Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell recently starred in the movie version of the 1960s TV sitcom "Bewitched." For those of you who missed the movie or are too young to remember the TV show, here is the basic plot:
Samantha Stevens is the wife who looks like a regular woman, but is in fact a nice witch, able to wiggle her nose and create any object, situation, or person she desires. Darren Stevens is a somewhat nerdy architect who tries to get his wife to not use her abilities and act normal. Mayhem and laughter ensue.
As a little kid back in the late 60s, I wondered what in the world could be wrong with Darren.
Here was a guy who could have anything he ever wanted because of the gifts of his wife, and all he could do was try to get her not to use her gifts and "be normal."
Even as a little kid, I knew this guy had to be some special kind of idiot.
The entire situation reminds me of one of my favorite quotes about marriage:
"When you marry, you don't marry one person, you marry three. The person you think they are, the person they really are, and the person they will become as a result of marrying you."
One of the purposes of marriage is to help the other person grow into the best possible version of themselves.
Yet I believe we all too often do just the opposite and act just like Darren Stevens.
How to be a Darren
In a word, lousy. This is a great way to create distance in a relationship. You will also prevent your relationship from reaching it's full potential. If you have kids, it's a horrible model for how to treat someone you supposedly love and an equally horrible model for how to do relationships and marriage.
You have been a very poor influence on your partner. At best, you have a very fertile breeding ground for resentment. At worst, you have a breakup looking for a place to happen.
How to do much better than Darren
Become a student of your partner. Make it your assignment to know this one person very well.
Then use your database. Most couples who have been together for any length of time actually know each other quite well if they stop to thing about it. Most couples just don't use what they know in a positive way.
Celebrate the gifts of your partner. Encourage them in their gifts. Support them in discovering and exploring their gifts and skills.
Take advantage of the information available today about how to do relationships. Visit http://www.secretsofgreatrelationships.com for tips.
Brag about your partner to others.
Tell your partner, often and in detail, what you admire in them.
A great place to come home to. A great model for your children, and to others, about how to do marriage and relationships. Richard Bach, in his book "The Bridge Across Forever" talks of a kind of relationship in which you are better off and stronger together than you would be alone. When you support and lift up your partner, you are creating a relationship where you are stronger together than either of you would be alone.
In which situation would you prefer to live?