I’m a hopeless romantic and I like the idea of glorifying a union of love.
Yet, I’ve always had difficulty wrapping my head around the idea that my romantic partner is the only person/thing that can provide satisfaction in my life.
Case in point, when I was 25, I was in a relationship with someone who I now call my “ex-husband.” We were never legally married but we shared a bank account, made decisions about our lives together, lived together and bought “couple” gifts for each other—things married people do. The plan was forever.
During the three years we were together, I decided to study abroad in Mexico City for a summer for about three months. As I was preparing to leave, my friends kept asking me, “What’s Brian* going to do?”
It baffled me that they asked this question.
My answer was always, “He’s going to be doing the same things he does when I’m here.” We just wouldn’t be doing them together.
I wasn’t going to be gone indefinitely, neither of us would be lesser people because we were apart for a few months (in fact, he was more romantic when I was gone) and our lives would continue on as normal, even though we weren’t living together and seeing each other every day. We trusted each other enough to know that the strength of our commitment would not dissipate over the three months I was gone.
While I was baffled by my friends’ reactions, they were equally as baffled by how I could leave the love of my life for so long. They could not wrap their minds around being in a relationship where we were totally free to explore our dreams as long as we stayed within the boundaries of monogamy.
I’ve recently run up against this again on Facebook, where multiple people are liking and sharing a meme entitled, “The Perfect Relationship.”
This meme glorifies the idea of couple-dom being “us vs them.” It states things like, “He tells her how annoying his friends are,” “They get coffee and make fun of strangers,” “They’re a team. A club. A two-person gang that nobody else is allowed to join.”
This bothers me.
I feel a healthy relationship is one in which the couple serves the world together, as well as individually, much like Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s quote:
“Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.”
Finding a life partner does not magically make everything perfect. However, through mindful behavior, love and giving our partner the freedom to explore their desires, we can create a life-long partnership that helps us move forward on our spiritual path, instead of getting stuck in a two-person bubble that no one else can penetrate.
Thus, I give you:
The Perfect Relationship
He works. She works.
They split the bills.
Each of them strives to be the best in their chosen careers.
He leaves her alone to her work.
She leaves him alone to his work.
At night, they relax together knowing each has contributed positively to the world.
She makes him a sandwich.
He gives her a back rub.
They joke about what their superhero names would be.
He tells her how amazing his friends are.
She tells him how amazing her friends are.
They talk about what they learned today.
They laugh together.
Then they have amazing sex.
Days off are spent outdoors together, playing games together or occasionally sitting on the couch being lazy.
They do stuff like:
Get coffee and have in-depth discussions on how to raise the love quotient in the world.
Eat together at restaurants that have a cool atmosphere.
Go to the movies.
She surprises him with an occasional blowjob in the morning
And he responds by going down on her and fixing her breakfast.
They open their hearts to each other by always being vulnerable, open and honest.
They take care of each other by accepting they are both different people and honoring each others’ given purpose.
They respect one another by never cheating.
They never judge one another nor get jealous.
They trust each other.
Sometimes they fight, but these fights strengthen and grow their relationship because they stand solidly in their commitment.
They’re a team.
A two-person union supported by those they love and who love them back.
It’s them looking out at the world together and asking, “How can we serve?”
*Name changed to protect the ex (who is one of the best people I know)
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Kari Cowell
Apprentice Editor: Yaisa Nio / Editor: Catherine Monkman