Thursday, September 4, 2014

Why I'm Writing All of This

People need to feel good about faith again. They need to understand that it is OK to accept that not everything makes sense.  It’s OK to ask questions and to question answers.

It needs to be understood that when questioning our religion, it does not equal questioning our Faith or questioning God.  It is questioning the understanding, interpretations and probably the possible agendas of those before us that have been traditionally relied on to show us how to demonstrate our Belief, Faith, and Service to God.

God is perfect. Human Beings are not.

We are able to see all around us regularly how imperfect we are.  Even with our advances in communication how often are we supplied with incorrect information either accidentally or deliberately?  How often have we trusted that we were given complete, accurate and unbiased information only to discover later we were being manipulated for a specific agenda?  History is filled with such people and such misinformation causing trouble, anger, heartbreak and more.

Yet, so many of us cling to the interpretation, chosen materials and often second, third and four-thousandth hand knowledge of events that are considered fact as they were finally written down, copied by hand in less than ideal environments, and translated from language to language before they reached their current version.

Does this mean I don’t believe in the study of the Bible or the history of religion?  No. I believe the study of the past is always good in understanding the perceptions and the actions of those who came before us. How they saw God’s creation.  It also tells us how much they didn't know, couldn't see and had no opportunity of understanding just how vast God’s creation really is, how ancient it truly is and how small we really are within it.

I also believe that we are still growing and God’s guidance is around us everywhere. Yes, sometimes the results of that guidance may be misused by those who have been granted it, but that God is still speaking to us in innumerable ways and sometimes we actually listen well enough for the message to get through.

Prayer.  What is Prayer?  Prayer is speaking to God.  It is taking a moment to allow ourselves to clear our minds and focus mentally on speaking to God.

They say that the human brain is an incredible thing that we are only barely able to understand.  Our mental abilities still boggle the scientific field in many ways.  My favorite is psychosomatic pregnancy:  The need for a baby so badly that a woman's body will actually exhibit all the symptoms including lactation and swelling in the abdominal region.  We are sometimes able to focus so much on what we want that we will show physical symptoms of it.  Imagine what we could do if we worked together to focus that mental state all at once.  Oh wait, we do, in group prayer.

Do I believe that enough prayer can assist in healing others, either from physical or mental harm?  Yes.  I believe that when we are able to come together and focus as one, God allows us to assist our brothers and sisters in ways we couldn't do otherwise.

Many would ask then why these prayers don’t always appear to work.  My only answer is, they just weren't supposed to for reasons we aren't supposed to understand.

Growing up our parents didn't always explain why certain things had to be done a certain way, or why we weren't allowed to have or do something.  Or if they did we weren't usually happy about it or maybe didn't fully understand why, but it was always for our own good. As we get older these things often start to make sense.

As we, a people, mature socially, etc, perhaps we will be given the answers and finally be allowed to understand.  Until then, we will just have to be angry, sad or disappointed when things don’t go our way.  Life doesn't always seem fair but I know the more we work together, help each other and not continue to hurt each other, the better things will be.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Some Personal Thoughts: Marriage - Relationships - Monogamy

In honor of our 18th Wedding Anniversary, I decided to update and post an entry from my former blog that I wrote several years ago.

There are a number of stereotypes affiliated with Active Duty military and their spouses and based on my observations over the past 18 years, I can honestly say there is valid reason for those stereotypes to exist. Consequently there was been more than one occasion that I had to make it very clear to someone that I was NOT a stereotypical Navy Wife.

I've been asked before what makes a lasting marriage work and I've thought about it whenever I hear of anyone having their own relationship problems. Since there have been volumes written on the subject for decades and decades I won't bother trying to sound like an expert here. But in simple, one journal entry terms, based on my own experience and observations, I think I can put it in a nutshell with 3 words: LOVE, TRUST and COMMUNICATION.

These 3 things are different but equally important aspects of any good relationship and must be the foundation for the rest of the relationship to be built on. If even one of these aspects is missing or weak, its unlikely that the other two will be able to support the relationship on their own. I'm sure at this point many are thinking things like "what about respect, similar personality, things in common, etc" these of course are also important, especially respect. In my opinion these often are linked to the basic 3 so they are understood as being there already.

LOVE (Starting with the most obvious)
Of course Love is what usually gets all this started. Most people have a pretty good idea what this is all about so I won't waste time saying to much.

COMMUNICATION
It is amazing how often I am talking to someone, or overhearing someone talk, about problems with their relationship and it comes out that all the issues they have with their partner they are talking about to everyone else BUT their partner. Contrary to apparent popular belief, a serious relationship does not cause a sudden onset of telepathy. If they don't know its broken, they can't fix it. In other words, if your significant other has done something that bothers you, unless they've done it on purpose, they can't make everything better if they don't know there is a problem to begin with. Stewing on an issue and waiting for it to fix itself will only cause a bigger issue to be created. If more happens and nothing is ever at least discussed to avoid further problems, then comes the wedge and invariably the end. Talk to each other. (And I do mean TALK not SCREAM) Listen to each other. Be willing to compromise. It may not be fun, it will probably be very uncomfortable at the least, but it can be the difference between a long lasting relationship and a really bad break-up with a potential soul mate.

TRUST
This subject still gets me. I am absolutely floored how many couples I've encountered who swear up and down they are in a fabulous relationship but will go ballistic if their partner even appears to look at someone else. If you are that insecure with your relationship, you shouldn't be in the relationship. If you have been in a previous relationship that your trust was betrayed, its understandable that you would be wary. To that end, if you've decided to commit to a new partner who has never done anything to make you not trust them, then you should trust them. If you can't, then you aren't ready to be in a new relationship yet. If you have a partner who won't trust you when there is no reason not to, you shouldn't be in the relationship. I've seen it over and over again, and it seems to be the fastest cause for things to go wrong.

People screw up, sometimes in a small way, sometimes spectacularly. Some mistakes can not be forgiven. Most can be IF the work is put in on both sides. I have the good fortune to be in a relationship that has never had to be deal with a major screw up. Like most, we've had our share of miscommunication problems, all of which we have managed to work out by discussing them. Or emailing, if we happen to be in different time zones at the time. Technology is wonderful. I also have the good fortune to be completely secure in my knowledge that I don't have to worry about what my husband may be doing when he's away from me, just as he is equally secure in what I do and don't do. So, since that is the case, we have fun being open with each other. If I see a cute female I know is about his type, I'll point her out. When he goes out, its often with single co-workers to places that are considered to be "target rich" environments. So what? We went through 7, six month separations in the 17.5 years he was active military, as well as numerous shorter versions that are too many to count and have never had a problem.

The first of these deployments began 7 months after we got married. Deployments include him going to foreign ports where entertainment of EVERY kind is so cheap its practically free. I knew this from the start. I also knew that when you are in a new place, have been working long hours and need to decompress, really stupid ideas can seem like really smart ideas when you are drunk on the local brew and all your companions are single and getting laid. So, I took the liberty of laying some ground rules for possible infractions.

1. Don't fall for anyone
2. Don't let anyone fall for you
3. Don't get anyone pregnant
4. Don't CATCH anything
5. Most importantly, tell me about it.

The last one may have many people raising eyebrows. I'm sorry to disappoint, but contrary to some more creative rumors we've had spread about us over the years, I'm not that kinky. I want to know about anything that happens because I don't want to be one of those wives who are the only ones who DON'T know. I can't say I won't be upset that something happened. I probably will be to some extent or another, but I guarantee, that will be nothing compared to how upset I'll be if I find out I'm the last to know. This may not work for everyone, but, I am a strong believer that the tighter you hold onto someone, the more you will probably push them away. Give each other room to breath you lessen the chance that you'll be driven to make mistakes. Also then, the mistakes you do make will be more easily fixable and forgivable.

Married 18 years
Husband's was Active Duty Military 17.5 years
Together 21 years
41 years old
Sexual intercourse with only 1 person my entire life. He's the first and only.

Go figure, we must be doing something right.