Love the one you're with

shiva shakti imageMy husband and I were best friends for a very long time before we became intimate.  Ours was not a relationship based on being swept off our feet and becoming deeply entangled in romantic love. And, when we decided to become intimate, we lived together for a year and a half before we  committed to marriage.

As we were both elder children in very large families with many siblings, adopted children, foster children and cousins to raise, and as we had done a lot of that raising of the younger children, and as we would be continuing to do that and to help them financially as well, we shared the mutual desire not to become parents.

We respected and trusted one another. We shared the same ethical and moral base. Our attraction, affection and shared goals and dreams proved to be the fertile soil in which our love grew.

Learning love

During the time we lived together we attended pre-marriage classes and explored all of the possible issues and situations that could happen in a marriage and how we would resolve those issues. Next we explored what the basic legal requirements of a marriage contract were and we wrote our own vows. We also created wills and “living wills” as well in case one of us became unable to make their own medical decisions. Then we planned and paid for our own very small and intimate wedding in advance. Lastly, we sent out invitations that stated our desire for the presence of those whom we had invited and made it clear that we did not desire to receive any “presents”.

Taking it slow

I wanted to be sure that my best friend and proposed future husband was truly able to accept me as I was, and fully understood the complexities of my health issues, as well as, my desire to remain independent and free to be myself, to stretch and grow or to wither and stagnate by my own choosing.  I knew that without our inherent respect for and trust of each other in relationship, we would be unable to grant each other freedom to treat each other with respect and equality, and to be encouraging, supportive and resilient through all of life’s changes.

I sent him away many times over to form relationships with other women before I agreed to become intimate with him, and to explore the possibility of us committing to a life long childless, but mutually supportive and loving relationship.

The one and only one soul-mate myth

None of our friends, who married at the time that we did, had a relationship like ours.  They proved to be unable to love the one they were with over the long term. They fell into love and lust, married and most had kids, and then most found they were unable to remain in relationship, so they and moved on to form new relationships. Only 3 other couples that we know from that time are still together today.

I do not believe there is one and only one romantic, sweep you off your feet soul-mate  out there for each of us.  I believe  holding onto that “one and only one soul-mate” belief means that we overlook the other possible partners we could form mutually supportive, and loving long term relationships with.

  • Ideas, theories and beliefs are not necessarily truths.
  • A belief is not an idea held by the mind; it is an idea that holds the mind.
  • We don’t see things as they are; we see things as we are.

Statistics reveal most of those who did experience marriages to romantic, sweep you off your feet partners “soul-mates” that they thought would “complete” them ended up in 6/10 cases breaking up and moving into another relationship, and another and another ( serial monogamy).

Unfortunately, most also choose to have children to “complete” them before their relationship had been tested, and had proved to be likely to remain sustainable over the long term.

59 thoughts on “Love the one you're with

  1. Pingback: Favorite Valentine’s Day Song 2013 | this time - this space

  2. I glade to know that you believe in Shivashakti . do you have faith in Hindu Mythology? well studied information with working plan is really a remarkable presentation.

  3. I feel like we’re all members of different “tribes,” and we all have many soulmates when we meet others in our same “tribe.”

    I know I’ve met many in my life. I went out with a woman last night, and it just felt like we were in the same world. We are soul mates. It was clear right away.

    But I don’t know if that means we’re going to spend our lives together. And I know that if it doesn’t work out with this woman, eventually I will meet another soul mate where it will work out….but then again, I’m not even sure what “working out” means..

    So, yes I believe in soul mates, and I also think that we should only date and spend time with people who are our soulmates.

    Elliott

    Elliotts last blog post..What is commitment?

  4. I was happy to find your blog today for the first, I rss to you. I want to read more but is late. I found this article interesting. It felt it a little structured in how you went about it all but I like this because it shows how different we all are and how absolutely ok that is. I am more moment-to-moment with my life. I am in love with loving. I have had two long relationships and found them both inspiring and so intense; not always light but also can be very dark. I honor the dark as it brings me back around to the light. I appreciate them moment-by-moment but am not so attached to how long they last because I love them this moment and know if we are no longer living together I will also love what we will be then. Friend, lovers, it is all ok. I also do not believe in one soul mate. I believe we can unite with many, it is who we choose to connect with. I am not sure the true nature of that connection as I feel it is on a level so deep I must simply trust it for what it is.
    I am so happy to connect with this deep level of thinkers. Namaste

    gypsychants last blog post..Financial trouble

  5. I read your post, but I could not put my finger on it. That is to say, did you go through what you did because you wanted to be different? Was it out of fear of failure?

    I do not think we love people for who or what they are, but because of who and what we are.

    Maybe I need to re-read the article again.

  6. @Rachel
    There are many things that come in to play,illness, accidents, employment, all these becomes challenges to a marriage.
    In reading the soul mate myth, I call them kindred spirits. The more people you meet the more you see, the bonding of souls.

    Thank you for visiting my blog and reading my post. I really appreciate your thoughtful sharing with me and my readers. You are certainly correct in saying that there is always much to learn and the lessons are never ending.

    Please come again and remain well and happy.

    Best regards,
    tt

  7. I enjoyed your post, life is such a ongoing test. In a marriage for 34 years, I can tell you that marriage is always being tested. My opinions on divorce waiver, many years ago people stayed in marriage where they were surely better off a part. Than there are marriages where the first error in ways and they are filing for a divorce.
    I guess it comes with age that you start to look back and review the many years and you think what you might have been able to do differently. There is not always equality in thought as we are taught from early on how to deal with stress and the pressures of life. I call it the great test. I occassionally thought if we could start over, clean the canvas and repaint it, how would we paint the picture.
    There are many things that come in to play,illness, accidents, employement, all these becomes challenges to a marriage.
    In reading the soul mate myth, I call them kindred spirits. The more people you meet the more you see, the bonding of souls.
    When I met my husband I was sixteen years old, head over hills in love, I had the i’ll doing anything go anwhere Ed Thompson song philosphy. I was the pleaser, my children would say they had the perfect parents, the perfect life. I’ll tell you I swept a lot under the carpet.
    After a few situations arised that were not acceptable, I spoke with a friend, I said marriage should be 50/50 and he said marriage should be 100/100. He has a delightful and two children and he gives and she gives a 100 percent.
    There is so much to learn, I guess that is ongoing till the ends of time. In all said and done, I think divorce is not bad, divorce with children is terrible. More thought should be given to bringing children into the world.
    I really enjoyed your post, down to earth it is.

  8. Hola TT, I heart this post. It gives me so much to chew on about love. Recently I started this relationship with a gent that I could totally see myself falling for. Normally I bolt the other way when this happens because I don’t like the idea of slowing down the Faith career train.

    In some odd way I know this one is different. I can feel it when I talk to him. It’s weird and so out of my character to swoon (I hate this word). At the same time I question is this just fantasy story-book crap?

    As you can see I am still chewing….

    Faiths last blog post..Is There No Screening?

  9. @timethief

    I’m also aware of Osho’s teachings and quotes and the one you have cited is IMO right on the mark.

    It is better to be alone then to be in marriage and the same, alone… — Osho

    I did’n know that I have been cited Osho,I mean exactly as He had said about relationship,and also that is “IMO right on the mark”.If I knew it I would be noted it as Osho’s words.It is something according to my experiences, actually, everyone know that if he is honest to his himself.
    The love between man and woman is like watering flowers, if you do not watering it every day, to be fresh,the love will becoma some kind of acting…

  10. @Joseph
    I’m so sorry to hear that you are loving someone you are no longer in relationship with. It’s a struggle to learn how to fully accept and love the one you’re with, without pressuring for change. Perhaps the most difficult thing we have to do in relationship is to accept our partners as they are and allow for freedom and growth. Many couples simply don’t make it and that’s usually because they did not have a firm foundation and understanding between them before they chose to live together long enough to see test and see if the foundation is firm and likely to be long lasting. No relationship is worthy of out commitment unless it allows us to be our true self and to grow within it.

    I sincerely hope you will meet someone else that you can build a loving long term relationship with.

    Relationships: Good Ingredients
    Ingredients for Enduring Long Term Relationships
    Lifelong Commitment Contracts

  11. @Me-Me King
    Thanks so much for clicking through to find this blog. Thanks also for the kind words you said about it and about onecoolsite as well.

    I hope you will come back many times as I enjoy reading both of your blogs and would also like to get to know you better.
    Love, tt

  12. @Nebojša
    The love between man and woman only happens when they are totally open to each others,and when they love each other as they are,with his all grace and shortcomings.

    In fact,you should understand and love the shortcomings of your partner,to help his shortcomings become grace by his own efforts, that is love…!

    The both sides should do this, and the love will grow..grow…to it’s fulfillment

    Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment. I do agree with you. Fear is the factor that keeps us from being completely open and honest in relationship. We cannot overcome our fear if we do not respect our “self” and trust our partner. Until or unless we conquer that fear we cannot create intimacy with a partner, and without intimacy the relationship will die.

    I’m also aware of Osho’s teachings and quotes and the one you have cited is IMO right on the mark.

    It is better to be alone then to be in marriage and the same, alone… — Osho

  13. @Melinda
    I don’t believe in the ‘one soulmate’ myth either–but I do believe that there are many people with whom we are very compatible and that we can become destined to have wonderful, fulfilling relationships with. The key is to make sure our own energy is such that we draw those people to us.

    Exactly, and as you point out in the remainder of your comment above, we cannot draw those potential people to us unless or until we learn how to love our “self”. Do you love yourself?

  14. Pingback: Love & Communication | Sheila on the Web

  15. Hi Time,

    Your site is terrific. Your advice on love the one your with is very pragmatic. I certainly should have employed its guidelines when I was married, instead now I’m loving the one I’m not with.

    I have been to your other blog and I’m trying to start a new blog using word press but I really need to go back to read much more at One Cool Site.

    Regards,

    Joseph

  16. Hi,

    Yes… the man and woman should be first vary good friends before they became intimate,otherwise…they will lose the core essence of love.For love,you need courage,courage to be totally open, to show your life partner both your sides,your grace and shortcomings.

    Everyone show’s their gace,but shortcomings are hidden…

    The reason is fear,the fear from “other”…
    The reason of fear is,if your shortcomings indiscreetly appear on the surface,and your partner “catch” it,maybe he will reject you,and you will suffer,but maybe not,who knows what is going to be …there is a lot of tense…
    Sooner or later…our shortcomings will appear, suddenly,because you can not keep your hand constricted by 24 hours.

    The love between man and woman only happens when they are totally open to each others,and when they love each other as they are,with his all grace and shortcomings.
    In fact,you should understand and love the shortcomings of your partner,to help his shortcomings become grace by his own efforts,that is love…!

    The both sides should do this,and the love will grow..grow…to it’s fulfilment.

    By the way,I am from Serbia,and I am sanyassin of Osho.
    According to relationships, my maxim is:”It is better to be alone then to be in marriage and the same,alone…”

    This is very nice blog.
    My regards.

    Nebojšas last blog post..Indigo deca

  17. Timethief,

    I have heard the story of you and your husband and I have always marveled at what a *sane* approach that is to going into a marriage. I honestly believe that if more people did that there would be fewer divorces (particualrly if they are young as you and your husband were at the time of your union).

    I don’t believe in the ‘one soulmate’ myth either–but I do believe that there are many people with whom we are very compatible and that we can become destined to have wonderful, fulfilling relationships with. The key is to make sure our own energy is such that we draw those people to us.

    For me, I was unable to draw anyone worthwhile to myself until I did a lot of work on myself. After my first husband died in 1991, I was single until fall of 2000 (at which time I met Les). Having all those years to learn about myself, forgive and love myself, were just so essential in being prepared to enter into a truly honest and fulfilling relationship. For me, the key was becoming acquainted with and accepting myself. Then my energy was such that I drew worthwhile people to me.

    Another great post.

    Melinda

    Melindas last blog post..That First Love

  18. @Roto
    I have been professionally personality tested several times and I’ve also used online tests as well. Sometimes my results are INFJ and sometimes they are INTJ. The tests you have referred to are the standard ones that I’m familiar with. I’m sorry I can’t suggest any others.
    Best wishes

  19. @proofpositivity
    You hit the nail on the head when it comes to isolating that most important factor in any relationship: “We’ve learned something that I think it is essential for any couple, communication.”

    No matter how much lust and love you share unless you are able to communicate openly and honestly, without hesitation, IMO there truly is no relationship.

    Peace be with you

  20. @sunnyberra
    I’m a down to earth person and although I can write sentimental slop and even began such a piece in honor of Valentine’s Day I chucked it and told the truth. I’m delighted to hear that others felt relieved that I did.

    Thanks for commenting. I’m looking forward to getting to know you better.
    Namaste

  21. @leuel
    You have said: “you are lucky to have time to nurture your relationship with your partner after marriage … ”

    In the kindest way possible I ask you to read my post again. There was no “luck” involved. We chose to live together first and we chose to prevent pregnancy. We invested our time and energy into building a strong foundation for our relationship and love grew.

    In our case are we are still celebrating the choice to remaining childfree. In your case you chose to become parents as the biological clock was ticking. I wish you, your partner and your family all the best. May your struggles be few and may your friendship a lasting one.

    Thanks for commenting.
    Namaste

  22. @Psychscribe
    You made me laugh out loud. I sure hope all the others who have commented here read your comment. My husband and I communicate well. We are deeply and affectionately bonded and sometimes we also experience lust. We don’t confuse that feeling with love. lol :D

  23. @Sariana
    I’m happy to here you were saying “yes” as you read what I wrote. I actually began to write a more conventional Valentine’s Day post and abandoned it. The truth wanted out and so I spilled it onto this blog. Then before publishing I wondered how it would be received.
    Blessings
    tt

  24. @Clarissa Alverson
    Thank you so much for commenting and sharing your wisdom and the wonderful quote: “We waste time looking for the perfect lover, instead of creating the perfect love.” — Tom Robbins in Still Life with Woodpecker

    Peace be with you

  25. @aughingyogini
    Yes it’s amazing how many similarities there are between us. My husband and I have also passed the 30 years together mark. Unlike most couples we have only had two occasions where we lost it and shouted nasty words at each other. Prior to marrying we had agreed to a conflict resolution process ie. an agreement to fight fair and to remain focused on finding a resolution during the struggle and it has worked very well for us. I wonder if we would have been head over heels “in love” whether or not we would still be together now.

    Namaste

  26. @Michelle
    Thanks so much for sharing your own good experiences with two partners neither of whom you label as a ‘soul-mate’ or ‘the one’.

    It’s a touchy subject isn’t it?

    “What some people fail to realize is that we are whole. We are complete. We do not need another person to complete us.”

    Amen and thanks for having what it takes to say that.

  27. @Jennifer
    These words of yours resonate with me:
    There are many things that can get in the way of clear vision when it comes to choosing a life partner. There is a certain idealization about love and the other person implicit in the concept of ‘soul mate’ that can’t stand the test of years of marriage.

    Off-topic:
    Regarding how I am. I’m exhausted and over extended and because this is so the symptoms from the head injury have intensified again. Both the other party and I knew that the deadline set for contract completion was unrealistic from the outset and finally I have I did secure an extension and will now have until March 31st to complete it.

    Love you lots,
    tt

  28. @Roger
    “Even the most compatible relationship takes work, sadly, many never figure this out.”

    Amen. I particularly like the poetic way you described you relationship with your wife. We have had a similar journey as well. Thanks for entering the discussion.

    Namaste

  29. @Chris:
    “Sometimes I wonder if we can even muster the kind of passion we’re looking for unless we feel whole as we are — otherwise we will be coming from a place of fear.”

    I agree with you. Unless we feel whole and love our “self” just as we are we are bound to becoming from a place of fear.

    Love & Peace

  30. @Tania
    I like what you said: “This is a great post, a reminder that we need to “lay a solid foundation before building the house”.”

    If the foundation for all marriages was respect, trust, mutual affection and attraction, shared morals, values and goals then it’s not likely that most would end in divorces as they do now. What we frequently observe is couples in lust with each other who interpret that lust as love. Therefore you are right when their expectations of completion are not met they continue to move on to another person they are in lust with and another, expecting each one will complete them and commit to remaining with them for life.
    Blessings

  31. @Ben
    You have said: “But a question here, when you find a person whom you really love, we ought to commit as much as we could in the relationship, and we shouldn’t break up easily if there are obstacles, aren’t we?”

    I notice that you are speaking here in the singular voice. That fact is that one can find someone they do love and commit to and later discover that the other person does not feel the same way. There are no guarantees that the degree of commitment to the relationship will be the same for each individual just as there are no guarantees that love will last a lifetime.

    We all grow and change and sometimes couples grow apart and change in ways that vastly alter the relationship. All people in relationships do experience obstacles, but unless both are determined to stick together and overcome them then clinging to a dead relationship makes no sense. Worse still would be attempting to guilt trip the other party into remaining in the relationship when what they truly desire it so leave it.

    Oh she is like a bird,
    Yearning for the winter wind,
    If you let her go,
    She’ll come again in springtime,
    But if you make her stay,
    And hold her freedom in your hand,
    In the morning you will wake,
    And she’ll be gone away…
    — Chris De Burgh – If You Really Love Her, Let Her Go

    FWIW my husband and I wrote out own marriage vows and we did not commit to staying together until death do us part. We recognized that neither of us were prepared to make that commitment. We vowed to remain together until love doth us depart.

  32. @Lana
    You have said: “That “zap” connection needn’t necessarily be (or turn into) a romantic interest.”

    I agree there are others I have connected with at the soul level, both men and women, and there was no romantic development. We experienced a special connection when we first met and continue to experience now every time we meet again. When we first met we felt as if we already knew each other.Over the course of years we have been separated and then have come together again. Each time we meet we simply pick up at the very deep level where we left off.

    Namaste

  33. I have found some personality tests are a scientific way to find how compatible you are with a partner and build a better relationship. One of the better tests is available through Dr. Helen Fisher, a world-renowned anthropologist and author. She does work with chemistry.com to determine which one of four personality types you are. Once your type is determined they can tell you what type of person you might have chemistry with. The test is free through Dr. Helen Fisher’s website. Also check out the Keirsey Temperament Sorter and Myers-Briggs to see how they stack up to each other.

    Anyone else found a compatibility test that has worked for them?

  34. This is a wonderful post. I think too often people look for that “You complete me” factor and it doesn’t exist. It sounds good in a movie though.

    My husband and I were not friends when we met. In fact we ended up together probably based on a lot of bad decisions they we were determined to make right. The kids weren’t even in the picture and they had nothing to do with it.

    We’ve learned something that I think it is essential for any couple, communication. In the beginning we fought like cats and dogs. My mom, at the time, hated him.

    When I was pregnant with our first things began to change. He didn’t want his son to have a father that doesn’t have an education. He went to get his G.E.D. and now he is thinking college.

    If we didn’t have kids I don’t think we would be getting a home.

    Neither my husband, nor my children complete me, but I think we accentuate the positives we have and communication is the key.

    BTW my mom now loves him to death.

    Proofpositivitys last blog post..Proof Positivity: TV Good For A Child?

  35. I have to say that this is one of the most down-to-earth posts about love and marriage that I have come across. It’s, oddly enough, a relief.

  36. you are lucky to have time to nurture your relationship with your partner after marriage, that was what i wanted when i got married 3 years ago but my wife and i decided to have a baby a few months after the wedding because she was nearing mid 30’s. she wanted to have 2 kids and enjoy their youth than just being an old mommy who can’t relate with their generation. although raising a kid or kids would be advantageous to a couple, there are stressful days too. thanks!

    lemuels last blog post..Travel in the Philippines – Mindanao Region

  37. Great post. I’m a marriage counselor and “we don’t communicate” and “I love him but I’m not in love with him anymore” are the absolute universal complaints. People expect lust to last, and communication to come without effort. That being said, I am happily married to the man I fell madly in lust with 25 years ago, and our love and communication has grown beautifully over time! And sometimes, yes, we still experience lust ;)

    Psychscribes last blog post..“Interview” with Career Criminal

  38. Your piece reminds me of one of my favorite quotes by Tom Robbins (from Still Life with Woodpecker): “We waste time looking for the perfect lover, instead of creating the perfect love.”

    I wish that more people could see that what they get out of a relationship is strongly reflective of what they put into it. Adequate forethought and good judgment can be an important part of that, as it obviously was in your case. However, I can also respect that sometimes people may feel like they’ve given as much as they can to make things better, and it’s time to move on.

    Clarissa Alversons last blog post..Prayer for Today

  39. Wonderful and honest piece here. OMG – we share so many similarities.

    My hubbie and I have passed the thirty year mark….whoohooo…and all I can say is that things change in relationships, just as in everything else. My mother – and she is still married to my dad- over fifty years together – once told me that “there would be times when you will hate him” and YES she was right…but then there are those blissful times too…I’m in one of those periods lately – maybe for the rest of our journey together since the stress of raising three kids has eased considerably now that they are adults!

    I used to get jealous of “romantic” relationships, but no more as I’ve seen the way they crumbled, while mine has had the staying power of true friendship.

    Keep up the great posts. I’m sending a TRIPLE AWARD your way.

  40. Hi Timethief,

    Good subject to start a debate.

    I hear people talking about finding their soul mate or ‘the one’ and being incomplete without that person in their lives and I worry that people have bought into this ‘Jerry Maguire’ belief that we are not whole without this person.
    What some people fail to realise is that we are whole. We are complete. We do not need another person to complete us.
    I do not believe there is one soul mate out there for me. I have had two good relationships, my first partner was my bestfriend for 3 years before we dated and both of my relationships were very unique in their own way, neither one of partners were ‘the one’ or ‘my soul mate’.

    Michelle – Lifeposters last blog post..Live Full, Die Empty (Part 1 of 2)

  41. I totally agree with you, tt, though it is hard for some people to see this in the heat of the moment. There is a certain idealization about love and the other person implicit in the concept of “soul mate” that can’t stand the test of years of marriage.

    My husband and I were together for five years before we got married and went through counseling before making the decision (though this didn’t banish us from certain troubles …). My first marriage was a mistake, quite obviously from the get-go, though I can’t blame lust or misplaced ideas about being soul mates. Just blind hope and loyalty. There are many things that can get in the way of clear vision when it comes to choosing a life partner.

    Hope you are well.

    Jennifers last blog post..Catch up and a writing prompt

  42. Few couples put this kind of effort into their relationship. It is also true that when you see an old couple walking hand in hand, they likely did not arrive at this point on a smooth road. Relationships take effort.

    My wife and I married very young. We have traveled over some very rough terrain at times. We have also drifted blissfully down gentle streams together. Twenty nine years later we still hit bumps, some bigger than others.

    Finding “the one” is often the easy part that many do as you say over and over again. Even the most compatible relationship takes work, sadly, many never figure this out.

    Rogers last blog post..What Is It You Want Most From Life?

  43. Thanks for this post. I’ve definitely seen people suffer due to believing that they’re incomplete until they’re in a super-passionate relationship. Sometimes I wonder if we can even muster the kind of passion we’re looking for unless we feel whole as we are — otherwise we will be coming from a place of fear. Best, Chris

    Chris Edgar | Purpose Power Coachings last blog post..Inner Productivity, Part Four: Some Exercises For Self-Listening

  44. This is a great post, a reminder that we need to “lay a solid foundation before building the house”. I think that many people are looking for “the One”, the one person to make them complete, make them happy, and that’s why when that relationship isn’t “working out” the way they hoped, it’s time to move on and find someone who will complete them… a perpetual cycle.
    Blessings,
    Tania

    Tanias last blog post..Tuesday’s Dead

  45. Yes, you are certainly correct about it.
    There is no one and only true love in this world. People who normally believe in such concept often do overlooked the other better individuals who are potential soul mates to them in the long run.
    But a question here, when you find a person whom you really love, we ought to commit as much as we could in the relationship, and we shouldn’t break up easily if there are obstacles, aren’t we?
    But my previous relationship had failed me once, and thus renders me to have almost no confidence to fall in love ever again.

    Bens last blog post..The Curious Case of Movies

  46. It was lovely reading about Love :D & glad you’re having a lasting relationship. In my neighborhood (region) most relationship remains committed (outwardly) :D

    Yea I hope I can get the best for my life :D

    dosons last blog post..No God Blessed It

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