Everyone has an idea in their head as to what a perfect relationship is, yet no one seems to be able to find it. Consider for a moment how many people there are on this planet. Consider how many possible pairs of couples that is. Now ask yourself, with this almost incomprehensible number of possibilities why are none of them perfect relationships?
It would seem just by the laws of statistics that a certain number of these – just by dumb luck – would end up as perfect matches for each other, but it never happens. If you ask a couple who have been married for over 40 years and have had kids if they have a perfect relationship, they will answer no. If you ask them if they have had a successful relationship, they will answer yes. If you ask them why perfect relationships don’t exist, they will tell you that its because of the difference between men and women, and that its in our nature to have some tension.
So if a relationship can be considered successful without being perfect, and perfect is impossible because of the difference between the sexes, where does that leave us other than confused and frustrated? The answer is in evolutionary psychology.
One of the things children learn is not to touch hot stoves. Ask any child who has just been burnt by carelessly touching a hot stove if they would rather not feel that pain and they will say yes. That pain, however, is a perfect system built by evolution to teach you not to hurt yourself. That system is not built to make you feel good, it is built to help you survive.
In the same way, people are confused by what the perfect relationship is. People want a zero pain relationship and wonder why they cannot find it. They are asking the wrong question. Perfect relationships are all around us but we are too blind to see them. As humans, we have not evolved to have zero pain relationships, we have evolved to pair a man and a woman together to have the strongest offspring possible. Evolution is a game of survival of the fittest and without tension there is no fitness.
Let’s say that a girl grows up without learning how to test a man. Once she is of mating age, she has no idea how to screen potential mates to find the best one to have kids with. She is naïve, easily lured in by a man who lies about his resources and ultimately their offspring’s survivability is threatened.
Let’s say that a boy grows up without learning how to deal with those tests. The boy has resources, but has no idea how to deal with a woman’s tests. Even though he would make a good mate, he fails the tests of a good mate and is forced to mate with a weaker woman, or worse, not at all.
As far as evolution is concerned, it is a woman who knows how to test a man and a man who knows how to deal with those tests that produce the strongest offspring. This is why make-up sex is so good after a fight in a relationship. The woman has proven herself strong by testing the guy and the guy has proven himself strong by dealing with it. Evolution then rewards them with great sexual pleasure because they know each other to be strong and great for mating.
As we grow up, we learn from our parents how to deal with the opposite sex. This is evolution’s perfect system. You see, you are the descendant of a long line of ancestors who successfully had offspring strong enough to survive and then have strong offspring of their own. This is evolution’s idea of a perfect relationship. The perfect relationship produces the strongest offspring possible and that requires a certain amount of tension. Humans are not designed to have relationships without “pain” – we are designed to have relationships that produce strong kids.
So am I telling you to start seeking out relationships full of pain? Not at all. That would be like me telling a child to keep on burning their hand on a hot stove. That would be insane. I’m telling you to relax and see things for how they are. Ask a couple who has been married 40 years if they have ever fought and they will say yes. They will tell you that it’s not about preventing conflict, but how they deal with that conflict.
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