Relationship security is extremely important to be mindful of early on in marriage. Establishing a firm foundation of habits that will help you and your spouse is the best course of action to avoid future cognitive disorders.
Clearly understanding your spouse’s strengths and weaknesses allows you to both be more aware of each other and avoid either of you putting the other on a pedestal.
To give you some background..
I will explain the situation, my husband and I were in and how we found a way to resolve the issues we faced.
When my husband and I went to therapy, it eventually came out that I was deeply afraid I wasn’t achieving enough to be good enough for him.
This was affecting our relationship security because I was concerned that he felt like he’d gotten duped into a “bait and switch;” that he felt I was way better when we were dating than I was now that we were married.
Keep in mind..
He never said any of this. It was all in my own insecurities, which I failed to communicate properly.
You can probably imagine how scared I was that he would wake up one day, see the “real me.” The self-image I had created based on my insecurities and I worried he would decide to leave because this wasn’t the life he signed up for when he married me.
Is It Bad to Put Someone on a Pedestal?
The Vancouver Courier talked about how this exact phenomenon occurs in a lot of relationships.
The researchers found that there’s a certain point where partners feel over-idealized by their spouses and how this may start to cause trouble in relationships and was found to lead to cognitive disorders for individuals in some marital relationships.
What Happens When You Put Someone on a Pedestal?
It doesn’t matter whether the spouse actually over-idealizes them or not–it’s about the partner’s perception of this over-idealization. When people feel like their partner has placed them on a pedestal, there are two typical reactions:
- They start being selfish and stop giving to the relationship because they realize they can do no wrong in their partner’s eyes and they don’t need to work for the relationship anymore.
- They feel threatened by their partner thinking they’re better than they actually are. These people end up feeling anxious because their partner doesn’t understand their “true self”. They, (like in my experience), are scared that one day their partner will “wake up” and decide to leave because they don’t like what they see.
Now, to some extent..
Idealizing your partner’s qualities is a great thing for your relationship–particularly in the beginning stages of a relationship, where passion and romance are high.
It’s important to always look for the best in your partner, but it’s also important to communicate that it’s okay if your partner isn’t perfect and that they don’t have to live up to over-idealized traits and abilities just to be accepted by you.
Here are some practical tips to help you focus on building healthy relationship security. You and spouse can avoid putting each other on a pedestal by doing the following:
1. Compliment Your Spouse Out of Deep Emotion
We don’t mean hold back when you want to tell your partner something you love about them. This just means to be careful how you craft your compliments. Be sure that you communicate that you love your partner unconditionally, not just because of what they’ve accomplished or done.
2. Be Vulnerable and Genuine
If you find yourself in one of the above camps (feeling selfish or threatened), explore it with each other!
Often these types of feelings go unspoken because we ourselves aren’t even fully aware we have them. Have a conversation about expectations of each other in your relationship and be honest about if you feel they are too high or unequal in any way.
3. Actively Listen, Develop Empathy, and Communicate Properly
If you or your spouse are finding that you feel insecure of what your partner will think about you, communicate with your partner exactly how you feel and why you feel that way. You must be willing to learn to put yourself in their shoes to better understand their feelings.
Once you have listened to their concerns, repeat back to your spouse what you heard them say to give them an opportunity to confirm what you have heard them say, and then validate them by genuinely expressing, how difficult that must be for them.
This will help them feel heard and give your spouse an opportunity to clarify how they are feeling if there was any miscommunication.
Chances are, your partner won’t actually be as disappointed as you have built them up to be in your head, but you’ll never know until you talk about it with them and ask how they feel. Don’t walk around quietly harboring fears that you aren’t good enough for your partner…that does nobody any favors in a relationship.
In my case, once we had a name for what I was feeling and what I was afraid of, my husband and I were able to explicitly communicate what we expected from each other and I was able to hear that regardless of what I was able to achieve or not achieve in life, he loved and accepted me for who I was.