Monday, July 27, 2009

Partners in Adventure

One of the things my husband and I pledged to each other when we married was to be “partners in adventure.” I think at the time we actually thought that this vow was about adventure – we both loved to travel and had each spent a fair portion of our lives having great adventures around the world. So we planned to be partners in, well, more adventure.

How little we knew that this vow would be one of the more practiced ones in our daily lives.

I’m a great fan of the concept and practice of positive ‘reframing’ and how it can empower one’s life. The central principle behind reframing is that there is no good or bad in life -- there is only our perception of it. So, reframing refers to our ability to take a negative situation, and make it positive in another context.

"The art of reframing is to maintain the conflict in all its richness but to help people look at it in a more open-minded and hopeful way." -- Bernard Mayer, in The Dynamics of Conflict Resolution, p.139

Every marriage, no matter how healthy, has its share of tense moments, impatience and frustration – that’s just modern life. But what my husband and I have found is that we can be in the hairiest of predicaments -- like nearly running out of gas in the middle of the Mohave Desert or having a flat tire on a narrow shouldered highway at the beginning of a 900 mile journey, or unplugging a backed up toilet – and then look at each other and say “Partners in adventure!” And suddenly, we are having an adventure, of our own making.

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