We go to the trouble of finding a mate who is enough different from us to create a complimentary relationship, and then we work hard to sculpt them to our image – this phenomenon is called “The Pygmalion Project”.
We each have a particular aim in life, which, of course, is so important to us that we feel all other persons, especially our mates, should share our desires. The Artisan’s basic search in life is for exciting sensations; the Guardian’s is social and economic security; the Idealist’s is personal identity; the Rational’s is useful knowledge. (If you don’t know which of the these categories you fall in, visit the post from April 3,2010, find and remember your letters and category.)
What we fail to realize, however, is that our mates cannot permanently change who they are. That would be a violation of their character. They may try for the sake of love and relationship, but the harder they try, the greater the damage. As we seek to mold and reform our mates, the message they receive is that they are not good enough for us. They see that we want them to be something they aren’t.
Yep, we fall in love with someone – they’re perfect for us; we love them just the way they are – then we want them to change. If they do change, they are no longer the person we fell in love with, and we fall out of love! It’s a sad story that happens too often.
But what if we could recognize our natural impulse to reform our mates, pause each time the impulse strikes and hold our tongue – some interesting phenomena might begin to appear. If we could suspend our efforts to remake our mates in our own image – to become more adventurous, or more reliable, or more soul-searching, or more rational – then we just might remember what attracted us to them in the first place. And maybe our love would not only return but possibly thrive and grow.