spiritual writings | retreat center directory

You're invited to visit our sister site DanJoseph.com, a resource site
featuring articles on spirituality, psychology, and A Course in Miracles.

Home | Writings | Relationships | John Bradshaw | Creating part 1 | next   

Excerpted from Creating Love by John Bradshaw. Copyright 1992 by John Bradshaw. Excerpted by permission of Bantam Books, a division of Random House, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.  HTML and web pages copyright by SpiritSite.com.

"When I started dating I was often bewildered by the strange reversals that could take place in the course of an evening."

John Bradshaw
Creating Love
, Part 1

In my early teens I worked as a grocery checker at Butera's Food Market in Houston, Texas. I was, like most young teenage boys, obsessed with thoughts about sex. One of my unofficial jobs at Butera's was to be on the lookout for specimens of female pulchritude. When a good-looking girl came in the store, I'd press a buzzer to alert Leon in the produce department and Bubba and Phil in the meat market so that they could come and look her over. This was, of course, raw objectification and unhealthy male chauvinism. That's what I grew up with, but that is not the point of the story.

What inevitably happened, to our amazement, was that the shapely woman was accompanied by an unshapely, and to our mind, unattractive partner. "It's a goddamn shame," Leon would mutter. "Too bad there ain't more of me." (With two front teeth missing--lost in a brawl--Leon would not have won any beauty contests himself.) It was also astonishing to me how many handsome men came in with very plain partners.

This is a rather raw, physical, almost primitive example, but it was my first impression of what I am calling the bafflement of love. It all seemed so illogical to my 16 1/2-year-old mind.

When I started dating I was often bewildered by the strange reversals that could take place in the course of an evening. I can remember starting out on a date full of excitement and vitality, and having it end in harsh words and door-slamming separation. Trying to reconstruct the sequence of events was never enlightening. I always felt confused, sad, and lonely.

Years later, I came to see that human beings live out the drama of their relational lives motivated by feeling and desire rather than by logical assessment. When it comes to love, reason is not our guiding light. In over twenty years of marriage counseling, I rarely saw a marriage where the partners could have been predicted. Love is not logical. This is one reason it baffles us.

In almost every case I dealt with as a counselor the spouses had made the seemingly illogical choice of marrying someone who had the undesirable character traits of one or both of their parents. They were repeating the destructive relationships they had in childhood.

next ->