A clean refreshing relationship reminds me of brushing my teeth. There’s no better feeling than sliding your tongue over spotless pearly whites, bastions of trust, respect, responsibility and awesomeness. There’s many more teeth to be brushed in our relations but these are the foundations. Trust is an obvious one, and it can be demonstrated by non-threatening behavior and an authentic comfort with the other. Trust deeply relates to sharing vulnerabilities because knowing eachother’s weak points can make us softer and more considerate. Vulnerability derives from the latin “Vulnus” which means “to wound.” If you know what hurts her, then hopefully there’s greater compassion to avoid reopening the wound. Yet the underlying problem is when we rip the scab off anyway and use the sensitive issues of the other as ammunition to hit below the belt. This plaque only strip the enamel off our teeth. Respect- from listening non-judgmentally to being emotionally available and affirming is key. Responsibility for self and for the priorities of the other- acknowledging past wrongs and admitting when one is wrong are equally pertinent. Finally, awesomeness – what are those sparks that make your spine tingle and eyes alight with excitement? Seek the intriguing adventurous paths.
It cannot be underestimated how we must remember to make a persistent effort everyday keep our teeth healthy, to listen … to really listen to what our partner is saying and how they feel, just like we must remember to brush after every meal.
Sometimes we do a careless job of brushing only the front and bottom teeth, neglecting the hard to reach molars in the back. It takes more effort to reach these teeth but it is just as important to brush them and even more rewarding. These are the subtleties of romance, knowing just what to say and when to say it, the spontaneity of bringing home her favorite meal and especially being less clueless to her state of mind. Just as we must floss after a particularly big meal that leaves corn or beef in between our teeth, difficulties with respect or trust for example, its crucial to talk through them ASAP before the plaque eats through enamel, the outer coating of the tooth. It really is the “little things,” those times we shirk brushing, that can tear a relationship apart.
For example, a minor dispute such as a wife disliking the fact that her husband chews with his mouth open can fester if she does not tell him. Likewise, He might dislike that she gossips to him about her friends. An amalgam of miniature problems such as these go untalked about because they are considered minor-things each spouse thinks they can tolerate. But this plaque can lead to emotional gingivitis where the build up grows exponentially and becomes intolerable.
Some fights for example start over a stupid issue and then the little things get brought up in a hostile environment and exacerbate the situation. Communication and understanding are the toothpaste and floss that remove the plaque of problems from our teeth. The sooner the toothpaste is used, the sooner the couple talks about a particular problem and the relationship gets stronger, just as the tooth heals. The major fights destroy not only enamel but rot the pulp of the tooth. Getting false teeth is expensive and painful, just like divorce.
After a root canal, one’s mouth never feels the same. The wife who didn’t like her husband chewing with his mouth open might bring this to his attention during an argument on an unrelated subject such as not having enough money for the electric bill, causing the dam to burst and both partners to unleash a slew of insults at each other. He goes down stairs to sleep on the couch and they both begin to think why they thought they loved each other in the first place. Fights that never get resolved cause many facets (teeth) of a relationship to fall apart (fall out) from root canals. Before you know it. Love is a great mouthwash to cover all the nooks and crannies your toothbrush missed. Affection and compassion can always forgive miscommunication here and there.