Relationships fail for many reasons; if you can see the signs of a failing relationship early, you have a better chance of fixing it. Inspired by The Parable of the Poor Farmer – and by a reader’s comment about her failed relationship – these signs may bring you the insight you need.
The Parable of the Poor Farmer
Once upon a time, there once was a poor old man who owned a beautiful white horse. Whenever noblemen passed through the village, they always noticed the horse and offered handsome sums of money for the stallion. The old farmer still declined their offers, saying, “This horse is my friend. How can I sell my friend?”
One morning the old man awoke to find the horse was gone. The village people gathered. “You were a fool not to sell the horse,” they said. “You could have been wealthy! Now it has been stolen, and you have nothing. It is a great misfortune!”
But the old farmer replied, “I wouldn’t say that. Whether the horse was stolen or not, or whether it is a misfortune or a blessing, is unknown. All we know is that the horse is not in the stable.”
“Signs of a Failing Relationship” image by mrzell via DeviantArt
Some days later the horse returned, bringing several beautiful wild mares. Again the village people gathered. “You were right,” they said. “The horse was not stolen, and it was not a misfortune. It was a blessing, and now you have many fine horses!”
But the old farmer replied, “Again you go too far. We don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing. All we know is the horse is back. Whether it is a blessing or a misfortune is unknown.”
Some days later the old man’s only son began to train the wild mares, but he was thrown and trampled, and one of his legs was severely broken. The village people were saddened. “You were right,” they said. “It was not a blessing but a great misfortune, and now your only son is lame!
But the old farmer replied, “Don’t say it’s a good thing, don’t say it’s a bad thing, just say my son has broken his leg. Whether it is a blessing or a misfortune is unknown.”
A few weeks later the country went to war, and all the able-bodied young men were forcibly taken for the military. Only the old man’s son was passed over because his leg was broken. The whole village was crying and weeping, for they believed their sons would be killed. “You were right,” they said. “Your son’s injury was a blessing. Your son may be disabled, but he is with you, while our sons are gone forever!”
The old farmer simply shook his head and said, “We don’t know if it’s good or bad that my son is here, and your sons are not. We will wait and see. ”
The moral of the parable: nothing is good or bad in itself. Always wait and see before you judge something that happens in your life or relationship.
Be slow to judge
Why are you looking for signs of a failing relationship? Stop for a few moments, and write down the reasons you think your relationship might be ending. Sometimes these reasons aren’t signs of a failing relationship; they’re just the natural dips of a normal, healthy relationship. For instance, if you think a sign of a failing relationship is that you don’t feel like you’re “in love” with your partner, then you need to learn what love is.
Listen to the advice of others – but trust yourself
In the parable, everyone around the farmer told him what was good and what was terrible. They judged everything that happened before giving things a chance to unfold naturally. In your life, are there people who judge quickly? Maybe you tend to judge events before letting them unfold. Not feeling like you’re in love with your partner is a good example of a “sign of a failing relationship” that is just a natural condition of being committed to another person for a long time.