Mary's blog on 'Foul weather friends' and the man who 'just listened' when she was going through a terrible time set a train of thought on 'togetherness', to me, a situation when people 'coalesce' with no need for scoring off each other, waiting to get your word in without listening to the other person, and never, never bearing a grudge.
It can be a life-long marriage, but not necessarily – because marriage is made of many parts, and some of the happiest marriages I know are so because each party has personal interests, they come together and act as a team at glorious and disastrous moments, and survive.
I've been observing lots of couples of our age (over 80's) recently – and in houses I pass the TV is always on – are they living in companionable silence (real togetherness) or the only way they can stand each other?
Is it empathy? With human or animal. There has been a lot of reference to the importance of animals as an aid to depression – lots of cats sodden with tears – ours is most understanding. To me, perfection in 'togetherness' is the equine discipline of dressage – man and animal in perfect and beautiful accord.
We have Australian friends (we know that health, distance and money means we will never meet again) who knew, instinctively, when one wanted 'peace' whether it was for a nap, read a book, gaze at the view.
The art of not talking is a difficult one to acquire – I am terribly guilty. In the last year, we have had plenty of dramas. Our sons who were there at the time knew 'togetherness', just 'being there' reducing stress if they could, but making sure that I could deal with doctors, ambulances, paper work while the guests/family sat quietly, and re-assuring Mr G.
How do you define a relationship which 'works'?
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