Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Do you measure up to love?

Want a little reality check on how you perform your relationship? Try this humbling little exercise.

Take this wedding-ceremony passage and replace the word "Love" with your name. (It's 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.) And though the words often are spoken during wedding ceremonies, the exercise can shed light on any relationship.

Let me show you:

[Alicia] is patient. [Alicia] is kind. [Alicia] does not envy, [Alicia] does not boast, [Alicia] is not proud. [Alicia] is not rude, [Alicia] is not self-seeking, [Alicia] is not easily angered, [Alicia] keeps no record of wrongs. [Alicia] does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. [Alicia] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

When I first did this exercise (thanks to writer Jill Rigby for suggesting it), I became more and more disheartened every time I inserted my name for "Love."

Patient? Sometimes. Ditto for kind. Easily angered? Far more often than I'd like to admit, and the same goes for "shows no record of wrongs." But I sure try hard on protecting, trusting, hoping and persevering -- to the point of annoyance to some of my friends and family.

After doing the exercise, do I feel like an adequate partner in any relationship? Not so much.

But I do have a good starting place for improvement.


LOML said...

That’s funny ya’ll posted this. My ex, with whom I am still the best of friends with, were once enduring pre-marital counseling where this exercise was employed. Actually she brought the results of it to my attention just last night. While with each other the results were pleasing, in genuine fashion, when asked to employ the same litmus on persons of significance prior to the two of us meeting the results were less much so.

One of our many commonalties revolved around having been in prior relationships with members of the narcissist set, you know those folks who can look you in the eye… lying and scheming, making promises and declarations that only they knew they would not keep, and only they knew they did not mean. And at the same time being unable to find fault with themselves for all the lying and scheming, as though they had some sort of special pass in the world to trespass upon others, but the world ended when you pointed it out their “faults”, or denied access because of them. Neither one of us was equipped to deal with such folks in an effective manner, either by choice or by fault.

The lesson learned and point of this reply is that this particular exercise is a fantastic way to not only understand how others may “see” you, but if you can be brutally honest how you see, and deal with others, that you may be in denial about. My ex and I, found a decade long embrace that was at once solidified by a previously well discussed mindset in relating to others, both romantically and paternally, was distanced by it at the same time.

The relationship was not destroyed by this, but actually had run its due course, and the parting of ways was not so much a sad event, as it was simply just time to let it go. That which had bound us, as disclosed by this little test, is that which also made it okay for us to be able to part ways as friends, and not some memory prone to fading.

Mary said...

Yeah, it's disheartening. That's why I tell myself that Corinthians is just someone's opinion. Sometimes I like being a bitch and that's OK.