At a workshop on couples therapy, the presenter came out carrying two Hula Hoops. (Please don’t start shoop-shooping, I thought.)
He invited someone from the audience to come up on stage, and instructed her to do as he did: Put the Hula Hoop around your waist, and hold it so it’s against your back, facing out toward the other person.
Then they walked toward each other until their respective Hula Hoops intersected – like a living Venn diagram.
Your Hula Hoop is your self. Your partner’s Hula Hoop is their self.
The ellipse where the Hula Hoops overlap is your relationship.
If one or both of you move your Hula Hoops too far away, the relationship gets smaller or disappears completely,
If one or both of you move your Hula Hoops in too close, your hoops impinge on one another, squishing your guts.
Your job, and your partner’s, is to take care of your Hula Hoop – which also then takes care of the Relationship.
Don’t drop your Hula Hoop and try to slip into your partner’s hoop instead – giving up your self – because then the healthy Relationship disappears.
For the same reason, don’t put your Hula Hoop over your partner’s head and pull them into your life only.
Don’t distort the beautiful, perfect circle of your Hula Hoop in order to fit the way your partner of the Relationship demand. It’s definitely good to change, or meet your partner’s needs, but not in ways that require you to distort your self (your values, your integrity…).
Do things to tend to the intersection – the Relationship – every day, the same way you’d take care of a garden, or a baby.
Be open to doing things in service to the Relationship – but not if those things would require you to distort or neglect your Hula Hoop.