A friend of mine has been blogging about lasting committed relationships, marriages. It made me reflect a bit on mine. I have been married to my husband for 33 years today and been with him for 36 years. People grow and change so much between their 20’s and their 50’s. What makes some relationships last and others not?
I think first and foremost a last relationship is based on people with the same core values. Your core values must be fundamentally the same. I am not saying that you have to be the same in how you get to your destination. In fact, it is more interesting if the you see the method to achieving the core values differently. I love the mental challenges of a debate. I love it when my husband plays devil’s advocate challenging me to look at things from the other side, and questioning my methods. It drives me nuts when he will argue a point of view neither of us hold, because he likes to jerk my chain and see me explain how I got to my position.
Second you need to want the best for the other person in a relationship. Our wedding vows stated that we wanted each other to become all that they could be, and we support one another in that quest. It wasn’t what you wanted to be, it was that you could be. That is a pretty tall order. In your 20’s you think you know what you want to be, but you will change and evolve struggling to find your destiny through out the years. Sometimes we think we know what our spouse or partner should be or we want them to be. It takes great faith to allow them to find themselves and evolve. To stay together through that evolution that you did not sign up for that is part of that vow of wanting them to be all that they could be. What they can be in the 20’s will be a long way what they will need to be when they get to their 50’s. This is that time that the core values support you as things change and yet the core values are still the same.
Lastly you need to be your own person but be one half of a whole. I find that to be an oxymoron as I write it, but if you have it you know exactly what I mean. It is sort like you need to like to spend time together and just as importantly you need to spend time apart. Too much togetherness or too much time apart can be damaging. I love to spend time with my spouse, but also crave that time that we spend apart. He likes to do somethings I can’t imagine doing, and I don’t care to try. I have some friends he can’t figure out what our connection is, but one of the friendships is nearly 20 years old and isn’t going anywhere. Those differences are what we bring to the table and makes us together better. We like to do lots of things together, and are always looking to find new ways to spend time together in ways that don’t involve sitting in the same room watching TV. Being together is a state of consciousness not a state of physical proximity. It does not mean all the things we do together we like equally, it means that we like each others company and want to do them together.
I don’t know if this is really the magical answer, but it has work for 33 years for me. It is what love has been. It is what love is for us.