Saturday, January 26, 2013

Couplehood

Full set of our weekly self portraits can be found here.

Jon and I had brunch with a friend today and we got on the subject about relationships. I remembered reading somewhere about how all fights in a relationship usually revolve around two things - autonomy within a relationship and if you feel loved enough. This is something that I have tried to be conscious about in my own relationship. I've seen couples who are codependent and even identify themselves as such. I've also seen couples who are at the other extreme, leading lives that are almost completely separate. Striking that perfect balance within a partnership where both individuals feel secure while preserving their autonomy is clearly an ongoing endeavor.

My friend mentioned a book his friend recommended that basically says the responsibility of each person in a relationship is to help cultivate and encourage their partner's independence. As a couple there will always be instances where you are together, not just physically in the same space but also working together to make decisions and plans. According to this book, true and passionate love comes from and is able to be maintained through celebrating each others independence while still working together as partners. This is a concept I can get behind and wholeheartedly agree with.

I just wanted to write this down as a reference for myself early on in our marriage. I feel like this is something that will need to be revisited from time to time because, like I said, it's definitely an ongoing endeavor. It's important to never stop working on a partnership. I think it's most important to do the work when things are good instead of waiting for a moment of crisis. It's like exercise, right? You strengthen a muscle or increase your endurance so that if the time comes when you need to do some heavy lifting or are required to run 10 miles you can do it because you've been training for it all along.

And of course, it's always important to have some fun together so that the work doesn't ever feel like work. I think we have that part covered.


5 comments:

  1. That's sweet. I think it's good to have reference points for later, even if only to gauge how things change. It's always interesting how many different kinds of happy couples there can be. My relationship with my husband is very different from my brother's marriage or the marriages of friends of our, but they all work in their own ways.

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    1. I'm brand new at this marriage thing but not new to the business of cultivating and caring for a relationship. I'm interested to know how our marriage will look a year from now and hope that we continue to grow and learn together for the rest of our lives.

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  2. http://passionatemarriage.com/passionatemarriage/about-book

    "In PASSIONATE MARRIAGE: Keeping Love and Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships, [David Schnarch] makes available to the general public his highly successful and untraditional approach to sex and marital therapy. He reveals how a passionate sex life requires each person to face the anxiety of defining himself/herself while getting closer to their partner, a process he calls differentiation.

    Differentiation involves changing the way we think about marriage: Instead of seeing it as the merging of two people into one, as has often been taught, we must learn to maintain a sense of ourselves as distinct from our partner in order to become closer to him/her."

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    1. Thank you for the link Andres. Much appreciated!

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