October 30, 2022

The Best Relationship Advice (Ever) from the Founding Father of Independence.

Morning floods and ray of ombre light streams between cracks of my blind and the cat cries for me to get up.

With eyes wide open I greet the day. I am ready to see the world and relationships as they are.

I have been working on seeing things as they are, not as I wish them to be.

This is a challenge when it comes to romantic relationships.

Last night I went to bed thinking about writing another article about relationships and about the expression “eyes wide open” that now my writer’s brain is searching and exploring.

If you search for this Benjamin Franklin quote, you will find a myriad of things titled “eyes wide open”—everything from memoirs, books, movies, to Tik Tok videos. (I wonder what dear Ben would think now.)

Here’s Benjamin Franklin’s full quote:

“Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half shut afterwards.”

The full quote is referring to marriage or a partnership and means to have your eyes open before marriage and a part shut after marriage—meaning to have some forgiveness in your relationship. Now Franklin, the founding father of independence, the inventor of bifocals, author, and scientist, wasn’t a relationship counsellor, or was he?

I am pretty sure I have my eyes partly shut.

I might have this in reverse, minimizing red flags and potential problems from the get-go. My go-to defense is that I see the best in people; the truth is that is really all I wish to see at times. If I am honest, I see it all and often choose to see with eyes half-closed—you may too.

I think Franklin has something going on here with his romantic advice.

It is important to be discerning before we hit the sheets or even more importantly before we open up our hearts. As a human who is single and dating, I am tragically flawed; the truth is we all are. I think what Franklin is saying is before we commit, we need to see everything—the whole person. Once we are in a relationship and have chosen someone to be “our person,” we need to cut them a little slack for being human, flawed, and falible at times. (This, of course, does not excuse abuse.)

I believe what Franklin is getting at is to look at our loved ones with softness—like the ombre light that filters through the room. Gently, it washes over everything and soothes even my unruly cat. We can be soft with ourselves and then with each other.

Let’s face it; relationships are challenging at the best of times. With everything going on in the world right now, so many relationships are under strain. This is a great time for relationship SOS and learning about the ways in which we can improve, learn, and grow together.

There is no perfect person or relationship; this, I know to be true. Even the most solitary souls need other people. The only islands that are sustainable are those surrounded by sea.

My heart has softened writing this piece, I hope your heart has softened too.

Many of you reading this might be asking, “Why should I take relationship advice from a dead white guy?” This is a great question.

Maybe we all need to question relationships and the love that our hearts desire and deserve.


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