Billy Joel released a new song last week, his first new song in over 30 years, “Turn the Lights Back On.”  It sounds like a classic Billy Joel ballad with a good story, a good lesson and the piano solo interlude midway through the song.  However, what IS different is the lesson.  It’s not a lesson a “Big Shot” who had to have to last word, last night where he tells the story of a little too much to drink on a night out and making a bit of a scene.  Or the sarcastic, “you’re always a woman to me.”Or the party guy, with the words, “Friday night I crashed you party, Saturday I said I was sorry Sunday came you ran me out again, you may be right, I may be crazy.”  Artists wear their hearts on their sleeves and much of their work can be autobiographical so we get a glimpse into their life and a bit unfortunate to them, we may know too much of their ups and downs, hurts and heartbreaks, so they live their lives in view for all to see.  It can make one wonder if the life they lead is a work hazard and one of the cons of being a star in the music industry.  

     When you listen to the lyrics of the new song what’s different is the tone of the message.  It’s not hopeless or melancholy.  There is an observation of the taking for granted that a loved one is there and the other qualities that can set in on a long time relationship.  Although the relationship maybe be romantic in this song, it could refer to any close relationship that gets old after a while.  

     One of the pros of getting along in life is wisdom and the opportunity to reflect on our lives from the outside.  When we are young, we are so busy building a professional life, raising a family that sometimes we are too busy to take time to reflect on what is working and what isn’t, especially if things are just plugging along status quo.  In watching a recorded interview with Joel and his wife before the Grammys last week, he mentions that and when his wife made the comment that the Piano Man plans the vacations now and his reply was, “I’m glad to plan them because I want to be there and be part of them.  When I was younger, I was too busy touring and doing my thing,” (paraphrasing).  He now knows the importance of spending time as a family. The couple now have two young daughters Della, 8 and Remy 6.  The girls also went to the Grammys to see their Dad perform.  His wife, Alexis Roderick, a former risk manager at Morgan Stanley, appeared glad to be there, but in the background for Billy to get the accolades,  she spoke in a tone of pride and respect for him and his talent.  

     As we get older,  the relations that have staying power stand out and are something to be admired.  Of course, NONE of us knows what goes on in other couples lives, nor is it our business, however, in our observations we can learn from others who seem to have the qualities that contribute to them being able to ‘go the distance.’ Some couples can endure for years and others can’t. I remember when I was about age forty-ish, there seemed to be a handful or so of divorces around us  and then about ten years later again around age fifty, we noticed the same thing.  Sometimes the reason is known when there is an affair and another person involved and sometimes it may be that people just grow apart.  You don’t ever ask.  Sometimes people share and sometimes it’s all lived out for an entire workplace, neighborhood or social group.  Over the years you read or watch the latest experts explain and it comes down to a few factors that can cause a break in a relationship I’ve come to learn and really, you can see how easy it could be to fall in the trap and it could be any couple anywhere, none is immune.  Here’s what I’ve OBSERVED…

      -RESPECT goes a long way and covers so many areas in a relationship. When there is mutual respect in a relationship a couple is less likely to succumb to boredom or have bad feelings that can build up over time. Respect for one another’s time, personhood, needs and dreams is important.  A spouse who doesn’t respect  how hard the main breadwinner works or a spouse who doesn’t respect the partner who does the bulk of the childcare or household tasks is not going to be an equal party to a successful marriage.  Resentment for a spouse who spends too much on frivolous items or big toys can build up over time and shows that they are not a team player. These are just a few ways that show the importance of respect in relationship.

     -Intimacy sometimes is underestimated in a marriage.  To be intimate with a spouse is something that is exclusive to that person.  A partner who doesn’t value the importance of intimacy with their spouse can cause resentment and one to look elsewhere.  Making the time to spend with a spouse and showing that it is valued, means not planning your night out with the guys on a scheduled Date Night or special occasion.  Taking time to put your best foot forward so that each spouse is attractive to the other and taking care of your medical wellbeing so that you increase the odds of being around for as long as possible are just the thing you do.  Not being a worrier about this and that so that you don’t emotionally drain your person when you do have time together either on a special occasion, date night or time away which could spoil that time.  We’ve all seen a husband who is overly worried about finances or a wife who can’t go out on a date night because she is unable to leave the kids with a trusted friend, family member or sitter. That can get old very quickly or the spouse who finds every reason under the sun to go help everyone else and join every club or organization, leaving their spouse sitting at home by themself multiple nights a week is either avoiding intimacy or avoiding addressing their own problems.  This leaves the other partner on their own to fend for themself, which may not be fun if they aren’t a person who likes to spend lots of time by themself or they could look elsewhere, either getting overly involved in their own interest or looking for someone who IS available to them.  

     -FLIRTING or what ever you will call it.  A man or woman who is overly friendly with the opposite sex is a recipe for disaster.  It can start with no ill will intent but can become a problem if it moves to a different level.  It is best just not to venture there.  If you observe it toward you, make clear that you are not a willing party.  With age, it gets easier to recognize and deal with.  To observe it in others, for me, is like nails on a chalk board.  You can just see where it can go and it makes me very uncomfortable to see either a man or a woman behave in such a manner.  Ug!  Deal with it and move on.  Draw the line and if it means the end of a friendship, so be it.  It must not have been a good friendship to begin with if a person feels comfortable moving in on someone’s spouse.  Ug, Ug!!

     These are three issues that cover so many areas.  Back to the song…

     Over a lifetime of ups and downs, hopefully mostly up, does your special person KNOW how you feel about them?  Do they know how much you appreciate them starting the car for them in the morning, or the way they send you a little text to remind you of everyone’s birthday in the family or any other little things they do that you are grateful for?  Or maybe the marriage is good, but you could make it great?  Or consider that trip away, just the two of you that you’ve always wanted to take but you just didn’t want to be gone that long.  There’s still  time…

“Time to turn to the lights back on.”

Wishing you a Great Day and a Happy Valentine’s Day later this week ❤️

Wishing you a Great Day and a Happy Valentine’s Day later this week ❤️