In my last post, I ranted about how you shouldn’t give away your personal power by giving up on love. I’d like to expand on that with the following analogy…
Love (and marriage) is like an Amusement Park.
Imagine a child receiving the news that s/he will be spending the day at an amusement park. The child is delighted, right? Because amusement parks are exciting!
Love is exciting.
Picture the child arriving at the gate and eagerly paying the entrance fee.
Love also requires you give something in order to enjoy the experience.
Loose in the park, the child wonders, “What should I do first? Should I ride the Scrambler?”
Love also makes you a little dizzy.
The child decides his first stop in the park will be to experience free fall from the tall tower.
Love also offers the thrill of falling.
Next, the child considers the giant roller coaster.
Love also provides its share of ups and downs and twists and turns.
The child wonders if he could win one of the mammoth stuffed teddy bears at a game booth.
People play games in love too.
The child sits on the carousel and remembers his younger days.
Love is also a comforting experience.
At lunchtime, the child fills himself with fried potatoes, fried Oreos, and fried dough… and then he feels sick.
Love also offers the option to overdo it.
The child rides the big splash-down ride, and then has to walk around in wet clothes.
Love can make you uncomfortable.
The child exclaims, “Weeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!” As he zooms down the giant slide.
Love also offers exhilaration.
The child drives his bumper car mercilessly into other guests of the park.
Love can be brutal.
The child rides the ferris wheel and contemplates the world from a different view.
Love also offers an alternate perspective.
In the evening, the rides begin to close and the child is disappointed. “Why do we have to leave now? There’s so much more I wanted to do!” He wails as his mother leads him to the car.
Love also comes to an end.
“I know,” his mother tells him. “It was a fun day, but it’s over now. It’s time to go home.”
“But I don’t want to go home!” The child begins to cry. He’s disappointed, and angry. He’s also quite tired, though he won’t admit that to anyone.
When love ends, we too might lean on anger while refusing to share our truest feelings.
His emotions get the best of him and he cries all the way home. He talks about all the rides he didn’t get to ride on, all the food he didn’t get to try, and the shows he didn’t get to see. He blames his mother, the park employees, and Father Time for his predicament.
Love also ends with ugly-faced crying, anger, and blame.
At home, he falls asleep quickly and rests through the night.
Love also requires a recovery period.
The following morning he wakes up with fond memories of his trip to the amusement park. He can’t wait to tell his friends about his experience. And, of course, he can’t wait to go back to the park again.
And here’s where the similarities end. The child was terribly upset that his time in the park had to come to an end, and yet he didn’t grow bitter. The child didn’t decide that all amusement parks suck because if you stay long enough you get kicked out. The child didn’t tell his friends that he would never go back again.
Quite the opposite. The child accepted the full experience and determined that the good time he had outweighed the end of the day. While in the park, he learned and grew and enjoyed himself. He couldn’t wait to go back.
Why, then, is it so hard for adults to adopt the same perspective when it comes to relationships? Why can’t we walk away disappointed, yet recover to the point where we see the value in the experience and are willing to do it again?
Of course, I have a couple theories…
We all know amusement parks have a closing time. But love (and especially marriage) is supposed to be forever. …Yeah, but maybe that’s a problem in itself? Maybe we’d be better off if we stopped attaching ourselves to the idea of “forever.”
Swearing off the experience is a way to protect yourself from future hurt. …Sure, it is. But you also limit your enjoyment of life. And again, you give away your power when you allow a previous partner to dictate your future experience.
Perhaps our culture would be better served if we collectively agreed to regard relationships as experiences rather than contracts. Imagine awesome would it be to look back and think, “That was a lot of fun while it lasted. When the time is right, I’d like to do it again.”