Where did the phrase love is blind originate? According to Google, it first appeared around 1401 in Chaucer’s The Merchant’s Tale and was later adapted by Plato, Paultus, and William Shakespeare.
What do you think when you hear love is blind?
I remember seeing couples in my early dating years and wondering what they possibly had in common. What had attracted them to the other because, from the outside looking in, their interest in each other made no sense. Maybe you’ve noticed them: the gorgeous girl and dorky-looking guy, the jock and the wallflower, the nerd and the ditzy girl. What drew them together?
Love is blind could mean:
- You don’t see the other person’s negative characteristics
- You don’t care about their physical appearance
- You ignore their irritating behaviors or mannerisms
- You’re in the relationship for some other reason
Is turning a blind eye toward your love’s idiosyncrasies a healthy thing?
Thinking about covenant love, I wonder how love is blind fits. Several years ago, while listening to Joanne Miller speak about relationships and life, she said she’s often been accused of wearing rose-colored glasses and was admonished to take them off. Her response was, “No.” At first, this surprised me because of my propensity to look at life through reality lenses.
Lately, I’ve thought about this more. Should we quit wearing rose-colored glasses in all areas of life? Unlike a few years ago, I don’t think so, especially when it applies to my relationship with Dave.
Expecting perfection in my marriage brings frustration and blame. Putting on those rose-colored glasses to see my husband in a healthy blind manner brings healing and trust.
How can you practice healthy love is blind with your husband?
1. Focus on the positive.
After being married for longer than one hour, hurts happen. You and your husband are human, and you make mistakes, forget things, break promises, and more. Sometimes those harsh words, forgetful actions, and broken promises cause pain. And when that happens, you and he get tripped into negative thought patterns. That’s when the brain looks for evidence to confirm the new thought pattern: he’s a bum.
Is he really a bum? Or have you fallen into what Dr. John Gottman calls negative regard? Your mind finds what you tell it to focus on. Scientists call this the RAS filter. And it can be trained. That’s the good news.
One way to retrain your RAS filter is to tell it to look for, or focus on, something different. This God-designed powerful system in our brains helps us survive by filtering out what we don’t need to know and zeroing in on what we do. It helps keep you alive and sane. I sure need this daily!
2. Practice gratitude.
I talk about this often because it’s one way we can switch our brains from Negative Nancy to Positive Pamela. This isn’t a pollyanna-ish view of the world. Instead, you choose to see what is good and life-giving.
Want to pump up the feel-good chemicals in your system (oxytocin) the healthy way? Engage gratitude in your heart, mind, words, and actions. You know that words not backed up by action are cheap. Genuinely grateful people act that way.
How can you do this? Look for a minimum of three things to be grateful for every day. Write them down. If they pertain to a person in your life, such as your husband or children, tell them. Saying something like, “Thank you for always being kind to Mrs. Smith (your elderly, senile neighbor). I love that about you.” “I appreciate you remembering my annual evaluation today with my boss. Your encouragement about my work ethic helped so much.” “That back rub made my day.”
The more you practice gratitude, the more you notice the positive in your relationships, which does good for your heart, mind, and soul.
3. Concentrate on “we,” not “me.”
When you marry that guy you love spending time with, you choose “we” rather than “me.” I didn’t understand this at first. Eventually, I caught on to the process of finding common ground with my husband, whose interests, energy, expectations, background, and outlook are so different from mine.
How do you find common ground to build “we”? Learn to be less selfish. I didn’t know how selfish I was until I got married. Once children came along, I discovered my selfish quotient’s more significant depth.
Like many couples, most of the arguments Dave and I have involve me taking center stage instead of we. I get ticked off because he behaves as he typically does. Why does that surprise me? I can’t change him, but I can learn to find common ground. Rather than trying to make Dave more like me (a fruitless endeavor), I look for new ways to do things together. Whenever I enact “my way or the highway” thinking, I fail to strengthen my relationship.
How can you apply a healthy love is blind attitude toward your marriage?
If you need help switching your mindset from negative to positive, let’s talk. I promise to listen without judgment.