Healthy Relationships - Are Your Assumptions Ruining Your Relationships?
This morning began with the conversation between me and my stepson about making the bed in the morning, and whether it's important. This topic took me back to when I was dating my husband and the relationship had begun to get serious. Having been raised in a conservative family where bed- making was a non-negotiable, as an adult I'd enjoyed my freedom to eschew making the bed. I did take the time to make the bed when company was coming over, or if I had extra time in the morning. However, as a perpetual “night owl” with typically a very early start time in the mornings, I reserved bed-making for these special occasions.
As things were growing serious in our relationship, I wondered if our being on opposite sides of the bed-making debate was reflective of a larger issue. The question loomed in my mind: was the habit of making the bed or not indicative of an inherent incompatibility?
My husband and I have numerous shared interests, and also many shared values such as hard work, the importance of family, and a sense of faith. Our personalities had some very definite differences, in fact some traits where we are complete opposites. There were also a number of things where we were very similar, such as enjoying low-key weekends and liking to work on house projects.
As we had begun to talk about getting engaged, however, the importance of the to- make-the-bed-or-not question kept surfacing. I wondered if the importance of the ritual suggested a rigidity about my husband that would make him hard to live with. I wondered if, conversely, he'd consider me a slob if I didn't change my ways and dared to leave the house with the bed unmade.
As our relationship progressed, ultimately it was clear to me the positives in our relationship completely overshadowed any negatives, and in 2015 we were engaged. Eight years later, and after 10 years together, I now laugh at myself when I think of how I worried about that.
With perspective, it's clear to me I had many “rules” and assumptions when I was dating, even though I was unaware of this at the time. I likely let many good relationships pass by me because of these rules. Again, in hindsight, it suggests to me that for those playing the “dating game” and looking for a lasting partnership, it behooves singles to periodically check your assumptions. We all bring aspects of our past experiences into our present interactions. We all see others through our own filter, and as we evaluate to understand others, we often judge as well. Thus, how we view another may be more about ourselves and our expectations, fears, and personality. This can cause us to miss seeing the person in front of us. Or perhaps a date reminds us of someone from our past because of their appearance or a mannerism, so when that memory is triggered, again we are not seeing the person across the table from us.
So, examining our assumptions may be a useful exercise when it comes to the dating game, as can doing our best to stay in the present moment, with conscious awareness. This last part may be easier said than done, especially in the initial stages of dating, when the intoxicating cocktail of chemistry, pheromones, and “butterflies” can make the most grounded of us feel like 8th graders. Just as meditation is a practice, however, this can be learned.
As for my husband and me, I now usually make the bed - not so much because it's important to me but because it makes him happy. It's a value of mine to be a good partner, and for all he does for me, it's the least that I can do for him. Speaking of that, my husband will be home soon, so I think I'll go make the bed!