Hints to co-owning your relationship
“Will you be mine?” – a daft, but popular phrase, especially among card companies as Valentine’s Day approaches and Cupid re-stocks his quiver.
Yes, you read that correctly – daft. That’s what I think about the phrase and some of the Valentine’s Day rituals.
What about you? As a child, were you required to participate in Valentine’s card swapping with your classmates? Absurd, wasn’t it?
As a 10-year old cool dude, I remember being very careful about which Valentine’s cards I gave. Any card that said, “Will you be mine?” did not go to a girl – Blach! Even if I kind-a, sort-a liked a girl, a card like that would be rather exposing.
I’m guessing the purpose of the activity was to facilitate inclusion and friendship. And maybe, just maybe it was appropriate at a time of the year when Cupid was believed to shoot his invisible love arrows. But “Will you be mine?” Give me a break.
Thank goodness I grew-up, and so did you. Carol would say, “No, Dan, you grew older and developed opinions.” C’est la vie!
As an adult in a relationship with a life-partner, the question, “Will you be mine?” has other meanings. Let’s have a deeper look at this phrase and find techniques to be Cupid-ish NOW. Because now is the best time to share love.
“Will you…?” is a question. Questions are a powerful way to build trust in a relationship. They invite conversation, help, and support; rather than demand expectations. I encourage you to get into the habit of asking good questions. Keep in mind that the quality of the answer is largely dependent on the quality of your question.
“…be mine” implies ownership. Most of us learned the word “mine” as very young children and it often caused challenges – and possibly still does as grown-ups. We tend to identify ourselves with the things we own. At an unconscious level, many people’s existence and value in this world is determined by what they own. Without those things, who are they? For example, if I don’t have my car, my house, my money, and my profession, who am I? This can be a scary thought for some people.
During our couples coaching sessions and at our relationship seminars, this ownership or self-identification to material “stuff” is often a major barrier between people, especially if the individuals are coming from previous failed-relationships. There is a lack of commitment to the relationship because there is a risk – a fear of losing ownership of possessions, which at a deeper belief level may mean the loss of ownership of self. Some people will exhibit vicious protectionist or attack behaviour because of this fear of loss. One guy said, “Burnt once; second time shy.”
Think about the lunacy of this by imagining a young child sitting on the floor, bottom lip out-stretched, clutching desperately to a pile of toys as another child approaches. “Mine!” The message is, “Keep your finger-pokin’-mittens off, buddy, or you’ll be sorry.”
Now imagine a grown adult, clinging to their worldly possessions in the same way. From this perspective it seems funny, unless you’re the one doing the clinging.
Even worse than ownership of material possessions, is the perceived ownership of another person, and in this case, your life-partner.
When you began the relationship, you both chose to co-own the relationship – not to own your partner.
I am a co-owner of the relationship between Carol and me. I cannot own or control Carol’s thoughts, word, actions, or feelings – just as she can’t own or control mine. Most of our biggest challenges and fights were because we were trying to own and control each other. I insisted my way was the right way and I was willing to fight for it. But when we finally started to consult each other (honest discussion), as co-owners of the relationship, and make decisions based upon what was best for the relationship, we began to create amazing results – less stress and more fun.
Example: I remember fighting about something as stupid as going to a Valentine’s party. Carol insisted we go and I insisted we don’t. We argued about the choice to go or no-go, rather than honestly discussing our reasons and investigating the many options that would be best for the relationship.
What about you?
– Do you ever treat your partner as if you own him/her (either verbally or in your thoughts)?
– Have you expected or demanded that your partner think, speak, act, and/or feel according to your “right” way?
– How did you like the results you got in the co-owned relationship?
Hints for Cupid-ish behaviour.
I mess-up sometimes and maybe you do too. Wouldn’t you like the results of your daily choices to be the same as Cupid with his arrows of love? If so, can you apply these hints?
– Is it possible, every day, to totally commit to your relationship with yourself – to truly own and appreciate your personal power (your talents, abilities, knowledge, behavioural style, appearance, etc)?
– Can you commit to the co-ownership of the relationship with your life-partner by giving all that you are (what’s inside you) to the relationship, without regard for material possessions?
– Can you consciously and honestly discuss situations and options, and then jointly make choices that are best for the co-owned relationship with your life-partner?
You may be thinking, “Yes, that sounds great. But how?”
Here’s Cupid’s challenge for you, should you choose to accept it:
Every morning, take a deep cleansing breath, smile genuinely, look deeply into your life-partner’s eyes and say, “Sweetheart, today I commit to being the best I can be, and to think, speak, and act in a way that enhances our relationship. Will you share my love?”
If you receive less than a warm hug, I’ll be bamboozled. You may receive way-more. If you make this a daily habit, you may need to set your wake-up alarm earlier, to leave time for a pre-breakfast, stimulating workout.
The choice is yours. And the results are determined by your choice – every single time.