The Rise of Soap Opera Relationships

bigstock Couple Arguing At Breakfast 3916300 300x200 The Rise of Soap Opera Relationships

Scripted Love verses Unscripted Loving Relationships

Note: This is an excerpt from my book, CTypes—Models for Relating—Creating Intimacy and Deeper Meaning Between Couples at All Stages of the Relationship.

In the past, we held a picture of committed relationships in our heads that went something like this: Prince Charming meets the beautiful Princess and the sparks fly. They date in a whirlwind of heart and sexual connection, are married in pomp and circumstance, and move into their perfect house with the white picket fence. Prince Charming lands the perfect job and is wildly successful, and the always-inspired couple has 2.5 perfect kids, invites their caring neighbors over for weekend barbecues, and lives happily ever after.

To be clear, this story has never played out for any couple. Life is not designed to work that way. It is designed to learn lessons—some of them painful—and wake up to the essence of our humanity. When our lives do not fit the story, it is easy to become disillusioned with what life dishes out. It is not the reality that is the problem but the story.

We have a term for what is commonly called “love” in today’s relationships between couples and that is Scripted Love. Scripted Love is the unquestioned script we fall into when relating as couples. It is much of the stuff we see in daytime soap operas. Scripted Love is played out in life between couples with these generally accepted attributes and behaviors:

1)    Expectations

2)    Obligations

3)    Manipulations

4)    Lack of Kindness or Compassion

5)    Disrespect of Self and Other

6)    Need for Agreement from Others Outside the Relationship

7)    Need for Control

8)    Lack of Joy and Inspiration

9)    Drama

10) A Need to Change the Other Half of the Relationship

I will call this list the Scripted Love “Top Ten.” In many cases we have been conditioned to believe that this list (along with other dysfunctional characteristics) constitutes love and commitment. It is remarkable that every aspect of Scripted Love is inherently fear-based. In fact, as we get further into a relationship, the tendency is for the Top Ten to gain in strength.

Early in the dating process, we put on our best disguise and pretend that we are not anything like the Top Ten. Why? Because we don’t want to scare off the potential partner with what we think of as love or a committed relationship. However, as the relationship moves along, it becomes “serious” and the Top Ten begin to rear their ugly heads. If the relationship moves to marriage or a similar more committed stage, the Scripted Love Top Ten abound and many times become the centerpiece of the relationship.

I like to contrast Scripted Love with the relationship I call “best friends.” Most of us have had a best friend with whom we could be ourselves and feel loved and supported. A best friend is simply “there” for us. Time and distance make no difference. Our hearts open with the thought of him, the sound of her voice, or sight of her at the reunion. One of the things that make a best friend relationship so special is that it has few of the Top Ten problems of Scripted Love associated with it. It appears that aspiring to be best friends may be a good model for creating deeper, more meaningful relationships between couples.

This brings me to what I call “Unscripted Love” or unconditional love. The Top Ten list of traits Unscripted Love embodies is simply the opposite of that for Scripted Love and includes:

1)    No Expectations

2)    No Obligations

3)    No Manipulations

4)    Kindness and Compassion

5)    Respect

6)    No Need for Agreement from Others Outside the Relationship

7)    No Need to Control

8)    Joy and Inspiration

9)    Little Drama

10) No Need to Change the Other Half of the Relationship

It is interesting that the list for Unscripted Love and what we might look for in a best friend are much the same. Now, try to imagine a committed relationship between couples that is based on Unscripted Love. It is difficult, yes? Still, if the purpose of being in relationship with another is to be better and happier together than apart, we must at least consider Unscripted Love over Scripted Love.

It is a universal principle that in a relationship, the highest level of spiritual maturity a couple can relate at is limited to that of the partner who has grown the least. This often becomes obvious when one person in the relationship is growing and the other isn’t. For the one who is not growing, the other’s growth oftentimes becomes a threat and creates separation between the two. Many times this separation manifests as anger or frustration on the part of the one who is committed to the status quo. Still, a fearful partner should not deter growth of the one who is on his/her spiritual path.

CTypes–Models for Relating

Of all the tools and practices that my wife, Linda, and I have employed in our now 30 years on the spiritual path, CTypes has proved most powerful. In working with ourselves, each other, our kids, extended family members, our clients and in the workplace–you name it,–CTypes has proved effective in healing and deepening relationships. For couples at all stages of a relationship who wish to deepen connection and intimacy, working with CTypes is great place to start.

Please note that although CTypes is a powerful transformational tool in deepening a relationship toward Unscripted Love, we can only love another to the extent that we love ourselves first. This means that CType is really more about a personal transformation that can be taken into your most important relationships. Of course, if both people in a relationship are committed to their own personal and spiritual growth, that is the best of all Unscripted Love relationship worlds. In fact, the commitment to personal growth by both partners can actually cause an acceleration in the evolution and deepening of the relationship.

The first ten years of Linda’s and my marriage were typical of most marriages. We were unconscious to the fact that we were living in a Scripted Love relationship. As might be expected, there were some rocky times. Our first big breakthrough came ten years into the marriage when we discovered that there was a way of living that was called the spiritual path. We chose to travel this path together. However, spiritual path or not, all growing relationships will present challenges, yes?  Over the forty years that Linda and I have been married, we have had to re-create and grow our relationship on at least three occasions. In re-creating the relationship, we had to risk the old relationship that we had then outgrown. Each time we grew, it was scary; we feared we might lose the other. In easy times and times of rapid growth, the foundation of our relationship is best friends first and then all the rest comes second. The relationship seeks to embody the essence of Unscripted Love. This means we can be ourselves with each other as we deepen the relationship. The fact that both of us are committed to our own personal and spiritual growth, and are willing to go through our fears to become more conscious both as individuals and as a couple, is a blessing of the highest order. So is our willingness to practice CTypes both in good times and in times of trouble.

If you want to create more depth and intimacy in your relationships, consider CTypes as a an valuable addition to your communication toolbox. Practiced diligently, CTypes will also act as an accelerant in your personal and spiritual growth and the raising of your conscious awareness. With a rise in consciousness comes happiness and the ability to attract like-minded conscious beings into your life. Maybe even Mr. or Ms. “Right.”

To go into more depth with CTypes, please see our CType Relationship Guides, CType Leadership Guides, and CType Books here.