Cupid Painted Blind
Will Shakespeare knew a thing or two about emotional intelligence and perhaps a bit about Cognitive Behavior Therapy. “Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind”. Pretty powerful stuff going on in the 16th century. I believe he was saying that what we think determines how we feel.
If I were embarking on a journey with my life-partner, I would rather hear Will’s poetry. But sometimes this journey is a far stretch from being poetic. At times it can be utterly confusing. Trying to figure out the best ways to make a relationship become a true partnership takes skills beyond what we may learn growing up. We have our parents or caregivers as role models for what marriage might look like. We have the environment of those relationships to guide us. This could be good news… or not.
We come to the relationship table with pre-conceived notions, expectations, of what we want our partnership to look like.
While it is important to have discussions about what either of you may “expect” from each other, consider this: an expectation is a disappointment waiting to happen. Expectations are based on fear. Something like, “this is what I expect to happen, and if it doesn’t…”. So let’s begin by reframing that notion. We do not want to start our relationship exploration on a note of fear. Let’s focus on goals. If you shift the thinking toward goals, the feeling becomes more “hopeful”. That is where we want to start – hopeful.
Short and Long term goals are a hopeful place to begin your discussions. Again, proceed with caution here as long-term goals may have the tendency toward “projection”. It is important to build the notion of adaptability into these discussions. What may seem like a reasonable long-term goal today, could change tomorrow. We apply this to short term goals as well. Adaptability is the operable goal.
So begin your journey on this note: Create hopeful goals with adaptability. Remember that this is the beginning of an incredible journey of exploration. An adventure into learning what makes a relationship become balanced and healthy. It is a journey of self-discovery, honest sharing, acceptance, and validation. Your journey will help create a foundation of mutual respect and loving kindness. This is a thinking process, and it absolutely affects how you may feel about your future together.
“…and therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.” And that’s okay.
William Shakespeare, Mid-Summer Night’s Dream, 1595