I have written blog posts about forgiveness before.
- Christian forgiveness (used to be called “The truth will set you free”)
- How to forgive someone
- Forgive to be forgiven
- Forgiveness releases us to be healed and whole
- The desire to find our missing inner self (Imago – part 2)
- How we build an Imago – Part 1
Recently I spoke to a friend of mine. I was explaining how people choose each other and why. She mentioned that as she grew up she always wanted her dad to tell her that she was pretty. He didn’t tell her.
When now… when she met a man who bought her flowers and told her that she was pretty… she like him! Why? He matched imago. She must have matched his imago, because he was attracted to her as well.
It’s the classic “you complete me” scene in the elevator in Jerry Maguire. And it based in truth.
but for Adam there was not found a helper meet (suitable, adapted, complementary) for him.
And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam; and while he slept, He took one of his ribs or a part of his side and closed up the [place with] flesh.
And the rib or part of his side which the Lord God had taken from the man He built up and made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. – Gen 2:20-22
So a part of Adam was taken out of Adam and built up into Eve. Adam is missing a part of him. I am missing a part of me! You are missing a part of you. Women and men are incomplete when they are alone.
No wonder then that most people have such a strong desire to find the other part of ourselves – our missing part.
Many women might be physically attractive to me, but not everyone is emotionally compatible. So we look for what is missing emotionally, as well as a good physical match.
The way we choose what to look for emotionally is by looking at what we lack… the bit that is missing. So if I lack kindness then I look for kindness. Pretty simple huh?!
Why do I lack things?
Why wouldn’t I have kindness? Usually the thing I lack is something I didn’t get from my parents. They didn’t show it to me (it wasn’t modeled) and so I didn’t learn about it (internalize it) and so I don’t have it inside myself… meaning that I can’t do it or make it or generate it for myself when I need it.
So if it’s something I need and I don’t have it inside me (internalized) then I have to find outside of me. I will try and find someone who has it and can give it to me (externalized). Makes sense?
So we come back to my friend. She has found her other half. She feels complete now. Woohoo! The chemistry is running wild. The marriage (assuming they are married or preparing to be) is filled with joy because they have found each other. She has someone who has what she deeply needs in her life. She is complete now.
Because of all these wonderful chemicals running around, very deep emotional grooves are being formed in their brains as they make love or stare at each other or hold hands. A message is being put into their brain that this is THE ONE. to stop looking for anyone else. No one else is needed.
It is being stored in the brain with overwhelming amounts of yummy chemicals. They are in love!
We need this “burning in”, because life is not easy and times will get tough. The chemical burning-in process will help them stay together and keep the family unit stable for the optimum emotional growth of their kids. It creates safety for each other by keeping them together.
On the other hand, if they been through this process with many other partners (or with images through porn use) then the chemicals have happened over and over with other “partners” and the long term attachment with THIS partner might not be as deep… and the commitment and the compulsion to stay together might not work as it should. (But don’t discount the healing ability that God has! he can renew anyone and anything.)
And so we return once again to my friend, 2 years into the relationship… the chemistry has worn off about a year ago. Her other half turns out to be human after all. He actually doesn’t complete her and she is still a separate human being and still has needs. He also has discovered that she isn’t who he hoped she would be!
I want an all-knowing super-human. Waaaa!
What were they unconsciously hoping for?
Well… their very first experience of having their needs fulfilled was when their mother mysteriously knew their needs and provided warm bottles with milk. Food and comfort and beds all just popped out of nowhere. Everything was taken care of for the first ten or 15 years. Plates of food arrived on time, warmed, with just the right ingredients for our preferences.
That’s quite a lot of training! So we unconsciously think… here is someone who makes me feel good… but wait… why doesn’t this person just know my needs? Why doesn’t he/she understand what I am asking for?
We may conclude… if they don’t understand me, he/she OBVIOUSLY doesn’t love me!
What we were hoping for was a super-human partner. (A mom or a dad). Someone who auto-magically has a warm bottle to feed us right on time. Who knows what our body language means. Someone who reads minds and says “are you feeling ok?” when we just walked through the door.
Our partner is also fallen
But instead, after the chemicals wear off, we discover we’re married to another fallen human being. So there is no freaking way that person is going to be super-human. As children we had NO IDEA what our parents needs were – and we were not expected to understand them or meet those needs. They were the parents, not us.
But I’m not married to a parent. My partner doesn’t want to parent me. (That would be very unhealthy).
We have to slowly come to realize that this other person also has needs, also is misunderstood. Our partner also has the same training, has wrong expectations of me, also deep down expects me to be a mind reader, also just expects me to KNOW – and especially expects me to fulfill and complete them.
Time to grow up
The chemicals are gone. We don’t feel like we did. It must be HIS fault. HE changed. He’s thinking the same thing.
But now, if we didn’t have sex before marriage, we’re deeply bonded and committed for life. Our internal stuff is saying THIS IS THE ONE.
Now what? We now have to learn a new skill… we need to EXPLAIN what we mean to the less-than-psychic partner. We keep explaining until they get it. We have to WORK on the relationship. So do they. Give and take.
So my friend’s biggest complaint about her boyfriend is that he doesn’t tell her that she is pretty. He doesn’t reassure her with flowers. Why does this bug her? Because SHE STILL has her inner needs for these things. She chose him BECAUSE he did those things.
But now that the chemicals have worn off, he’s living a busy life, he’s got other concerns… and she still has her unmet needs. She doesn’t see the reality of him being fallen and broken, she doesn’t see her own brokenness… so she demands more… and he is stuck in conflict.
She thinks he has changed (he hasn’t, it’s just that the chemicals wore off). He most likely thinks she has changed (she hasn’t, the chemicals just wore off).
Face your brokenness and needs… and explain them!
You now have to face your needs, created through insecurity, fallenness, brokenness… and you have to listen to your partner’s needs. Each partner has to listen and agree to make the effort to meet some of the needs of their chosen partner.
The good news is that as you meet the other person’s needs, their chemicals can kick back in again and that old loving feeling can resurface.
More good news is that in doing this, you actually participate in healing your partner’s brokenness. Listening to their story, accepting their story,being understanding, providing what they need… these are very healing things you can do with/for your partner.
God is so clever!
I did it the wrong way once. I went through a divorce and it almost killed me. Since then I’ve taken 4 years to explore the bible and explore people and explore myself. Now that I’ve learned, I see that without doubt, God created something wonderful in marriage.
He designed it so wonderfully… the chemicals that start in courting and accelerate to attack speed on the honeymoon… those chemicals burn our commitment for our partners into our minds… it’s so amazing.
He made it so that we’d come together, we’d bring what each other needs, we’ll be able to heal one anothers wounds. Most clever of all, we’ll need to learn about love and tolerance and kindness and patience (etc.) so that we can do it.
God was looking to hard wire LOVE into our world and into our intimate lives – because He knew how far this world would go to try and strip us of our loving ability.
Time to learn adult ways
After the chemicals have faded and we realize that this person is broken and fallen just like us… we have to decide to refuse to remain as children, we have to decide to go forward to adulthood
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; now that I have become a man, I am done with childish ways and have put them aside. – 1 Cor 13:11
There will never ever be another mother or father mysteriously putting a glass of milk on the table because we LOOK thirsty.
We have to communicate our need to our partners (and the people around us). We will have to go to work to earn the money to afford the milk, the glass and the table to put it on.
They also have a workbook.
In my next post I’ll describe what goes wrong in imagos and how our needs can be exaggerated and how healing and forgiveness can return things back to normal.
Here are some related posts you might enjoy reading:
- Heal your identity – it will help to fill the emptiness inside
- I have become a man, I am done with childish ways (1 Cor 13:11)
- Heal your identity – it will help to fill the emptiness inside
- A vital step to health – thankfulness
Please share this post with someone who might benefit from it. Post it to your FB wall. Tweet it. May God bless you – and I look forward to reading your comments and replying to them!