Soon, I will be entering my 12th year as part of a loving couple. 11 years of ups and downs, smoothness and struggles, gentle waves and tsunamis, laughter and tears.
The past few years though, it seems as if the bumps and hard edges were recurring more and more often. As I polished my patience in a thinner and thinner layer and my mood swayed faster and faster, I harshly realized that I was forgetting something.
Being in a couple, and being in any loving relationship actually, in my view and experience, is not meant to be a tranquil glassy river. It takes work and dedication and lots of ripples for two people to grow together in the same direction. It takes efforts and words and gestures to cultivate something precious and magnificent. Nurturing a relationship requires attention and care and sensitivity, but also, heat and fireworks and explosions. Questioning the relationship and together asking where it is heading and how to better support one another is key to avoid the complacency and stagnancy trap which, inevitably, leads to resentment and unhappiness.
It all exploded the other day. The accumulation of blame, anger and impatience piled up with unspoken truths and unexpressed feelings drizzled with a joyous mix of fears and doubts created a giant eruption that made us rethink the entire relationship. Lava was gushing, burning our hearts on the way. Is it time to part paths? Do we have nothing more to bring to each other? Have we grown in opposite directions?
The only way we found to solve the heartbreaking puzzle is to peel the layers, expose ourselves and say things that are true. Like, really, absolutely true. Have you tried that before; saying the things that you truly deeply feel and think? It is hard. The terror of blowing things up is paralyzing, the fear of being judged is crippling and the absolute anxiety of hurting the other person is numbing. But in the end, it is the only way, I think. How can a healthy, thriving and exciting relationship be based on unspoken words and repressed feelings? I don’t know.
We opened the valves of vulnerability and the only thing that spilled out, in the end, was love.
In the midst of our respective darkness, we forgot what was most important : love. Nothing else really matters. Not the insignificant triggers or the missed afternoon with friends. Not even the unperfectly folded towels or the oversighted camping heater. Certainly not the delayed diner or the dirty dishes. Nothing matters except love. When we love, and we do, think, say, share everything from that space within us, everything will be ok.
Nothing in the world matters more than love. On our deathbeds, I don’t think we will want to recall that time we won the lottery, or that shopping spree we spent thousands on unworn clothes. I don’t think that when the end approaches, we will want to think about our huge beach house or that prolific contract we signed for the company. These are all tremendously insignificant compared to the love we shared with our families and friends and all the people we were in touch with.
The true tragedy is not death itself, but a life lived without splitting your heart with anyone.
If every human would stop spinning nonsense and intangible shit in their brain and instead spend time digging deeper in their hearts, the world would definitely be a better place. Don’t get me wrong, it is laborious to play archaeologist with our own hearts. But I promised, it is worth it. It is allowing my marriage to stand stronger, truer and more connected than ever.
Next time you catch yourself juggling mental chaos and telling yourself stories of the past or the future, take a deep breath and realize that none of it is real. And then, observe the sensations in your body and maybe, notice how you feel. Then, perhaps, connect with that heart of yours and allow your speech and your actions to pour out from there. Give yourself the gift of being vulnerable and to speak only words that are true. It is scary at first, but people who love and respect you will stick around, because you will allow them so see the realest version of you that exists in this specific moment.
Remember, always, that only love matters.