I decided to go to Wikipedia and see how the term honeymoon period is described.
The honeymoon period is the phase early in a long-term relationship with a person, place or thing that is characterized by greater than typical joy and lesser than typical friction. Usually during this time there is much more physical contact between the two partners in the relationship. In a political context, it is the early period in a political term during which constituents are less demanding and more forgiving of their representative. This is also true early on in marriage – spouses seem to be more forgiving and loving than they would be later on in the relationship.
As expected, it’s a pretty good description of this “period” but doesn’t really get to the heart of what is really a very human issue … our expectations.
I guess the original term probably stems from marriage, suggesting that the honeymoon period might well be that time when a couple are at their happiest. A time before they find out that they each have flaws and that they really can get on each other’s nerves! Oops, sorry if I burst any bubbles here.
Of course the newly weds know intellectually that this is in fact the case and that in order to have a lasting relationship it requires effort, patience and perhaps a willingness to compromise.
This can be applied to almost any situation … a new job, a new employee, a new house, a new car, a new gym etc. As you get to know it better the flaws become more pronounced, and if those flaws exceed your expectation then you tend to react. How you react will determine the success of this new relationship … whether it is with an inanimate object like a car or with another human being.
This is where a pragmatic approach is required … what is your minimum expectation and can it be achieved? If not, then probably the up-front “courtship” (to keep the metaphor going) didn’t do its job!
However, assuming that this is a relationship that CAN work, then it needs to have a plan, good communication and a commitment to make it work.
Sounds like effort … of course it is!
One of life’s lessons … There are NO free lunches, everything has a price.
To further expand that lesson … anything worth having is worth working for!
OK … you can apply all of the above to any situation you feel to be pertinent. The situation I want to talk about today is President Obama.
The latest polls suggest that Obama’s popularity is taking a dive. The fall matches the decline in the US economy and his inability to effect “enough” change on important issues in his 8 months in office. Now that is probably a pretty long honeymoon.
However, 8 months in the middle of the worst economy of our time, while tackling the issues in Iraq and Afghanistan, facing off against North Korea’s nuclear threat and trying to tackle a huge healthcare problem at the same time.
It is a definite classic case of honeymoon period. Maybe we should redefine honeymoon period as that period of time when people look at their world through rose-coloured glasses!
This is a President who was set up with such huge expectations from the beginning … despite his attempts at bringing some reality into the equation … that this was inevitable.
I am going to watch and learn from Barack Obama over the coming months. How he tackles this “post honeymoon period” will be a great lesson to all leaders. It will also be a lesson to anyone interested in human nature. I expect that he will reconnect with the American public, will probably be a little more visible than he has of late and will keep them apprised of his plans.
He will have a plan for this situation, he will communicate a lot (and he is a great communicator) and he will demonstrate commitment to making this work.
I bet he has a good marriage too!