(by guest blogger Ken Meyers) I have read and reread Pride and Prejudice. I just love it. I love it so much that I have also read many of the fan fiction based on the classic story, have seen all the film adaptations, and even checked out the YouTube videos about it. There is just something so compelling about the relationship between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy. I mean, by all rights in this modern era there should not be that same draw, but there is. I think the story still holds true because our modern relationships have not really changed that much from theirs. Although we might not be dating to find a rich mate who can take care of us, we still have the same misunderstandings and miscommunication snag up our relationship progression. Here are a few reasons why I think that every relationship is, in some ways, like the one between Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy:
Communication – First of all is communication. Communication is so vital to a successful relationship. That is why it is so hard for Elizabeth and Darcy to get together. They simple refuse to communicate with one another. The communication they do have is so limited and they have such little knowledge of each other’s backgrounds that they are bound to misunderstand each other. We often think that communication is about words, and it is, but it is also about understanding where the words come from. Even words like “fine”, “okay” and “sure” can have totally different meanings based on the context and background between two people.
In my experience communication is the only way to form a strong and lasting bond with another person. When my spouse and I first started dating we had very limited communication. We lived some distance away from each other and only saw each other on weekends. During the week I would hear nothing from my future spouse and I started to feel hurt. I would try to call but I did not want to feel like I was the only one invested in the relationship. Finally I confronted my future spouse and expressed my feeling. By communicating my desires I found out that previous relationships had taught my spouse to take a hands off approach. By communicating my desires we found a good balance that allowed us to form a deeper relationship.
2. Misunderstanding – Even when communication takes place there can still be misunderstandings. This is especially hard when there are others influencing your view of another person. In Elizabeth’s life Wickham told her many things about Darcy. Although some of these things were true, from a certain point of view, it tainted her view of Darcy. This led to many misunderstandings between them that were only cleared up by Elizabeth’s rant and Darcy’s note in reply.
It is very hard not to listen to others when you have just met a person. In fact sometimes you should listen to others. For example, what if Darcy had told someone about Wickham? Would that have influenced the outcome of the story? However some people just like to gossip, spread lies and tear others down. Even your friends can be guilty of that. They can say critical things that make you look at your partner in a new light or bring up old hurts that you had forgotten. That is why it is so important to watch your words. You do not want to hurt someone’s relationship because of idle gossip. If you need to warn them about a Wickham type of person then by all means do so, but avoid spreading rumors or bringing up innocent mistakes.
3. Baggage – A big obstacle between Darcy and Elizabeth’s relationship was the baggage they both carried. Elizabeth resented the social standing of Darcy because it was what her mother desired and it seemed like he had everything in life but was not happy with it. She did not want to marry, especially not for money, and thus immediately saw Darcy in a poor light. Darcy was burdened with the need to do the ‘proper’ thing and take care of his family’s reputation. He was not in the right frame of mind to get married as he was concerned with more important matters, including the terrible hurt his sister went through and the continued impudence of Wickham.We all have baggage that we take into relationships. Past partners make their mark on us. Maybe we had been in love before and had our hearts broken. Now we don’t fall in love so easily or quickly. Or maybe we have been hurt by someone with the same hair color, or same eyes or skin. That is enough to make us shy away from pursuing a relationship with another person. Once you enter a relationship however you start to see other triggers. Maybe they love baseball like your abusive father did, or they don’t like the same style of music as you do and you fear they will ridicule you like one of your friends did. By communicating with each other you can avoid reacting based on your baggage. Instead you can share your fears and they can support you. Maybe they can talk to their friends about baseball and not talk about it with you. Maybe they are willing to find music you both can enjoy. You never know until you ask.
4. Family problems – Speaking of baggage, we all have family problems. Elizabeth had her interfering mother and inappropriate sisters. Darcy had his harsh aunt and lonely sister. Believe it or not family does make a difference. However unlike Darcy’s critical analysis of Elizabeth’s family you should not ridicule your partner’s family members. Everyone has different standards and ways of dealing with things. Just because your parents fight quietly does not mean they have fewer problems then your partner’s parents who fight loudly. Keep in mind that we all have people in our lives that we love but are sometimes embarrassing.Unless you are alone in the world you will have to deal with family issues. Some of us are close to our families and they are involved in our lives. Others are more distant and only show up around holidays. However we should learn to respect our partners enough to keep our opinions to ourselves. People are usually fully aware of the faults that their family has, it is not your place to point it out. Be there to support them and don’t judge.
5. Raised differently – Another big problem that came up between Elizabeth and Darcy was the fact that they came from different worlds. She was a country girl, raised simply and not very ‘accomplished’. He was a well-bred, rich and very educated urbane gentleman. Can you imagine what the differences in their childhoods were like? While she was walking through the gardens and reading her books he was hard at his studies and trying to balance the family finances. It is no wonder that they could not see eye to eye for a long time.You have to remember that no matter how close you and your partner feel you were raised very differently. Even next door neighbors have different attitudes and beliefs. That is why it is vital to communicate. Do not assume the other person thinks just like you do. Sometimes it is hard to talk about issues like kids or money but you want to make sure you are both on the same page. I know many people who assumed their partner wanted the same things out of life that they did only to find out later on that they had very different ideas.
6. Effort - It takes a lot of effort to make a relationship work. Darcy had to prove to Elizabeth that he was not the big clod he looked like and she had to temper her criticism and learn to see the man beneath the harsh exterior. Compromise is a great way to love another person. You and your partner will not always agree about everything but if you make the effort to see each other’s points of view and bend where you can you will have a harmonious future together. It took a lot of bending on both their parts to get them to the place that they could be together, but I think you will agree with me that it was worth the effort.7. Break away from past – Last but not least you need to break away from your past. Elizabeth and Darcy made a new life for themselves separate from her family and from his. By separating their relationship from their families and past they were able to build a new life together. Sometimes we do not realize how greatly our behavior is affected by our past. If you have always grown up in the same place or had relationships with the same circle of people it can be hard to allow a new person into your life. However if you want a successful relationship you have to learn to draw boundaries between the past and the present. Sometimes that can mean moving somewhere else, sometimes it can mean finding a new group of friends and sometimes it can even mean separating from family for a while.Darcy’s aunt was not pleased by their wedding, but he did not let that temper his happiness. Instead he focused on the relationship with Elizabeth and let his aunt do as she pleased. Similarly, Lydia’s inopportune marriage could have made Elizabeth feel guilty and stress but she focused on Darcy and their happiness instead. By letting ho of the hurts and difficulties of the past you can build a bright future together.
As you can see there are many correlations that can be drawn between modern relationships and the relationship between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy. That is why we are still watching and reading their story to this day. Thankfully we can learn a lot form their difficulties and avoid such huge misunderstandings in our own lives. Hopefully we can all end up as happy as they did.
Ken Myers is the founder of http://www.longhornleads.com/ & has learned over the years the importance of focusing on what the customer is looking for and literally serving it to them. He doesn’t try to create a need, instead he tries to satisfy the existing demand for information on products and services.