Wine is known to be good for your heart, as are relationships. In fact, scientists have concluded that people who are happily married or in long-term committed relationships actually live longer, on average, than their single friends. But that’s not where the analogy ends. Here are three truths about relationships that also important when making wine, and what you can learn from the alignment.
Outward appearances mean so little
If you are a wine drinker, at some point in your life, you were probably lured into buying a bottle of wine because of a clever or beautiful label. Maybe that purchase was due to a funny vineyard name and a clever design, which made for the perfect gift for a dinner party. Or, maybe good marketing and outward appearance resulted in your purchase of a certain bottle. Wine drinkers know that what matters is inside the bottle. The quality of the carefully crafted wine has to do with the combination of excellent grapes, effective crushing, adequate fermentation, and a superior winemaker who knows the right moment to bottle, despite what design is found on the label.
Relationships are similar. Many couples will have an outward image on social media or in social gatherings that suggests a perfect relationship. Everyone is smiling in their images and they always appear to have it all together. Don’t forget that social media is just a highlight reel of someone’s life. A perfect social media feed like the eye-catching wine label that covers up the okay days (or the okay vintages). If your relationship feels inadequate, it’s probably simply normal, as most people are afraid to share their imperfections, and instead disguise them with a beautiful label. Remember not to overemphasize the appearance of a relationship rather than cultivating a good one.
Consistent tending is essential
Good wine doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a long and detailed process that requires consistent attention. From selecting the grapes all the way through proper corking, the art of making wine requires constant checking-in, observation, and sound judgement. Relationships are no different. A strong relationship, like a good wine, is the culmination of significant effort at each stage. If you don’t pay attention when the wine is fermenting, you won’t get the excellent wine you desire. If you don’t consistently pay attention to your partner, you won’t get the strong relationship you desire.
Start with the right ingredients
In a relationship, you start with good genes, a mutual willingness, and shared values. Those are your grapes. Consider where the grapes are raised and the influence of the soil (the influence of parents and friends) for optimal growth. When it comes to winemaking, this is the terrior, or the characteristic taste and flavor of a wine based on environmental factors including sun, soil, climate, and exposure to various elements. In relationship, this is the character, values, and priorities of your partner.
Learning and refining is key
People change, relationships change, climate changes, and even society’s preferences change. A good partner, and a good winemaker, focus on optimizing over time. Learn what yields your best wine or your best days in a relationship. This insight will help you make decisions that will create more award-winning wines or more memorable moments with your partner. Grapes need to be protected as they mature, and harvested at just the right time to get the perfect flavor for the perfect wine. Relationships must also feel safe and sacred to grow and mature.
Good winemakers cannot just stake a claim on good land and rest on their investment. They need to put in hard work each and every year to make the best wine possible. Some years will be favorable for great wine, and other years will be challenging due to drought, frost, hail, or heat. Good winemakers will consistently focus on making each year’s vintage better than the last. This requires good planning, attunement, and a good deal of adaptability when the unexpected arises. A great relationship has the same needs and requirements.
Life is full of analogies we can learn from and apply to recognize our fullest potential. The team at Center for Shared Insight strives to make these connections with our clients so their learnings are more relatable and memorable. If you are struggling to overcome challenges in your relationship, contact our team to learn how we can help.