Grace, I’ve been thinking about what makes a good marriage. A few characteristics come to mind: respect, integrity, honesty, communication, accountability, and commitment. I guess this is good for starters. I discussed respect last week and wanted to look at integrity today.
Integrity, as I think of it, is a firm adherence to a specific code of morals. Having integrity is presenting oneself in the highest manner of values with respect to self and others. Integrity is also about being genuine in self. A simple example of integrity can be to respect people’s time and be on time to appointments, gatherings, meetings, etc. Another level of integrity is to be committed to one person regardless of the temptation no matter how delicious and ripe the red apple may be.
Why do I think about integrity? I think I lost integrity in my word to myself. I wanted certain things in life and I sacrificed them for another person. I think in marriage being honest with oneself and communicating a clear message about one’s feelings, desires and wants is crucial to being happy. When we’re married it is just as important to make another person happy, but not at the cost of being content and losing one’s integrity with our true self.
I’m not going to deny it. I think having integrity is challenging because it’s not just about having integrity in one area of one’s life, but having integrity in all areas of one’s life. We might do better in one aspect of our life, but have to work a little bit harder in other aspects. Does this mean we don’t have integrity? I think having a partner helps hold each other accountable for what both respect in a relationship. I know in my future relationship I will pursue an open, honest dialogue that addresses respect, integrity and accountability, among other characteristics that I value. I say let’s drink to that. Merlot, anyone?
Guiding Lesson: Cheers to Integrity! Eve, what else do you have to give yourself and others than your true self. If you give anything less or choose to live opposed to who you are, then who are you really or who are you trying to become? You are no longer you and eventually the “you” that you were born as is a stranger and seeks to be sought after.
This is the most honest journey you will ever take to reunite with YOU, the magnificent, beautiful and precious you that you truly were and are. It’s time to reacquaint and awaken the real self that has slipped away because there was no room. She is not dead, but sleeping and has been waiting for you to nourish her back to health.
Are you curious to know whom you will find? Have you seen glimpses of her? Does she stir within you like your boys did when you were carrying them? Do you feel comfortable just sitting with her and nobody else in the quiet? Or is it uncomfortable and lonely because you have been estranged from her? So where do you start?
Eve, it’s very simple. You start with spending time with her, just the two of you. You can journal and write her a letter to tell her how much you miss her. Recall in these moments of solitude when you last were together and what you love about her and how you need her. Take the time you need to decide if you are committed to sitting with her everyday, even if it is for just ten minutes (twenty minutes is ideal and transformative). It is important to be honest about this commitment so not to set her (who is you) up for disappointment because you abandon her. The reason I say this is that if you can’t live with integrity and commit to yourself, then who can commit to you? You won’t be able to recognize commitment and integrity in someone else since you have not befriended them within you.
At first you may feel lonely and restless when you begin to sit with her, like you would when you are in a room with a stranger. Once you begin to build a relationship, you will enjoy spending time with yourself. You can even schedule dates with her. Take her to a park, movie, get ice cream. Ask her, she’ll tell you. But remember, this time is not spent with others, but you and her. She has great wisdom, knowledge and truth that she is longing to share and will only share it if she is able to trust you. She is very faithful and has a lot of integrity. So what do you say, is it a date?