“Nobody’s ready for marriage. Marriage makes you ready for marriage.” ~David Schnarch
Love is an incredibly complicated, peculiar, and potentially crazy-making phenomena. Our relationships have the ability to make us feel an inexplicable excitement, happiness, and high on life one minute while maintaining the ability to bring us immense pain, frustration, and emotional distress the next. Whether you’ve been dating someone for a few months or married to someone for close to fifty years, the highs and lows of intimacy are a reality for anyone. The real challenge, however, is not to achieve a relationship wherein you have the least amount of emotional friction or conflict. Far from it. In fact, the emotional pain you feel in relationships can often times serve as a testament to how much you care and are connected. Those moments of tension and conflict provide an opportunity to learn. Instead, the real challenge, as this article explains, is to get to a point in your relationship where you and your partner can collectively come to a point of understanding that you both need each other to learn how to have a healthy, balanced, and harmonious intimate relationship. In other words, we need our relationships to grow just as we most readily grow within our relationships.
And what of Marriage, master? And he answered saying:
Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it be rather a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup…
Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.
~Khalil Gibran, The Prophet