My wife and I were speaking to a very good friend of ours who was inquiring about our relationship of seven and a half years (almost 3 years married). At one point she said, “You guys are lucky,” to which my wife promptly responded, “Well, no.” Because I know her so well, I knew what she meant before she began to explain.
Her point was that it upsets her when she speaks to single people who envy those of us in relationships as if finding someone is the be-all, end-all. Not that our friend was saying this, mind you, but her comment spurned this topic. It certainly began turning the wheels in my head.
It is a natural human instinct to desire a partner, someone with whom to share this pain and joy that we call life. Some go through life constantly searching for the right someone, believing that person will cure them of their suffering.
But this is not the case.
In fact, if I’ve learned anything in my almost three years of marriage, it’s this: Nothing and no one else can bring you salvation. That power rests solely within you.
If we are constantly looking to our significant others (whether real or fantasized) to bring us happiness, to take care of us, to love us, then we are not seeing the other person. When we seek these ideals in another person, it becomes all about ME. I want you to make me happy. I want you to care for me. But what are we truly saying? “I want you to serve me. I need you to fill this void, make up for my insecurities, make me complete.”
True, two people in a loving relationship make a whole. But that whole can only be realized if the two halves are both very wholesome halves. Stay with me.
Think of cutting a pie in half. Separated, each half makes a whole. Now imagine one or both halves are missing large chunks. Put them back together and you no longer have a whole pie. You have the suggestion of it, but the missing chunks render it incomplete. If we are to truly love another person, we must first attend to ourselves.
Loving someone means having the courage to say, “This is who I am, this is my baggage. I accept it and will continue to sort through it. I realize and accept that you have your own baggage to sort through, but if you’re willing, I’d like to walk by your side so we can share each other’s burden from time to time.”
We must acknowledge this wholeness in ourselves as well as in each other. We must remember that we do not need another to make us happy, but rather we may choose to walk a path with someone else because his/her existence enriches our own.
Realize, that this is no easy task if one is searching desperately for a special someone, or especially when one is in the throes of puppy love and nothing can break the euphoria. But this choice to acknowledge the whole becomes increasingly important as you commit to a long-term relationship, because when the honey-moon period of love ends, sometimes things go awry.
Something feels lost and couples begin to quarrel and blame each other for their unhappiness. More than not, both parties are to blame for not tending to their own needs first. However, if we can make the decision to recognize our completeness at that point or before the bliss of new-love wears off, or even before falling in love then we give ourselves a real chance to develop a love that knows no bounds. We give ourselves access to the eternal present.
Finding love is not the end of the line, it is simply another (often difficult, but extremely rewarding) step in each person’s individual journey.
By Terence Stone
Read Part 2…
Chief Editor and Founder of Urban Spiritual, I’m a classically trained singer and actor living in New York City, who has performed in the U.S. and Europe. I’m also a writer, traveller, meditator, arts-lover, and well-being enthusiast.