Is Your Marriage an Elephant?

There is an ancient story about five blind men that encountered an elephant for the very first time. Each one slowly and carefully approaches the elephant and puts out his hand to learn what an elephant is like. The first blind man declares, “An elephant is a rope with a tassel at the end.” The second blind man says, “An elephant is not a rope, it is a wall.” The thirds says, “Neither of you are right an elephant is nothing more than a tree trunk.” The fourth disagrees also and says, “No no! An elephant is like a flapping tapestry hanging from above.” The fifth man argues with them all and insists, “An elephant is a thick and flexible hose.”

Each one was accurately and honestly describing what they experienced, either the tail, the side, the leg, the ears or the trunk of the same elephant. They were all right from their own perspective and for as long as they might have argued back and forth, the one that touched the tail will never think he touched a tree, but maybe he can understand that there are different ways of experiencing an elephant.

In our marriages we get stuck in a rut because we can only see our view of the relationship or the problem, and we refuse to accept that there is any other way of looking at it. We try and try to convince our partner that our experience is the only one and that if they don’t change their perception of reality, they are wrong.

The blind men teach us that often we don’t see the whole picture, because we only have our own experiences to form our perception. To avoid and to solve conflict we have to allow our husband/wife to have their experience, and to move towards them by understand them. What they are feeling is real just different.

With real understanding you can uncover underlying levels of meaning in you conflicts and work towards greater acceptance of each others feelings.

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