Most of us know that today is a new day. Many speak about “living in the moment” as the pathway to happiness. We all know dragging up the past is not a good idea.
But knowledge is not enough. Even though we know these things, almost everyone reading this is aware of “constant complaints” stored up inside. We know each day should be new, but living that way is something else. Each day is a tug of war between aspiring forwards while somehow leaning backwards.
Have you ever blown up or (if you have been together longer) rolled your eyes when your partner does or says something you have seen them do or say before—something that really annoys you?
Maybe you just walk out of the room, or maybe you become unnaturally silent, not wanting to “get into it.” Even though you know that today is a new day, in your reality it is not, when push comes to shove. The resentment towards the last fifty times your partner did this “thing” is swimming around in your consciousness so that when it happens again, it’s not a new day, it is the same old thing—and you react accordingly.
This is what my wife Annette and I call a “constant complaint.”
We’ve tried everything: positive thinking, positive talking, sign language to alert the other that something was annoying, walking out of the room, a glass of wine—everything! The “constant complaints” continued to rear their ugly head.
How do lifelong relationships flourish in this environment?
The truth is, many of us become finely skilled at avoiding aggravating issues and simply focusing on the parts of each other that aren’t annoying. At best this may be practical; at worst it’s inauthentic.
What if we really could start anew every day? What if we could live without judgments and analyses of each other? What if we could design each day on a white page? What if we could live white page love?
Some years ago Annette and I realized we could not time travel. This was a huge revelation: tomorrow does not exist! If it did, someone would have found out how to travel there, right?
If it’s true—in the realm of physics—that tomorrow does not exist and indeed that yesterday doesn’t exist either, then today truly is new because the last second and the next second do not exist at all.
Think of the future. The next hour is an unwritten page. Of course, events will happen outside our control, but we have 100-percent decision-making power over how we are going to create life around those events.
Now consider the past. It’s gone. It has power over us only if we recreate the feelings and events from the past with our words or actions.
After this realization, Annette and I began to approach past annoyances purely logically: they no longer exist.
When the annoying “thing” happens, it only happens right now, therefore why get all upset about it? It is just a “thing” right now and tomorrow it will not exist.
I can either love on a white unwritten page, or I can bring a dirty pen and start recreating past feelings by scarring the page with ugly words and actions. Nothing exists until I take responsibility to bring it into existence.
White page love means we approach the future one day at a time, as it is—a series of white pages. They are white pages whether or not we acknowledge it—unwritten, unsoiled white pages.
When emotions start to rise, we now make a conscious choice: do I soil the page, or do I design something beautiful on the page?
Naturally, if both partners feel the same way about designing beautiful pages it is much, much easier.
Every morning when I awake, Annette says to me, “What are you going to create today?” She is not at all interested in what I have to do; she is interested in what I am going to create while I am doing it. In other words, what happens is not by chance or destiny. It happens because Annette and I take responsibility for creating the colors and forms on a series of white pages bound together into the legacy of our lives.
White page love is the bicycle we ride through the days and years of our long-term relationship.
ANDREW and ANNETTE WARBURTON have been together for twelve years. Andrew is a real estate broker and investor, an international speaker, and a former TV and radio talk show host. Annette is an extraordinary team builder and people person who has been building her network marketing business since 2005.
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