I love the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and its usage of great metaphors. It’s a story that can be taken away by anyone for its moral value regardless of your religious beliefs. It’s a story about a man and woman who were made for each other and loved one another. Adam and Eve had innocence. Both shared their lives together before guilt and sin became a part of their daily lives. There they were exuding purity in its highest form. They were nude metaphorically as well as literally. Then one day, they were told about the forbidden fruit from the Tree of Knowledge and were warned that that very fruit was something they needed to reject.
Eve, like millions of women (and men) out there, became curious about the forbidden fruit. The metaphor of the forbidden fruit goes beyond the idea of someone eating a piece of fruit. The forbidden fruit can be anything that we indulge in sinfully, whether it’s food, sex, love, alcohol, or even shopping. Things we let take control of us…almost to the point of developing an addiction. What’s your forbidden fruit from the Tree of Life?
Now Eve is standing there being tempted to take a bite of that juicy piece of fruit. The fruit she was given initially was not as appealing as the one hanging on the vine.
She soon forgets what she had in her hand and reaches for that unattainable fantasy…a dream. The thing she’s curious about is something she finds out is not all that she hoped for. The symbolism of it all is quite remarkable. While she ignores the first fruit she was given, she reaches for something newer and more exciting.
Comparing the fruit in the Garden of Eden to our life experiences takes some thought. Specifically, I am comparing the Garden of Eden to love and the love you are given. If you ignore love long enough, it shrivels up and becomes rotten. You end up disappointed and ruin a good thing. That forbidden piece of fruit you took a bite out of, ends up causing you a stomach ache and you become disappointed. That forbidden fruit that sneaks its way into your love life has split your significant other and you apart. You might try to salvage the original piece of fruit (love) you had and say, “damn it” and ultimately are left with nothing because it’s too late.
This is what happens in relationships. We always search for the next best thing while what we have right there in front of us is what’s right for us. We keep searching and searching and neglect the love we already have. Don’t get me wrong, not all relationships are meant to last. There are situations where it’s best for a couple to go their separate ways.
I find it interesting though that we live in a society where nearly 50% of all marriages end in divorce. Family therapist William Doherty reports that “…over 40% of divorced people regretted their divorce and thought it was preventable (Smart Marriages Conference, 1999).” So there you have it—there is still hope that a relationship can be saved.
I woke up in the middle of the night and had this epiphany. Ok, as a marital and family therapist, I will admit I am a bit ashamed of myself because this has always been something I talk to my clients about, but I believe if a relationship is gone into with maturity, hope, trust, and selflessness; there is a chance it can last for a lifetime. I myself started dating someone who has taught me to think of “us” in “our relationship” instead of “me” and “my relationship.” Instead of searching for another love to replace the man who found me, I choose to work things out. People are not perfect. I’ve noticed myself to search for that perfect man; my knight in shining armor. I finally woke up to realize that my perfect knight does not necessarily mean he has to reflect the woman I have grown to be.
How long should I search for that perfect someone? Is perfection even possible? What is perfection supposed to look like, anyways? His outer core may not be as shiny and perfect as that forbidden fruit on the tree in the Garden of Eden. That perfect piece of fruit or that perfect person…there just isn’t such a thing. Why are our expectations so high to the point it ultimately leaves us with rotten fruit in our hands?
I believe there is something in our past relationships and frame of minds that make us have such high expectations. Our epistemology can be defined as: a philosophical approach to defining how we know what we know…our belief system. For example, when I was a little girl, I was once bit by a dog. My epistemology (belief system from past experiences and knowledge), told me to be cautious the next time I met a dog so that I would not be bitten again. The same theory happens in love and how we enter and stay in loving relationships. The past hurts and broken relationships we have endured are carried into the present relationships we have. Heck, the relationship I’m in has had its ups and downs, yet, we have the desire to maintain our love for each other. I can’t imagine a future without him.
This means that we must learn to demonstrate trust, love, and loyalty in our relationships. It is not ALWAYS possible to do ALL the time…there are times my honey over thinks things and that bugs me at times and I know there are times he thinks I’m being bitchy or too demanding of him. Once again, this goes back to looking at our epistemologies and our knowledge on how we expect things to be in life. We seem to overlook details concerning the commitments we make and so this is where we fail in our personal relationships.
It’s no longer about what makes ME happy and what I need. Once I found someone who confessed his love and adoration for me, and asked me to be in his life forever, it became what makes us happy together as a couple. Without the “we” and “us” mentality, you have a recipe for failure! This is something I learned from the man I love. I admire and respect his passion and ability to risk it all for love. A relationship is a team effort. It takes work, risks, and trusting the process and the love of your life. Love is not just a word or feeling. Love is an action that requires effort. Love is something you don’t take for granted and expect to just fall in your lap.
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