Anyone who has seen the movie “Forrest Gump” remembers the metaphor that Forrest’s mom uses to explain the unexplainable (why bad things happen to good people). She tells him, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” Even Jesus in the New Testament section of the Bible used metaphors to help his disciples understand his teachings (“fishers of men”). Relationships can be explained the same way. You may like the look of someone and decide to give them a try, but once you bite into the relationship, you don’t like the taste. Or to steal another metaphor, “You can’t tell a book by its cover.” And sometimes a relationship can grow on you, despite how awful the first bite tastes, like that first ever cup of coffee or first bottle of beer. If you look at the definition of a metaphor, “a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable,” you might think of many different ways to explain your relationship to a curious friend. A perfect example of a relationship metaphor might be the phrase, “That relationship just sucked the life right out of me.” For country-western music fans, Garth Brooks sings about love and describes it by saying, “Our lives are better left to chance. I could have missed the pain, but I’d have had to miss the dance.” Or some of us “middle-aged” readers may remember one of Pat Benatar’s best metaphors, “Love is a Battlefield.” One of our favorite collections of metaphors in music is part of the lyrics to a song by Rascal Flats entitled, “Bless the Broken Road”:
“I couldn’t see how every sign pointed straight to you
That every long lost dream lead me to where you are
Others who broke my heart, they were like northern stars
Pointing me on my way into your loving arms”
The Lone Star state is a great place to look for metaphors. Songwriters from Texas have quite the collection of tunes with catchy metaphors in the title, and most share thoughts about love. Have you ever thought of yourself as “The Yellow Rose of Texas,” or found yourself “Deep in the Heart of Texas,” or have a lover “Waltz Across Texas” for you? In another Texas song, “Mind Playing Tricks on Me,” is a metaphor we have all used sometime, maybe not always about tricky relationships. How about “Crazy Arms” or “Whiskey River” or “Starry Eyes” or “Only Daddy Who Will Walk the Line” or “King of the Road” or “Walkin’ the Floor Over You”? Texas crooners love metaphors!
It’s a new year, ripe with the chances of reviewing your relationship in a new light, with new glasses (not rose-colored glasses), and with your eyes wide open, blinders off, post “morning- after Excedrin and Bloody Mary.” How’s that for some metaphors?! So, how would you describe your relationship at the onset of 2017? Would you like to be able to continue “along the same railroad track” or would you rather switch “this game called love”? Try some of these metaphors “on for size” (there’s another one); you can thank us later: Your relationship is like…
- A Hail Mary pass… little chance of working
- The path of least resistance… easy, but maybe not the best you can do
- A no brainer… the best thing that ever happened to you; why change anything
- Heaven on earth… nothing better!
- Your worst nightmare… scary sleep deprivation that is out of your control
- Stubborn as a mule… you just won’t let go (maybe you should; maybe you shouldn’t)
- A sprint or a marathon… both types of relationship races can be exhausting
- Driving in a pink Cadillac… you both look smooth, especially in the summer
- Jigsaw puzzle… some pieces are still missing, but the look might be good when completed
- A golden parachute… if the relationship ends, the lessons learned are priceless
- A diamond in the rough… you will continue to polish it this year
Whatever metaphor matches your relationship best, we challenge you to “put your relationship under a microscope” and start off 2017 with a plan to build on what you have or “turn over a new leaf”! Couldn’t resist one last metaphor!