Tale as old as time:
Man meets woman.
Woman meets man.
They fall in love.
And live happily ever after
Or more accurately, try to find their way to happily ever after
Mishaps and all!
A woman I met at a speaking event was introducing me to another woman at her table that I will call Jane. Her intro included Jane’s glowing list of successes as an entrepreneur. Then she added: Unlike the rest of us who merely married well, Jane has done well like our husband’s. I was taken aback by this notion in the year 2013 that the women who were married to accomplished men were less than Jane who had chosen to put her energies into building businesses and amassing wealth. I honestly didn’t know people still said things like: She married well as this feels to me like an idea from the turn of the 20th century.
I shared with the woman that what I know of coupling well is we are interconnected with each other, feeding and nourishing each other’s lives through conversation, encouragement, love and the various roles we take on to support the life we choose to create in our pursuit of happily ever after. The intimacy, knowing each other in a way that no one else ever will – the good, the bad, the ugly and the magnificent – and loving it all especially the crap you want to wish away. I assured her that any success her husband has in the world is tied to her and it is important for her to value and appreciate how she fuels all that he does. She nodded trying to sip in and digest the words I had spoken, saying that she had never thought of it like that.
It is easy to lose sight of the foundation we create for each other, standing tall in the world as the invisible thread of our home life infuses us with strength, courage and confidence. We forget all of the seemingly little things (that are actually BIG) we do and our partner does because we get used to it. And that’s okay. We all do it. But to pause and remember the generosity bestowed on you through the love of the other and the reciprocity of your generosity will fill you with gratitude for yourself and your partner.
Coupling well is appreciating the other person for who they uniquely are – flaws and all. When I share that there is no one that I loved more than my late-husband and there is no one that got on my nerves more than him, people cringe before they laugh. The intensity of intimacy takes us within our Self, pushes our buttons, and requires us to look at our crap that we don’t want to necessarily see or examine. There are gifts in this honest exchange like no other.
One of the rawest experiences I had after John’s death that took me to my knees was realizing how his presence, his bold energy, his sense of joy and wonder left a void within our home and within me. I felt gutted. Here I was an independent woman and he was fiercely independent too so we coupled well because neither one of us desired a conventional life. The autonomy I lived in did not mean I didn’t need John. I always recognized that I needed him but following his death, I felt the pangs intensely longing for the interconnectedness of our energy. I was in awe in the knowing that two really do become one no matter if we label our Self as independent or not – conventional or not. There is a silent offering that cannot be known fully until it is absent.
The invitation this day is to value your Self as an individual so you can value your partner or those you share this journey with day in and day out. Coupling well starts with you. Find you way to happily ever after – mishaps and all!