You Have To Have Both Oars In The Water

mb-oars201308I was recently reminded of something that my grandma and great-aunt used to say when it came to talking about marriages, specifically when you’re having problems.  It went something like:

“You have to have both oars in the water to move forward.  Otherwise you’ll go in around in circles or nowhere at all.”

This is so simple yet so true.

When you’re in a relationship, you have to have both people involved, with their oars in the water so to speak.  If you have just one person putting effort into the relationship as a whole, or a particular problem that’s presented itself, you’ll move but you’ll end up going in circles.  If both people decide to do nothing, then you’re going to go nowhere, or be at the mercy of outside forces like the current or the wind.

It’s better to work together.  Work together to find a rhythm and a pace.  But above all, you have to have both oars in the water.

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There’s No Time For Those Who Don’t Have Time For You

A while back, I had the rare opportunity to hang out with two of my best friends at the same time.  Back in the day (late 1990’s), I lived with one of the guys and the other was over at our apartment 3-4 times per week.  Getting together was easy and frequent.  Even after my roommate moved out and eventually moved to the other side of the state, we still found ways to get together regularly.

mb-friends-201308In 2006-2007, all three of us got married.  Over the next four years, each of us had two kids.  Each a boy and girl as a matter of fact.  With all that, we found less and less time to spend together, and while we’d see each other now and then on a one-on-one basis, we just didn’t have the opportunity to get together.  Fantasy football and e-mail kept us in communication, but eventually the league folded and the e-mails got less and less frequent.

We were still friends, but it was just harder to stay in touch.

So, when the three of us got together and all six kids descended upon my friend’s basement to play (and obliterating any sense of organization in roughly 15 seconds flat), it was awesome.

Still, all three of us reflected on the one that was missing.

Back when we hung out, there was another guy that was with us every step of the way.  He was in all of our weddings.  He was over at our apartment all the time.  When we went out, he was there.  All the time.

I won’t go into all the details of what happened, because frankly I’m still puzzled as to the entire sequence of events.  Long story short, our buddy went through a whirlwind romance and got married, and then promptly shut us out of his life.  Nobody was invited to the wedding, but the reasoning was that they got married in front of a few families at a courthouse downtown.

Fine.

Calls to congratulate him were answered, but they only lasted a few minutes.  E-mails to stay in touch were answered, but got shorter and shorter.  Every one contained a promise to get together and stay in touch.  Each one got shorter.

A couple of calls went back and forth, as well as some text message.  Each enthusiastically received a response about how our respective friendships were all important to him, and every one was followed by silence.  He never called us.  He never texted or e-mailed us first.  And eventually he stopped answering all of those.

He moved out of state and changed his number.  He told nobody what it was.  He actually deleted his Gmail account (who does that?).

One time, before all of this happened, I actually got together with him and his new wife for lunch.  She was nice, we all got along, and everything seemed great.  I don’t think she’s the source of his silence as she actually still sends us stuff in the mail.  They had a baby a while back and she sent us a birth announcement.

She sends Christmas cards.  My wife sends cards back.  This year, my friend’s wife actually wrote his e-mail and phone number in the card.  My wife gave it to me.  I looked at it and gave it back to her without a word.  A few weeks later she asked if I ever planned to use that information.  I answered simply by pointing out that my phone number was still the same.  My e-mail hadn’t changed.  If he wanted to get a hold of me, there was nothing stopping him.

He hasn’t.

So, when the three of us got together and were watching the kids tear apart the basement, talk inevitably turned to our missing friend.  We wondered why he cut us all out.  We talked about some of the great memories we have.  We speculated if we could have done anything different.  We couldn’t figure out why he couldn’t just talk about whatever problems he had with us versus shutting out his closest friends.  We all agreed we missed him.

But, as I stood there it hit me that I had no interest in trying to reach out to him anymore.  Up to that point, the idea crossed my mind to try to reach out and find out what he was doing.  Give it one more shot, so to speak.  But, standing next to my two friends, I realized that these were two guys that wanted to stay in touch and wanted to be friends with me and that, in spite of all of our best efforts, we still struggled to make it happen as often as we wanted.  It hit me that I needed to spend the limited time on the friends that actually cared about me, and that I didn’t have time at all for the guy that no longer gave a damn.

Since that day, I’ve not been tempted once to try to contact him.  If I ever think of him and start entertaining notions of talking to him, I instead send my other two friends an e-mail or pick up the phone and call or text one of them.

After all, they’re the ones that want to hear from me.

Recent Carnivals In Which I’ve Been Included:

  • Money Life and More
  • Festival of Frugality
  • According to Athena
  • Adam Hagerman
  • Miss Thrifty
  • Funny About Money
  • Tales and Trenches
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