Save the bird!
How do you keep your relationship healthy? And if it isn’t healthy, how do you get it back to where it used to be?
Sam Snead was a professional golfer who had a famous quote on how to hold a golf club. He said that you need to ‘hold the club as if you had a little baby bird in your hand.’ The quote goes: ‘To keep a bird in your hands, you have to grasp it well enough that it doesn’t fly away. But birds are delicate creatures, so you also have to hold one gently enough not to harm it.’ And that’s pretty much what love should be like.
Seems a little counter intuitive, right? Everyone remembers that new love feeling: talking deep into every night, thinking of the person seemingly every moment, wanting to be around them constantly…to breathe them in and keep them there forever…it’s nice, right? We also remember how intense it was, how one text message replied too late or one missed phone call may have sent us into a spiral. It was a lot of love all at once.
As that love progresses, it may go from that heightened euphoria to something a bit calmer. Certain things remind you of them: a song, a joke, a type of food. You see it, hear it, and it makes you smile. It’s more controlled though; instead of a wildfire it’s more of a car heater in cold weather. Sometimes when you remember the early days, you may wonder if that means that you care less. Why do I not want to commune with every fibre of their being anymore?
Or maybe you still are all consumed by them, and them by you. That’s fantastic. Though, does that become a problem in another sense? When they fall form the pedestal we put them on, as humans will always do, are we overly critical of them?
The people we love were individuals before we met them, and continue to be their own person after we decide to share our lives with them. This should be celebrated, nurtured, and not taken as someone pulling away. We must also not become complacent, and stop doing those things that made the sparks fly. Reasons for this are always easy to find: work became too much, family commitments, rent must be paid… And they know you still love them, right?
Health is always a tricky balance, trying to find a mid point in a sea of too much of one thing or another. In the middle of smothering and aloofness, over-dependence and lack of inclusion: that’s the sweet spot. We need enough to let the person we love feel like they’re their own person, and enough that they know that they’re still our person.
So as you walk up to take your next swing at this thing called love, remember: relax and release all the tension, grip with both hands. Not too tight as to kill the baby bird, but not too loose that the baby bird will fly away.
What do you feel like a healthy relationship looks like?