Writer’s Workshop: My house shall be a mast

Mama Kat ButtonI love when the jeweler cleans my wedding ring. Its renewed radiance resonates for days. It looks bigger and more brilliant than before and I am reminded of how it glistened in the summer sun after DW placed it on my finger over thirteen years ago. It’s easy to forget the beauty when it is dulled by the grime and dust accumulated day after day.

Recently, I have been painfully reminded how fragile relationships are, especially marriages. My daughters need to understand there are no perfect relationships. There are no knights in shining armor, no “one true loves” or perfect matches. These “fairy-tale” romances do not exist, at least not organically. After all, the word romance itself is based on feelings of exaggeration. It is associated with chivalric love and adventure. What can exist, I think, are two people who commit to loving each other and promise to spend the rest of their days actively courting and pursuing one another. One of the things I most value about my marriage is that we both choose each other. We both take care to affair-proof our relationship.

I’m not a follower of talk-shows, but I found this article by Dr. Phil to be pretty spot on. There is a lot of great advice, but here were my favorite points:

  • Don’t play games in your head. It is a short step from thought to action.
  • Don’t confuse reality with fantasy. We often forget that there’s a difference between falling in love and being in love. You can’t expect a love that grows to be like it was on the first date.
  • If you want to have a good partner, be a good partner. Put 100 percent into your marriage.
  • Work on your marriage every single day, not just during the bad times. Wake up each day and ask yourself, “What can I do today that will make my marriage better?”

There’s also a quote by Kahlil Gibran, from the book The Prophet, that found me this morning:

“Your house shall be not an anchor but a mast. It shall not be a glistening film that covers a wound, but an eyelid that guards the eye.”  – Kahlil Gibran

I can’t help but want to substitute the word marriage for house, because, after all, my relationship with DW is my comfort and my shelter. It is what I call home.

Often people say things like, “They are my rock and my anchor” when describing their closest friends or partner. However, anchors are heavy and cumbersome, aren’t they? They are large weights tied by chains that keep us from moving. The whole purpose of an anchor is so that you can’t drift, but that also means that when you have dropped anchor, you can’t go anywhere. You are confined to the same spot, your view does not change. Opportunities for growth would be limited. I don’t want to be DW’s anchor. I would never want to be what keeps him from reaching his full potential.

The idea of our relationship, our marriage, being more like a mast is much more fulfilling. In fact, it feels almost enlightening. Together we can be tall and strong; together we can hold each other upright, letting the air fill our sails and carry us anywhere we want to go. A mast towers into the sky, a backbone like structure, rising above the deck of a ship to support the yards, booms and rigging.

I want my house to be a mast, not an anchor.







7 thoughts on “Writer’s Workshop: My house shall be a mast

  1. Beautifully written Emily. Wise words. ❤ ❤ —- I would like to add something.

    If I were to give advice to a young woman (or man), make being happy with yourself a big priority. I would say, be who you are, the best that you are and the best you want to be, what ever that is, all by yourself. Then if you can find someone who ADDS to you, ADDS to your life and to your love, and you are someone who ADDS to theirs. If you can each ADD to, and appreciate, the wondrous person that the other already is, then you have really got something there. In my opinion, THAT is what you are looking for. — so many young people seem to have relationships because they feel they must, even if that person is not enhancing their lives, and usually in fact, that person is just taking from them, sometimes 'disassembling' them, (emotionally, financially, spiritually, physically,) and they justify the relationship because they "don't want to be alone". In my book, "something" or "anything" is NOT "better than nothing". — Plus when you are happy with the person you are, you will attract people who are also happy with who they are. And the times you are alone, you will be with someone you like and value 😀 Just my 2 cents.

  2. I don’t think everyone’s experience is the same, but I was really disappointed when I found out that love is not like the fairy tales. My husband has a thousand wonderful traits, but romance is not one of them…I had to adjust my expectations a bit when we were dating!

    1. I think your experience is exactly spot on – one person can’t possibly be all things to us, nor can we to them. Love is when we accept that, and work as hard as we can to love them for all the things that they ARE rather than be frustrated by all the things that they ARE NOT.

  3. I want my house to be a mast too. I’ve never heard that saying, but it sure sounds good right about now. It’s so very hard to do though. Especially when life doesn’t exactly slow down enough for you to make all the changes you need to do. But I suppose, at least one must start. Right? Thanks for the inspiration. 🙂

    1. It is very hard to do – being complacent and too comfortable happens to all of us. There are days that fly by and it feels like I wasn’t even a part of them. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Nice post. So true about relationships. They take work. They don’t just “happen.” It has to be 100% x 100%, both all in. The Lord taught me that about the thinking along time ago: He said not to allow the dark birds of negative thinking about my mate to even begin to nest in my mind.”

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