I had a very interesting conversation with my mentor, D, a few weeks ago. Now, truth be told, I am very lucky here. Not quite sure how I snagged such an amazing guy, but he is undeniably — in the words of his wife — a gem. D has been advising me through the process of starting my website and blog, but some of our most enjoyable and enriching conversations have been about purpose and meaning and life in general.
Secrets of a Happy Life: Embrace the Magic
Somehow, D shared with me his own lucky-in-love story on the same day I later received Jonathan Field’s podcast, “The Truth About Luck”. I am a science-minded girl, but more and more I am accepting that many things in life just ARE. Fortunate happenstance, serendipity, coincidence, fate? I don’t know. But certainly, sometimes the stars just seem to be aligned and events occur that we cannot explain. This, I am learning, is ok. Actually, it is more than ok. It is, quite frankly, part of the essence, the beauty, the magic of life. So I looked at this coincidence of conversation and spent some time reflecting on two four-letter-words: luck & love.
To give some important background, D is in one of the most truly amazing marriages I have had the privilege of hearing about. He is not shy about acknowledging that he sees loving his wife as his main purpose in life. Yet, despite this, D told me that he is sometimes surprised by how many marriages actually endure. See, for D, he feels lucky because he “still” loves the woman he married; because he loved her then and the new person that he is now loves the new person that she is now. Hopefully I can do my mentor justice as I attempt to explain this…
Human Connection: How Does Our Personal Growth Impact Our Relationships?
At every moment of every day, life is changing. We marry and we change. In fact, if we think about it, change is perhaps one of the few true constants in our lives. Not only do our bodies change, but the essence of who we are also changes. What we enjoy, what we do, what we need, how we see and connect with the world — all these things evolve. Even some of our most fundamental core values can manifest in new and unforeseen ways. There is no way at age 20 we can predict just how much or in exactly what ways we will be different at 40. Sometimes, we are lucky, and in the concert of our marriage, our partner’s music directs them along a rhythm and trajectory that is complementary with ours. Other times, our personal growth may be vastly different and not at all compatible — no longer in unison, no longer in harmony.
What happens when couples change in divergent ways, when discordant paths emerge, and they truly seem to fit the adage of “growing apart”? Unfortunately, sometimes we love what we had or what our partner once was. We see them a certain way and develop expectations about who they are and who they will be down the road. While I clearly believe in the role of counselling and the importance of communication, all too often couple’s therapy is destined to fail. Not because of an unwillingness to participate or a so-called bad therapist, but because one person’s intended goal, conscious or not, is to change the other. This, we know, is not how it works.
For some of the lucky ones, like D, love seems to refresh easily and relatively effortlessly. For the rest of us, having a happy and enduring marriage depends on our ability to be open and accepting, to find common ground and mutual respect, and to re-learn how to love our partners for who they have become. Whether or not this can be done is a question only you can answer.
Dr. Tara’s Sunshine Sidebar: Learning How to Get Lucky!
This blog isn’t to say that luck is completely out of our control. So-called lucky people often employ ways of thinking & behaving — whether consciously or subconsciously — that actively increase their good fortune. Check out Dr. Tara’s Sunshine Resources page and Richard Wiseman’s fun and thought-provoking article, The Luck Factor, to learn how you can generate more luck and happiness in your life! Share your thoughts and experiences with Dr. Tara's Sunshine.