I was asked a great question the other night.
I was out for dinner with my daughter and her partner. We somehow got talking about the part of my work that has to do with preparing couples for marriage (what a goofy statement THAT is!).
I was asked: what did I think was the most important thing? What makes for the best combo in the (sometimes it feels like) marriage sweepstakes?
I love good questions.
My answer? A sense of full personhood on the part of each partner. Let me unpack that, because it sounds impossibly grand. Maybe because it is.
My sense is our culture and romance novels conspire to paint us a vision of relationships so epic that we lose our sense of our own unique being. We’re pedaled the fiction that with “two becoming one” we have no need to tend to self. Women are particularly prone to throwing their identity into their couple relationship.
The relationships that seem strongest are those in which both partners know the sacred wonder of their own being. When they come together, they bring that gift to each other. It isn’t always pretty or easy but it is real and it underscores the beauty of difference in relationship.
Things are cleaner when we claim who we are and what our hearts know to be true. When we respect our own wisdom and hearts, we are able to honor the wisdom and heart of our partners.
No small trick.
But such sacred work.
Bumbling along with stuffed desires that morph into resentments just isn’t much fun.
Claiming our own being is life long work. Having a partner in that work is gift indeed.
So, that was my answer. Day by day I try to live it for my own self.
I’ll pray for your work if you will pray for mine!