There are many things in our relationships that people simply bear with against their own wills and certainly against their desires. We “endure” those things we’re in cahoots with simply because we think we have to. This should, however, never be the case.
In a perfect world none of us would have any relationship problems whatsoever. We’d constantly revisit those romantic times that set the scene of the early relationship.
You remember, don’t you? These were the times when we always felt positive about the relationship and our partner. And when we weren’t absolutely positive, we’d be humorous, blowing off any suggestion of a rift. We had rose-coloured glasses for sure!
But, relationships don’t last in that space. The realities of life bite at some point. Life returns to normal. Our partners didn’t so much change—life just became “normal” again. It’s when this occurs that we start to get bugged by the little idiosyncrasies (or worse) of our partners.
And when they start “living” again, i.e. with us not always the absolute centre of their universe, we can begin to feel a bit miffed; like we’ve been duped.
A relationship can only ever truly mature if it’s got two people willing to be honest with themselves and each other—in this way we see four relationship dynamics that must be in tune and in line for it to all work out favourably. These are each partner with themselves first and foremost, and secondarily, it’s then each partner with their partner. The odds are already against us, particularly when the playing cards of pretence, a.k.a. “romance,” are all left face up on the table.
Think mathematically about those four relationship dynamics. Add to these four the myriad of positive and negative responses possible. Most of the time people will be tempted to protect themselves and will want to live with the lie permanently rather than face the temporary discomfort of their pride being conformed to the truth.
Not many want to be wrong. But, for the relationship to succeed and grow both partners need to be wrong occasionally. Both partners need to be able to say an authoritative “no” to each other, in accepting responsibility for themselves and their role in the relationship.
If only both partners to the relationship can “hunt” in this way together they’ll be threatened less and they’ll also have a freer, cleaner life for the honesty they invest in. It was Mark Twain who said that lying is hard work—it requires a much better memory!
Whatever is going unsaid in any relationship can only be harmful to the necessary trust and respect all relationships need. We must trust our partners with what is really on our hearts.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.