If you haven’t seen the so-called Love Letter from Brad Pitt to his wife then check it out here.
One thing Snopes notes is that the sentence structure and linguistic issues indicate it likely wasn’t written by a native English speaker. That might also account for the cultural weirdness of the final sentence: “ And then I realized one thing: “The woman is the reflection of her man”" A feminist like Angelina would have his balls in her claws in a heartbeat with a statement like this.
Our culture is a little more than obsessed with this idea of the fallen female in need of being rescued by the strong male who showers her with gifts and love. We focus on the stereotypical gender roles but also the weird belief that showering someone with gifts and attention could somehow fix anything …. which ignores pretty much any psychological convention about someone suffering from depression.
But let’s remove for a moment that this is about Brad and Angelina and let’s remove the gender from the final statement: ”A partner is the reflection of their partner.”
There is some truth in the idea that misery begets misery. When your partner is suffering from depression it can be easy to get caught up in the cycle of sadness as they work through their own issues. When I experienced my occupational burnout I lost my entire sense of self and fell into a pretty serious depression. I was lucky – it took me from about August until November to work though it and find myself again. Once I did, I was prancing around to Katy Perry, cracking bad jokes like I always do, and working out every day. But for most people it takes a lot more time, work and pharmaceuticals.
The true measure of a partner is their ability to stick it through and be emotionally supportive and be loyal. Dudes don’t exactly have the best reputation for sticking around when the times get tough and they don’t know what to do. I think that’s another reason a letter like this lends itself to virality. We prize the man and frankly woman who “does the right thing” and stands beside his or her partner that is a shadow of her former self. Hell there’s a whole Tammy Wynette song about it.
By that same token, a couple can also serve as each other’s light. There’s an old philosophical idea that when you look at other people you see a mirror of who you also are. When we notice positive attributes within another person, we are seeing the same goodness that resides within ourselves. Likewise, when we observe negative traits within another, we are witnessing those parts of ourselves that we do not like. So, it’s a trade off. Sometimes you need support and sometimes you need to give support. I’m not saying be co-dependent, but just like friendships, you celebrate each other and find the goodness. And when you see yourself through your partners eyes you should be able to fall in love with yourself in a way.