Creative Destruction…a part of life

November 8, 2017

From a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog comes this gem of understanding from an unlikely source –

“Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.”  (Marilyn Monroe)

In the world around us there is a process called Creative Destruction, which is defined as the “process of industrial mutation that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one”. Sometimes the changes take place quickly and sometimes it is what seems like slow motion. A prime example that we can all relate to is the Creative Destruction that took place in the retail world when Sam Walton started Walmart. At the time Walmart was created the big names in so-called big box” retail were Sears, Montgomery Wards, K-Mart and Penney’s. Today it is Walmart, Target and Kohl’s. The old gave way to the new sears store closing(although Penny’s has held on longer than the others). These days stores like Walmart, Target, Best Buy and Kohls are fighting to remain relevant in the on-line world of Amazon, Ebay, ETSY and Wayfair. Things continue to evolve and Creative Destruction continues to change our landscape.

I suspect that Marilyn’s little quote may have had a more personal meaning, since she had a few marriages fall apart and she moved on to new men in her life. That seems to happen all too frequently in marriages these days. One of the reasons that companies fail, especially retail companies, is that they don’t evolve as the world around them changes. Tastes change. Fads come and go. New generations have different desires in cloths and other things. The retailers who can keep a sense of those changing tastes survives, while others fail.

couple-looking-at-phonesPersonal relationships also evolve and change over time and it is the couples that can’t seem to keep up with those changes that end up in divorce. Many marriages are based almost solely on the relatively narrow base of physical and sexual attraction. Once that ardor cools a bit, if there is no underlying foundation of friendship and common interests, the “love” that was professed cools and creative destruction can take over. Cheating in a marriage is a form of Creative Destruction.

For some couples Creative Destruction in their marriage starts when the first child of the marriage is born and the man discovers that he is no longer alone at the center of his wife’s universe. The passion that once obscured all else may cool and faults that went unnoticed or overlooked before may bubble to the surface and become issues of contention or conflict. It is harder for that to happen, or at least for it to have destructive consequences, if one can also say that they truly like the person with whom they live. How many times have you heard, “the sex was good, but I couldn’t stand to live with him/her”?

What can be done to ensure that a marriage doesn’t end up on the dust heap of Creative soulmate1Destruction? I think it takes a mindset that realizes that a marriage is something that will evolve and must be constantly invested in to keep it relevant and growing. The birth of children must be viewed as a new opportunity to share new things together and not as a threat to the relationship. The sharing of responsibilities and work in a marriage must be viewed and an investment in the relationship and not as a burden to be borne.

The continued development and strengthening of the friendship aspect of the marriage must become more and more important as the sexual relationship runs its course over time. Viagra is not the answer. Working upon your friendship with your spouse will insure the longevity of the marriage. Sharing common interests. Doing things together. Sharing the parenting load and the household chores. Showing love to one another, in ways other than sex, all become more important over time. Things need not fall apart in

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“Image courtesy of Simon Howden / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.

your marriage, in order for things to get better. However, things will change and you need a more solid base than just the sex that was there upon which to base your future together.

You can look at the changes that have occurred in your lifetime and come to the conclusion, “Yes, things changed, but I’m still here.” Those in a good marriage will say, “Yes, things changed but we’re still here, still together.” Jobs come and go, along with the people who were there. Old friendships from school or sports or other things in life may come and go. In the end, when you look back on the pictures of your life (real or in your memories) the one constant is that person standing next to you in most of them – your spouse. Remember that and work on that relationship as it evolves over time. What you’ll achieve is not Creative Destruction; but, rather, Creative Growth of your marriage.

Have a great rest of your week. Kiss your spouse and say “I love you” at least once every day and think a reason that it is true when you say it.

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You must work at communicating…

March 8, 2016

“What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.”  (Cool Hand Luke) – seen on the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

I remember seeing the Paul Newman movie when it was released and how jarring thePaul Newman ending was, when the jail warden grabbed the gun and shot and killed Newman’s character. Perhaps in today’s world of seemingly weekly police shootings it would not have been so unexpected.

Sometimes we worry if anyone hears what we are saying. Much of the time that may not be the issue. The real issue is do they understand what we are saying…are we communicating. In the common vernacular the phrase “you know” is used as both a statement and a question and is meant somehow to be a shortcut to understanding. But what if the other party doesn’t know? What if they have no life experience basis for knowing? What if they come from a different culture, where the things that we know are not common knowledge or experiences? How much are you communicating when you use the phrase, “you know?”

Jack made the point also that communications is a critical part of any relationship, divorceespecially those within a marriage and a family. A failure to communicate is probably the root cause of the breakup most marriages that end in divorce. I’ve written here in the past about the need to have a deeper level of relationship than just the sexual attraction in any marriage and that level is only reached through communications, through sharing and understanding each other’s beliefs, dreams, hopes, and interests openly. It is really a cop-out when one partner says to the other, “Well you should know what I want, I shouldn’t have to tell you.” In fact neither of you will ever just figure things out if you don’t communicate and share with each other – what do you want, what would make you happy, what can I do for you and you for me. It is the lowering of the shields and the baring of the souls to one another through communications that builds the bounds that keep marriages together.

The same rules apply to life in general. If you don’t communicate what you want in life, don’t expect others to be able to figure tit out and give those things to you. At work there may be formal reviews or just informal times with the boss in which you can express your ambitions and ask for his/her help to achieve them. That communications should be a two way learning experience, with you finding out what you need to improve or do and the bossexplaining finding out your ambitions and your willingness to work to achieve them. It also helps you clarify your goals when you have to verbalize them in communications with others.

In any form of communications there is also the task of making sure that you have properly received, interpreted and understand the message or information. Your ability to internalize what has been communicated to you is greatly influenced by your point of view and your background. There is an old saw “seeing is believing”. I wrote recently about people “seeing” things differently in my post “I can see clearly now”. Do you think that blacks and whites see two different realities when they see the dash cam videos that are almost a nightly occurrence on the news.

It is up to each of us to take the time and put in the work needed to communicate to others and to understand what they are trying to communicate to us. For some of us that may mean just shutting up, so that that other party can get a word in edgewise. You are not communicating is you are doing all of the talking. For others the challenge may be to find the right words to express their feelings and desires, without appearing to be selfish or clingingself-centered. It is OK to tell that overly attentive partner that you need some “alone time.” We all need some time to ourselves, times of silence and contemplation. Often it is the need of the partner for constant assurances and attention that drive us apart. Their “clinging” is a sign of insecurity that needs to be discussed in an open honest communication with them.

I’ve posted a couple of times here on the topic of the benefits of openly discussing your issues with someone that you can trust, one such post was titled “Can we talk”, which discussed the role of a friend in providing a listening post for you to communicate your issues and your role to return the favor for them. All of these posts about communications end up with the same advice- you have to work at it to make it happen and to benefit from it. Working at it means that you have to be cognizant of your own needs and receptive to understanding the needs of others. Don’t go to your grave with the epitaph “I wish you had told me…” engraved on your tombstone.

Communicate; ask and tell; work at it. Don’t let your life become a failure to communicate.


What’s left, after the new wears off?

January 8, 2014

“After a while, the newness wears off.”  (Kellie Lee) –  from my favorite daily blog, Jack’s Winning Words.

That statement is certainly true of most things in life. Sometimes we strive for things andyoung couple when we get them they are new and shiny and satisfying…for a while. Then the newness wears off and we lose interest. What wanes is the passion and commitment that was there initially. The same can sometimes happen in relationships and marriages. It takes commitment to keep those relationships from becoming stale.

An example that may make sense in this car-crazy area is to look at the car collector/enthusiast and the difference in how he treats the object of that particular passion. Collectible cars in the hands of these people never grow old or boring; the newness never wears off, because they work at it all the time. They spend hours cleaning and polishing and maintaining their treasured cars. Even cars that might have once been considered cast-offs or ugly can be beautiful in the eyes of the right car fanatic. The difference is in the commitment that they make to the car. They find many things beyond the newness of it to satisfy them and justify their commitment of time and effort.

The same is true of relationships and marriages. Many relationships and not a few marriages likely stared in the heat of passion and sexual attraction. For some that was literally all that there ever was to the relationship; and when that cools, there is nothing left upon which to base the relationship. For many couples the changes that occur in those passion-based relationships when the first child is born are enough to tear apart the bonds. It’s sad, but all too many times divorces follow on the heels of the births of children.  There is just not enough beyond the physical attraction to hold things together. Once a wife becomes a mother, too; many husbands cannot deal with no longer being the center of her universe. The newness has worn off and there may not be enough other than that to sustain the relationship.

Obviously, the car collector analogy breaks down over the concept of ownership vs. relationship. A relationship is not based upon one partner owning the other. The concept of ownership in relationships translates into possessiveness, which is usually a road to failure. Relationships are equal partnerships, with both parties expected to make commitments and put in work on the maintenance of the relationship.

That relationship commitment starts with an effort to recognize the needs of the other partner and a desire to work to meet those needs. There are tons of little things that are there every day to be recognized and done – opportunities to keep the newness in the relationship by surprising your partner with a little gesture, a loving kiss, doing a little chore without being asked or just knowing when to back off and give them the space that they may need.

fiftith annivarsaryOne thing that is fairly consistent in successful, long-term relationships is constant feedback of love and commitment between the partners. It is important to both sides to continue to hear “I love you” from the other side. Implicit in that statement is the commitment that “I’ll be here for you when you need me.” No one wants to be alone, especially in times of need.

So, what is left in a successful relationship or marriage, after the newness wears off? I would say love and commitment. After all, if one keeps polishing and maintaining the relationship it will never grow old.

(Editors disclosure – celebrating 48 years of marriage in 2014 and still discovering new things about her to love.)