This is Harder Than it Looks! Real Relationships Part 1
Hollywood is great at portraying romantic vignettes in which boy and girl meet and fall madly in love. But are real life relationships anything like the movies? Perhaps some are—but I’m guessing that most are not. I never actually believed that a love story like in the movies would happen to me—but really—I did. Because all girls do. And I got a love story alright—but I’ve never seen a storyline play out on the Big Screen like my love tale!
I’m still learning so please know I’m not claiming to be an all-knowledgeable expert in everything that has to do with men or women or relationships. And people, therefore relationships, are quite unique. So read this article like you buy a pair of shoes—try it on and if it fits—buy it!
I have learned many things about the mystery of marriage over the past several years. And I like to share—so I’m going to share some of what I’ve learned with you! My plan is to create a series of articles on the topic, each focusing on a specific revelation, tip, or useful anecdote I’ve learned thus far on my marriage journey. I will start with one article and pending readership responses, I will see if there is enough interest for me to write more. I hope you find something you can relate to, are encouraged by, or that provides some practical advice you can “take home.”
Lesson #1: Ouch! This is harder than it looks! (And hey, it’s okay!)
That’s right. Even though it can be great and have amazing moments, there are definitely times when it doesn’t feel so good. My husband and I had this phrase written on our wedding favors: “We are two sandpaper statues, dancing through life together, making each other smooth.”
That about sums it up! A relationship is like a dance—and the people in relationship—like sandpaper statues. We all have some rough spots and areas where we are rather rigid. Or, perhaps we are the type that steps on others’ toes. Then you have the couple in which both are trying to lead—(in two different directions!) Some people have stopped listening to the music and have given up trying to figure out the dance.
If two people are going to make it as a couple, they need to tune in to the music and learn the rhythm of their dance. Dancing, first, requires two people willing to dance. Once that is established, the dancers must be willing to be flexible (if you don’t bend you’ll break!), and to be ready for movement and fluidity. Both partners must be willing to learn. Even if they think they know the dance, each couple creates a unique twist on how to move through it. The way you danced with Bernie is not the same way you will dance with Marco.
Dancing requires closeness—intimacy. Feels so good until—Ouch! Guess what happens when two sandpaper statues start rubbing up against each other? Friction! Sparks! Pain! So—if you notice the friction in your dance, don’t distress. If the dance is learned with grace and if you forgive each other for all the toe-stepping and if you learn to take turns leading, these rubbing points actually become the areas in which you will later have smooth spots.
“If he would just be smooth, I’d be smooth too.” I hear somebody saying it right now. The job of your spouse is not to show up all smooth and polished because guess what—you didn’t show up that way either! Your job—and your spouse’s job—is to dance through the beauty and the pain and to partner with the process of being refined.
You are not responsible for your partner’s part of the dance—but you are responsible for your part. You can’t do your spouse’s part and your spouse can’t do yours. Imagine one person trying to fulfill the roles of both dancing partners for a two-person dance! You can’t be in two places at once and you can’t do what belongs to another—nor can you make the other person do their part. Learn your portion of the dance. Acknowledge your own rough spots. Remember the toes you’ve stepped on and the bruises you’ve caused. Then, forgive yourself. Forgive your partner. And dance on…
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