“A good partnership is not so much one between two healthy people (there aren’t many of these on the planet), it’s one between two demented people who have had the skill or luck to find a non-threatening conscious accommodation between their relative insanities.”
This is probably my favorite quote from this piece, about how we end up marrying the wrong people. The author posits – and I agree – that most of us are completely blind to our own flaws, and can go much of our lives without ever getting a glimpse of the truth:
You search for someone tall, handsome, rich, funny, and spiritual, who also likes wine tasting and skiing, and think that if you find him, all will be well. Think again.
“Whenever more casual relationships threaten to reveal the ‘difficult’ side of our natures, we tend to blame the partner — and call it a day. As for our friends, they predictably don’t care enough about us to have any motive to probe our real selves. They only want a nice evening out. Therefore, we end up blind to the awkward sides of our natures.”
Amen. Humility is a huge part of relationships, and I don’t hear anyone talking about it. It’s always about what kind of person you’re looking for, not what kind of person you’re being. So you search for someone tall, handsome, rich, funny, and spiritual, who also likes wine tasting and skiing, and think that if you find him, all will be well. Think again.
“We need to know the intimate functioning of the psyche of the person we’re planning to marry. We need to know their attitudes to, or stance on, authority, humiliation, introspection, sexual intimacy, projection, money, children, aging, fidelity and a hundred things besides. This knowledge won’t be available via a standard chat.”
This is one of many reasons I advocate that you date for 2 to 2 1/2 years (and move in together) before getting married, instead of getting married simply because you’re “in love” and you “just know”. Yet you can’t really help what you’re attracted to.
“As adults, we may reject certain healthy candidates whom we encounter, not because they are wrong, but precisely because they are too well-balanced (too mature, too understanding, too reliable), and this rightness feels unfamiliar and alien, almost oppressive. We head instead to candidates whom our unconscious is drawn to, not because they will please us, but because they will frustrate us in familiar ways.”
I’m no shrink, but that sounds dead-on correct to me. The only reason I ever second-guessed my relationship with my wife was because it was so EASY. I didn’t think anything that easy could be worth having; I thought it had to take WORK. Thank God I learned that the best relationships ARE easy.
Read the whole thing. It’ll be worth your while. When you’re done, let me know your biggest takeaways and aha moments below. Thanks a bunch.