Your Relationship is your Greatest Asset
“I’ve found it!”
We were on an expedition. Someone had organised our own little “amazing race.” We were climbing a mountain (actually, more of a “hill”) finding clues along the way. One of the challenges was to find the Faraway Tree (taken from a children’s book by Enid Blyton). As the story goes… if you climb the Faraway Tree, you find a new world at the top. The world changes each time you go up. One of the worlds is the land of “Do-as-you-please.” It was always my favourite land because I’m basically a selfish person.
If you could read my thoughts at any point in the day you would probably hear one of the following:
“What do I want to do now?”
“What would make me feel good right now?”
“What can I do now to get what I want from this person or this situation?”
Me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me.
I was thinking “what do I want right now” as we continued our trek. The mountain was a steep, rugged incline that mercilessly zig-zagged up into the sky. What I wanted right then was to sit down. But now was not the time. I also wanted to win.
I’m not great at team sports so I wasn’t working very well with my partner who happened to be my husband. I was ordering him around telling him what to do and getting annoyed at him. I wanted to win. Did I also mention that I am competitive and impatient? This was bringing out the worst in me.
“I just want to win” I cried, as if that justified my callous remarks.
Then he gave me a look, a look that sent me back to the beginning of our relationship and the many, many times when I had pursued my own wants, needs and desires above our relationship.
All I wanted then was someone who was good for me, who loved me the way I wanted and fulfilled all my needs.
“So what’s wrong with that?” I hear you say.
Nothing. But…that is only half of what real, fulfilling, deeper than mountains love is made of.
Yes, your partner’s job is to love you the way you need and want to be loved. But your job is to love your partner the way they need and want to be loved.
Do you know what that is?
Committing to love means loving your partner the way they need to be loved. Not just the way you want to love them. It doesn’t just mean saying I love you, it means showing it.
Shakespeare got it right: they do not love that do not show their love.
You show love by doing things together, listening, understanding, helping make each other’s dreams come true, encouraging, doing big and little favours, supporting, spending time, giving gifts, touching, kissing, engaging in sexual expression, sharing joy, sharing sorrow, and surprising each other, among many other ways.
Exhausting, isn’t it?
As recollections of the years of our years together washed over me, a new question formed in my mind.
“What does he want right now?"
I shut down the rattles and shrieks of the competitive and selfish urges in my mind and went up and gave him a long hug underneath the Faraway Tree.
As I held the embrace I remembered the slippery slip, a huge slide spiralling down the middle of the Faraway trunk to get to the bottom from the land of “get what you want.” I held on to Christian a little tighter knowing that when you love selflessly you win the amazing race.
Welcome to our blog. Each blog contains an insight into your relationship and how to mend or grow it drawn from Christian's 18 years of clinical experience working in psychiatry. They are told as stories. The central ideas are in bold. All the pictures are originals. We post every fortnight and would love to hear your comments. Looking forward to travelling with you in this amazing journey called life.