When I use the English word relationship to talk about my marriage (I can do so in three languages but, because most material I have read on intimate relationships is in English, the English language is my language of choice when it comes to this particular domain of life) my focus goes on the last four letters that make up this word.
What is the wise thing to do if the (relation)ship is sinking? Is it finding fault with our (relation)ship mate? Will proving our (relation)ship mate wrong and ourselves right keep the (relation)ship from sinking?
The idea of being on the same boat (or on the same ship: I am in a relationship with a Filipina and she comes from a country where the kin-group culture is rather strong so I need a ‘larger vessel’ to also accomodate my wife’s extended family…) with my partner and the (relation)ship metaphor (I think I heard this metaphor from Tony Robbins) are powerful ways to remind myself, over and over again, that it doesn’t make any sense to argue about who is right and who is wrong in an intimate relationship.
I rather put my attention on what can be done to direct the (relation)ship to the beautiful destination we both want to get to, who did something wrong doesn’t matter as long as we both work in unison to correct our course.
I once heard a great illustration: the past is like the wake of a boat. The wake does not direct the boat, rather it’s the rudder, it’s the one who is at the helm.
Attacking our partner for what he or she did wrong is like staring at the trail that is left behind rather than controlling the rudder.
What our (relation)ship mate did wrong is nothing but a trail that is left behind: staring at it (by dwelling on it and arguing about it) is pointless and dangerous…