Rosie and Wes married when they were both very young. Rosie had been a “Daddy’s girl,” always doted on and indulged by a father who treated her as if she could do no wrong. Wes adored her and did everything he could to try to make her happy. Unfortunately, Rosie was never quite satisfied with Wes’s offerings. She was often cold, aloof, and unresponsive to his many overtures of affection. One Christmas, Wes spent a lot of time deliberating over what to buy Rosie as a gift. He went to nearly a dozen stores and finally chose a red dress he knew would look beautiful on her. He watched with eager anticipation on Christmas morning while she opened the gift, hoping that she would be as pleased with the dress as he was. As she lifted the dress out of its box he knew by the look on her face that he had failed again. Although Rosie politely thanked him, Wes knew that she would be returning the dress. As she placed the cover on the box, he asked if she was even going to try it on. “It’s just not my style,” she said coldly.
A shock can prompt self-examination
Wes was hurt. The event was a microcosm of their marriage. Wes giving the very best he had and Rosie expecting him to know what she wanted, then judging him as failing to suit her expectations. Less than a month later, Wes asked Rosie for a divorce. She was shocked. Although Rosie suspected that sooner or later they would divorce, she never thought that Wes would be the one to initiate it. This hit her hard and provoked a process of painful self-examination that eventually led her to see how her impossible expectations had set up the marriage for disaster.
Wes went on to marry someone else by whom he felt appreciated.
An inflated self-image causes pain to those we love.
Over time, Rosie came to understand and regret the pain she had inflicted on Wes through her inflated image of herself. She learned a hard lesson through the loss of her marriage. The red dress became a symbol in her future relationships that reminded her to not lapse into her old sense of entitlement. Rosie gradually relinquished her throne of superiority, and she eventually remarried. She became a kinder and more generous person in her second marriage. She learned the real meaning of the word “humility” and found that it didn’t require a sacrifice of her personal power or self- respect. She learned that it wasn’t wise to look to her marriage to make her happy, but rather to use her relationship to become a more loving and fulfilled person.
Linda Bloom L.C.S.W. has served as psychotherapist and seminar leader practicing relationship counseling almost forty years. Check out her OMTimes Bio.
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