Using analogies to understand relationships
Updated: Sep 14, 2020
Analogies are useful to help us develop new insights into unfamiliar or abstract concepts. The nature of a loving relationship is one such concept, which can benefit from the use of analogies that can highlight its key features.
A beautiful garden can be a source of great pleasure and joy, however, its creation and maintenance require focused effort and time. Fortunately, this type of work often feels fulfilling and rewarding, and the required effort and time is returned many times over.
Relationships are no different – couples need to devote time and energy to ‘nurture’ their connection. This involves learning to understand each other’s perspectives, communicating thoughtfully, and fostering strong self-awareness and kindness towards one another.
Another feature of a garden is its transformation throughout the year, as the seasons and external conditions change. Yet the garden can still remain beautiful, just in different ways – the spring flowers and smells; the delicious summer harvest; the autumn colours; and the garden’s winter hardiness.
Similarly, relationships evolve over time; initially many couples feel a whirlwind of intense emotions and passion, which eventually subside. Then, a calmer, affectionate and committed love emerges. Parenting also brings new challenges for couples, as do later life phases such as retirement. Similar to a garden, therefore, a relationship is constantly evolving as the couple’s external circumstances change. However, like a gardener with the skills to nurture the gifts that a garden offers, couples need to learn the skills to craft their relationship as it faces life’s changing seasons.
A relationship can also be viewed as a lifelong dance. A couple is never standing still, but rather constantly moving together through life, as circumstances change and they grow as individuals and as a couple. Yet, they need to try and maintain a common rhythm through the twists and turns of life, so they are not moving in different directions or creating uncomfortable friction between each other.
The dance analogy is also fitting because, at its best, a dance is sensual, even thrilling. It makes one feel alive and connected, which is what most couples seek in their relationship.
What do you think of these analogies to describe and better understand intimate relationships? What other analogies may be fitting to describe a relationship’s character and essence?