When my family immigrated to the United States, we ended up on the Gulf of Mexico, and I ended up as my father’s sailing buddy on our 34-foot boat. My mother, who was an accomplished sailor, refused to sail with my father. She had determined that he was a terrible sailor and so I was elected to be the shipmate. It was during my teenage years that I first began to notice how similar sailboats, or any kind of ship, were to relationships.
We seem to scramble around, polishing the deck of a “Relation-Ship”. We try to find our sea-legs in the midst of the overwhelming number of duties that arise to keep this ship afloat. We gaze out into the fog of countless rules and regulations governing this ship. We pledge allegiance to the belief that there are sacrifices which must be made for the good of the Relation-Ship.
The social mind yardstick called “the couple” measures the success of our sailing vessel. This “couple” now tries to communicate and intimately connect with their minds focused on this Relation-Ship structure. The ship has sailed into the harbor of our hearts and now floats between us as we try to live our love. The ship’s survival needs become our daily chore.
Our natural horizons begin to change as we become compliant about the ship’s endless demands. These demands become the captain of our vessel and often leave us compromised and negotiated. We cease being individuals and become instead the singular entity called ‘ a couple”.
What we really want and what we truly feel gets tossed overboard. How to keep the ship safe and happy becomes the primary focus. It drops onto the deck like a morning fog. The vibrant energy in our heart sinks beneath the rolling waves as our ship sets out to sea.
The therapeutic community points to numerous reasons for relationship failure. They conclude that we are co-dependent, wounded by incest, afraid of intimacy, programmed by our dysfunctional family patterns, or addicted. There is no doubt that these problems make the Relation-Ship very difficult to steer. However, little attention has been given to the social mind structure that insists we live our relational lives according to its prescribed form. Perhaps we could expand our inquiry into an area that might offer a welcome wind and set our sails for unknown territory. Might such an investigation produce a warm breeze on the deck, one that offers new energy to our intimate lives?
Let’s see what happens to our Relation-Ships as we sail out on the waves with curiosity about the exact nature of this social institution we call a relationship. Perhaps we will find that relationships are profoundly influenced by the social mind form that has been deliberately imposed on our loving, open hearts.
Society’s relationship agenda and our own collaboration with one of its most protected institutions has become a favorite exploration. Please join me for the next few sailing trips on board the RS.