Backing into the future?

When you are focusing on the past, your back is toward the future.

February 25, 2021

One of our intentions at RelationshipByDesign is to have people see that the basis of all relationships is promises. Promises form the foundation upon which all relationships are built and function. Marriage vows and business contracts are examples of that. 

The reason for getting into relationships is to fulfill possibilities - having a life partner, making a living, going on adventures, having a family…. And then to create more possibilities - inventing a new game, being a leader, producing world peace….

The way to turn a possibility into a reality is by making and fulfilling promises. In fact, the whole purpose of a promise is to turn a possibility into reality. Also, a promise is relational in nature, including at least two of us in its basic form: I promise you that I will (take a specified action) by (a specified time), i.e. produce something real. It’s a you and I pact, producing something in reality.

Unlike experiences of love, affection and shared interests, which can, and often do, change over time, promises form a solid, lasting foundation for a relationship. Making and fulfilling promises produces creative and satisfying relationships. 

But there is a form of promise that people often make, or ask others to make, that defeats the purpose of a promise. Instead of focusing on turning a possibility into reality in the future, it has its eye firmly on the past! That form is a promise to not do something.

When you promise to not do something, or request your partner to promise to not do something, your attention is not on the future; it is on the past, on something that you or your partner, or someone else, did before. You’re not designing a future at all; you’re attempting to prevent something that happened in the past from happening again. But the more you attempt to prevent it, the more it gets in your way. It’s like someone telling you to not think about a red car. What immediately comes to your mind is a red car. 

When you are focusing on the past, your back is toward the future. You end up blindly backing into a future defined by “not the past” rather than walking into a future shaped by a new possibility. 

In the story of King Arthur, Merlin the Magician engaged Arthur in looking at the future with his back to the past. It worked pretty well. The past disappeared as a limitation on the future. 

We’re having a great time playing the role of Merlin in relationships. 

With love from your cheering section,
Sandy&Lon and Carol&Paul

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