What are we ultimately aiming for in our love life? If it’s not the fairy tale dream we’ve been fed as the ideal, what is realistic to expect in a deeply loving, supportive, and healthy relationship? What’s one really look like, day in and day out?
I hope the following will set your mind at ease about making things “perfect” with your partner, and also inspire you about what's really possible in love (especially when at least one of you is on the sensitive side).
Obviously, there's wide variety in what a good relationship looks and feels like. Because I consider my relationship to be pretty amazing, but real and very attainable for you and everyone, here is a peak into what my love life really looks like on a daily basis:
It’s genuine. It’s human. It’s imperfect. Life with my man is real, gritty, and incredible. It’s not perfect in a dreamy way. Occasionally: we say things to each other that sting (but apologize genuinely); we boss each other around (before we catch ourselves and use more effective tactics); I fall back into old habits of scolding him for things; he interrupts me when he thinks he knows more about something (which feels condescending). Despite these imperfections (and more!) nothing bad sticks around. It always falls away and leaves us with love, a sense of growing together, and the knowing we are safe with each other.
It’s delicious. It’s dull. It’s deep. The pendulum swings. One day we catch each other’s eyes often, and tenderness and twinkling sweetness floats there between us; I can feel this deep in myself as a sense of “wow”, or a tickle of heart-warmth. Other moments we are distracted and stressed and our eyes pass by each other without recognition.
It’s sexy and sensual. It’s numb. It’s affectionate. Sometimes we have no spark between us (especially when life has been really busy and we're worn out). Other times the passion between us surprises both of us with its intensity. Daily, we touch each other affectionately: a face stroke, a quick shoulder rub, cuddly hugs, soft kisses.
We argue. We plan and discuss. We probe and philosophize. We talk a lot. We plan our week, month, summer vacations, house projects, kids schedules. We dig deep into fascinating topics: spirituality, different cultures, how the brain works, creativity, being visible in the world as entrepreneurs, etc…Conflict arises. We speak in heated tones. He gets defensive, I get accusatory. Briefly. Then we pause, reconnect to our skillfulness and our love, and solutions come to us.
We come through these frictions closer than ever, with more insight about ourselves and each other, more sure of our rightness together and our ability to handle the inevitable challenges that life will no doubt throw us. We laugh easily at ourselves, at us together.
We do the dishes, wipe little bottoms, mend the broken dishwasher. Life is full of small and large boring or aggravating duties. We dive in together as a team to keep our household running somewhat smoothly and to keep it sort of tidy (so we can walk down the hall without tripping over a toy firetruck). We get tired of all this maintenance. Sometimes we snap at each other when there’s been too much of it and not enough time to relax or be together in other ways. But we feel a strong sense of being in all this together as allies. Always we trust that the other will step up to support us when we need.
We goof off. We laugh. We make time to connect. We make sure we have time for just us on our calendar. We also make space for pleasure to happen spontaneously.
We grow. We expand. We learn to really love. We grow in ways that aren’t always evident and seem insignificant at first glance, but that ultimately sweeten life tremendously: digging into my position stubbornly now only lasts minutes (instead of hours or days as it used to).We help each other not be stuck in one way of looking at an issue, and to move through it kindly together. We have trouble holding any grudges against each other. I now can take what used to feel like criticism as helpful feedback for being a better person, and I watch him doing the same. We are respectful, authentic, open, and vulnerable with each other when we communicate.
With our developing relationship skills and knowledge, there is no space for resentment to build. We adapt, we accept each other’s quirks and imperfections, we open to understanding and tolerating mistakes, flaws, and miscommunications. I work on my patience with his defensive instincts and — to my sensitive ear—intense tone of voice. He gives my deep feelings space to exist and process. We drop small mishaps, and resolve bigger issues.
We take time apart to have our own experiences. He encourages me to take quiet space often during the weekend. I encourage his evening creativity or adventures. When we come back together our time is fascinating, fun, sweet, and even the hard stuff can have a lightness to it.
We dream together, and are allied in our visions of our future. His attentive presence melts any fear, anger, or sense of isolation that arises in me. His love and enthusiasm light me up and open me to the joy in the moment. My ability to tune in to him makes him feel seen and loved for who he really is, and inspired to grow into a better and better version of himself.
Did it all come naturally? No. Lots of conscious effort and learning got us here. And together we continue to evolve into more mature, more virtuous, more developed humans. We come back again and again to love, like ground beneath our feet.
Really it is down-to-earth daily magic. Us.
You can have all of this, too. How might that affect your life? I really want to know! Share your answer by commenting below.