An Underdeveloped Idea of Marriage – Hollywood romancePosted: December 30, 2012
My client went away for three days to visit family. On her flight back, she fantasied about her boyfriend surprising her by showing up at the airport with flowers and a limo. Instead she had to take a cab home all by her lonesome only to find he wasn’t even home. No phone call, no texts, no “welcome home honey”. She was angry and upset. She felt unloved. My client knows very well her fantasy is completely unrealistic for who her boyfriend is. Yet, that didn’t stop her from developing an expectation. And then get upset when, the completely fantastical expectation, was not met.
If you are a woman, by now you are convinced my client’s boyfriend is a jerk. What if I told you, he wasn’t home because he was relaxing with his buddy after a long day of putting together her Christmas present? A chicken coop. Yes, yes, you don’t really see this in Hollywood romantic movies. Nor do you fantasize about this as a little girl, being a princess, your prince charming getting you a chicken coop for Christmas AND not be home to welcome you after a long three days of being away (said with slight sarcasm). But this is reality. And this is love.
We all have ideals of what a relationship should look like. Most of the time they are force fed to us by our parents, family, girlfriends, other couples, Hollywood, fairy tales. Many times these ideals turn into life positions or life scripts. Many times these ideals inform the games we play in relationships. Don’t get me wrong. Some relationships resemble a Hollywood fairy tale. But not all do. And to expect that every relationship should fit the way society and popular culture defines love is simply a quick way to set you and your partner up to fail. If you are thinking that the Hollywood fairy tale is really, truly what you want for your marriage that’s great. And if you do have a fairy tale marriage I’m happy for you. But if you don’t, maybe you need to adjust your expectations and observe the choices YOU make when it comes to partners.
Love has many different shapes and forms. It changes and it remains the same. It’s messy and exhilarating and heartbreaking all at the same time. Love lives in different places, wears different faces and speaks different languages. If you don’t believe me, find out for yourself. We tend to express love in the love language we naturally speak. Which makes no sense. It would be like me insisting on speaking Albanian here in the US, to English speakers, and expecting to be understood. Most likely, what I would encounter is confusion, miscommunication, disconnection, even loneliness which leads to anger, resentments and hopelessness (if for some bizarre reason I would expect people to understand Albanian if they truly loved me).
What I’m saying is, for a relationship to work you have to speak your partner’s love language, not yours. And they have to do the same for you. So find out what yours is (Touch, Words of Affirmation, Gifts, Acts of Service, Spending Time Together).
For instance, my love language is touch. I don’t care for gifts or acts of service. Although they are nice, I equate touch with love. Period. If I love you I will try to touch you. All the time. OK. That sounded weird, but you know what I mean. For some people, that’s uncomfortable. In the same way gifts are for me. If I want to show love to someone who’s not big on touch but equates love with acts of services I would cook them breakfast or something. It’s easy to figure out what your partner’s love language is. Because we are self-centered beings, we will try to show love in our own language. Unless instructed otherwise. Once you speak the language you will understand when love is being communicated. And you will adjust your expectations accordingly, which will eliminate all confusion, disconnect, anger, resentment, hurt. All that remains is love.
And on that note, cheers to love in 2013!
Happy New Year!