Life in the Same Key

pianoEncountering and listening to several young people interacting today caused me to remember a an oral presentation I gave a number of years ago regarding inter-personal relationships. In trying to describe how people grow apart as well as continue to grow together, I used the analogy of comparing relationships to corresponding musical keys. Sounds a bit abstract, but if you think about it long enough, it does make sense.

Many times relationships begin with the external looks and primitive urges. Those relationships normally don’t last too long due to one or both becoming bored as well as annoyed being in each other’s company. The sex factor as well all the external trappings are pushed aside as one moves on to the next opportunity. Unfortunately, our society today has loosened the once restrictive mores to allow for accidents to more easily happen. I speak of unplanned pregnancies. Many times this creates the “duty” of either getting married or living together. Once being under the same roof, the clock of survival begins to tick.

We find in time that either the woman begins to change towards the man’s views or the man towards the woman’s views, or lastly, there is an on-going battle of who’s in control. The battle goes on sometimes for months and years until one decides enough is enough and exit at the first hard turn.

Those who are still together with one changing or evolving to mirror the other’s wants and needs, find themselves a bit lost with whom they really are since they’ve buried their real thoughts and feelings so deeply in their sub-conscious that they’ve nearly convinced themselves that they’re happy and life is good. These relationships last until there is a great jolt from an intervening circumstance that re-awakens the needs and wants of the one in denial. Often times it’s job loss, infidelity, critical illness, or possibly a death in the family. When a separation finally takes place it is usually very ugly and filled with deep seated hatreds that last lifetimes.

The last and most admired type of relationship I’ve encountered over the years is the relationship of keys. I don’t mean door keys, but rather keys of a piano. People who are fortunate to find people of similar keys tend to make some of the most beautiful of life’s music together. Once they’ve come to the understanding that their own keys are equal as well as special, they create the root cords in their melodies of life’s journey.

Each year that passes, they continue to grow within themselves as well as each other. They can be fiercely independent but always return to be balanced by the contrasting keys belonging to partner or spouse. Relationships as these are less work and more joy due to the freedom of movement. This balance of growth and harmony blossoms and later becomes symphonic. I’ve often thought a perfect relationship exists when two have become so close that they understand and “know” the other’s thoughts and feelings without words ever being spoken.

Perhaps they have entered the loving life of performing duets in perfect balance because their creations are in the same key. I’ve always liked the strength of E flat Major.