required from a partner, in case of a break up or death
- Communication style, frequency, location (where is it best to broad a difficult subject – in restaurant / at home), etc.
- What does love mean to you and how would you like it expressed and how would you like to express it
- Living arrangements and environment
- Holiday locations and frequency
- Sexual and physical contact needs
- Other likes and dislikes
FREE / ALONE TIME
- Friends, etc.
- Children – existing and prospective:
- Education, expenses, discipline & rules of engagement, care if parents pass
- Future goals, dreams and support required to get there
- Where do you want to live
- Retirement hopes and needs
AGING FAMILY RESPONSIBILITIES
- What that may be and how best to handle them
- Support required from partner
FAMILY, WORK & FRIEND ENGAGEMENTS
- Who will pay for what when going out together
- How often with they be going out as a couple and how much will be alone time with friends.
Please add any other important issues that couples may need to address, in the comments below, and thank you for your contribution.