|Can Your Relationship Be A Fairy Tale? [Relationshp]|
|This year is a significant one for our family. My husband and I are a few months away from celebrating our 18th wedding anniversary. And this month, my parents will be celebrating their 50th.|
After all these years, there are a lot of stories we could, and do, tell about our lives. Which stories we choose to hold on to, though, can determine what the future will look like. There are the stories we tell in public, the ones we tell our kids, the ones we tell our best friends, and let’s not forget the ones we tell ourselves as we are waiting for our partner to get out of the house or listening to our significant other snore in bed.
If you are in a relationship right now, just stop and think about the stories you tell.
What is the picture you paint about your relationship?
Do your stories bring you closer or do they serve to keep you locked up in your self-righteous tower?
What character do you play? Are you the damsel in distress? The innocent victim? The long-suffering martyr?
What was Your Original Myth?
When I work with couples facing a challenge that is pushing them apart, I start by asking them to tell me their original story- the story of how they came together. At first there is a brief silence, or a quick knowing exchange. As they each begin to retell their original myth (often weaving their stories together) there is a palpable softening of the emotional field. You hear it in their tone of voice; you see it in their body language. The partners might find a metaphor that captures who they were when their relationship was still tenderly being nurtured.
(When my husband and I were being coached he talked about himself as my Prince Charming. When I recall that image I am immediately taken back to the exhilaration I felt, knowing that this handsome, talented guy saw my potential and believed he wanted to be there as I blossomed into whatever I was to become. It certainly helps to smooth over those moments when I am feeling all too Cinderella-esque as I pick up stray socks and try to straighten yet another pile that has sprouted on the floor of our bedroom!)
Sometimes, for couples who may not be destined to celebrate a 50th anniversary, the original myth already contains the elements of their ultimate undoing.
The Way We Were
On my parents’ 40th anniversary, my sister and I created a memory book. We invited a large list of friends and family to send us pictures, stories, old letters and early recollections of time with our parents. We painstakingly created an album that my parents still love to look through. I can see their faces as they slowly turned the pages in awe. They couldn’t wait to get back to their own home and relish in the unfolding of long buried memories and faces long gone. With that gift we gave them back their shared story. It reminded them of who they were at their best, what they valued and the ways in which they had made an impact on other people’s lives.
My husband and I have not yet made plans for our own big event. However, we may just watch our wedding video and taking time to remember that the slipper fits!