Do you treat your partner like they are a god? Most people think they are very far from this but it’s amazing how we give our partners supernatural powers and god like talents. Here’s an example from my own life – the other day, after dealing with stresses and strains of normal life I felt like having a bit of pampering from my partner. I needed a hug and a bit of looking after. Did it happen? Nope! Did I feel angry about her failing to take care of me? You bet! The problem here was that I had made my partner into a god. I had credited her with the god like power of omniscience – the ability to know exactly what I needed without me having to tell her. Alas, her human form was unable to match up to my high expectations and the tension in the room began to build as she continued not to be able to read my mind!
There are lots of ways in which we believe our partners are like gods and they all lead to tension and conflict in our relationships. In this article I am going to list the most common ways in which we do this and suggest an alternative way of treating your partner.
Omniscience, mentioned above is a very common belief in relationships and the solution is simple; ask for what you want! If Ihad asked my partner for a hug and a cup of tea the chances of me getting them would have increased dramatically.
Omnipotence – this is the god like power of your partner being able to meet all of your needs and “make” you feel happy. Er – it’s not going to happen. You are in charge of your feelings and no one can “make” you feel anything. It’s likely that your partner may be resistant to meeting some of your needs too. Your needs are probably your partners areas for growth so giving you these things will be a challenge. One partners need for constant companionship is beautifully balanced by their partners need for space and solitude (I see this time after time when delivering couples counselling in Manchester). The result is often conflict. In a conscious relationship these needs can be discussed and both partners can learn to accommodate their partners needs.
Omnipresence– this is the belief that your partner is only on this planet to be with you and has no life beyond you. Again, prepare to be disappointed (as we often are). It’s healthy to develop separate hobbiess and interests and different groups of friends within a relationship. Like all things, the key is balance. Doing things together is also important, but as the song says “If you love somebody – set them free”.
Obligation and Expectation. This is the belief that your partner said they would look after you so they owe it to you and jolly well better deliver! Unfortunately, however much your partner loves you, there are going to be times when they can’t or don’t want to look after you or meet your needs. Relax – you’re an adult, you can look after yourself now. Sit with the pain you may feel in not having all of your needs met and ask for what you want.
Fusion. This is the belief that you and your partner want the same things. We often beef this up a bit and believe that we know what’s best for both ourselves and our partner. The antidote – listen with gentle ears to your partner and put yourself in their place. Assume nothing, discuss much. Imago Relationship Dialogue is a great way to do this.
So, there we have it – those god like powers we give to our partners and sometimes take for ourselves can only really lead to conflict, so come down from that ethereal plane and realise that we are all human and are likely to get it wrong, mess it up and we can still do this and stay in love.
What do you think? Do you have a Zeus at home? Is your partner more of a Buddha? Please comment on your god like ideas below!