How Human is Your Spouse?

In her book, Controlling People, Patricia Evans uses a fascinating analogy of the simple Teddy Bear to illustrate a set of relationship problems found in some abusive relationships. She points out that when we were young and played regularly with the Teddy Bear we had wonderful adventures, and there was an amazing partnership at work. When we went to school we told Teddy to stay right where we put him, and that is what he did. Teddy always agreed with us, and could play any part we assigned him, and would never want to play with anyone whom we did not want to play with. There are several lessons to be learned about adult life as we replace the Teddy Bear with more human relationships.
Only your Teddy Bear will always know what you are thinking. People, on the other hand, require words well spoken. They may have different ideas, different preferences, and different values.
Only your Teddy Bear will want you to order for them at dinner. People, on the other hand, will have their own mind. Look at someone’s eyes, today. Realize that there is only one person looking through them.
Only your Teddy Bear will always want to do what you want to do. People, on the other hand, will often have their own plans. Good marriages contain a lot of give and take, by both people, about daily plans.
Only your Teddy Bear can be expected to hibernate for a while, so that you can take a few days or weeks away from the relationship. People, on the other hand, will likely want commitment each day, and they will want you to remember where you live.
Only your Teddy Bear will love you in the same way, no matter how you treat them. Despite what you hear about “unconditional love” there are things that can destroy love. Even in those cases where someone will try to love you unconditionally, behaviors can still cause such interference that love takes on a shape more like distant sadness and regret. Remember the T.V. series named Dinosaurs? In it they had a baby dinosaur that would constantly misbehave, and treat Daddy Dinosaur, and other family members will callous behavior and then say “I’m the baby- you’ve got to love me.” Well, that only works with very young children, imaginary dinosaurs, and Teddy Bears.
Your spouse may try, for a while, to be a Teddy Bear Impersonator. They may think they are doing this to “make everyone happy,” but it doesn’t work. Before long they will realize they need their own mind and spirit, and that they have their own body, and they will have their own world.
Happy adults in happy marriages have left the Teddy Bear behind. They have discovered that for all the immaturity they leave behind, they receive something better in exchange. They discover that they are happier when they discover the thrill of relating to someone different, wonderfully different, and wonderful to discover.

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