Jordan Peterson on Relationships

I don’t agree with Peterson on everything, but much of what he says about relationships is extremely on the mark. Here is an example from a recent podcast at about minute 11:00:

Jordan Peterson On Marriage, Resentment, & Healing The Past (Part 1)

“Carl Jung, the psychoanalyst, spoke about marriage as a ‘vow’, perhaps as a reminder that marriage is a commitment to stay together and support your partner no matter what. That means sticking around even when they’re sick, irritating, frustrating, or when things from their past—like generational or childhood trauma—cause them to think or behave in ways that might be challenging, or that might affect the dynamic of your relationship.

This is what Jordan says is one of the advantages of marriage: it seems to be easier for us to reveal ourselves completely, wounds and all, when we’re with a partner who has made that official, on-paper commitment to stick with us unconditionally. For those of us who have a lot of personal growth ahead of us, being able to be open about our challenges, experiences, and difficult feelings can help a lot with healing past traumas and can make a huge impact on personal growth. 

“[To be married] means you’ll have someone there when you’re not well, and so will your partner. You’ll have someone to share all the positive things of life with. Human beings are complicated and have such dark corners and unresolved problems in their life. Sometimes those stem back generations and are twisted and bent in all sorts of ways. It’s very difficult to reveal [yourself] except to someone who can’t run away.”

In part II of this podcast at minute     Peterson states: 

Fix your weaknesses

‘You [do] want to deal with yourself with a certain amount of care.
But then, along with that, there’s fix your weaknesses.

You know, if you’re ashamed of being ignorant — you’re shown up at a party because you claimed to have knowledge that you don’t have and someone exposes you.

You’re angry at them and you probably will, but you’ve actually done them favor.

Inadequacy is a pathway that you can travel down.

A recognized inadequacy is a gift in some sense, if it’s accurate.

You think “What should I do? What should I do with my life? That’s a real complicated questions.

‘Oh here’s an inadequacy .’ Excellent! You have a goal now. Rectify it. You still have to think how to rectify it.

But Once you’re convinced you have a problem — away you go!”

Peterson’s idea here is another point that is helpful in relationships. Too often when offered a suggestion for improvement a partner replies “Are you saying I’m stupid?”

No, the suggestion is not meant to imply the partner is stupid. It’s mean to imply the partner has a weak spot. It’s a gift. As Nietzsche commented, you want a good enemy.