Married and happy. The support of a lifetime for my art. The 12 keys of our successful relationship.
I often remind my husband that without his support, his encouragement and the foundation of our relationship, I would most likely have never been an artist. Here we are today, 20 years later after we met on a bus backpacking in Morocco.
Meeting couples that stay together for a long time and that are happy is increasingly rare. Passing the 20 year mark since our meeting this year makes me reflect on the keys of our successful, long lasting relationship.
1. I feel that the glue to our connection is that we both ask ourselves similar existential questions and we enjoy sharing our inner evolution. We are both very passionate about our inner work and understanding life, and our core intent for this life is to become happier and more peaceful integrated people.
2. We spend a lot of time together as best friends, lovers, parents, co-workers and spiritual companions and teachers. We enjoy simple pleasurable moments together like sitting around a cup of tea, going for walks, swimming, camping and travelling.
3. When we have disagreements, we recognize that it is fine to have different opinions. We value the peace of our relationship more than “being right or getting our way”. We recognize that when we feel angry or resentful it is often our own shadow material rising to the surface.
4. When one of us is processing difficult emotions, the other one naturally takes on the role of balancing and supporting ‘the space’ for the time being.
5. Sometimes it happens that we are both in a negative state and this can usually be challenging. After the wave passes, we always end up having long discussions about our personal, interpersonal process and insights which brings us ultimately closer and more connected every time.
6. We know each other’s patterns better over the years. Most arguments are the same old things that we manage to process a better as we mature individually and as a couple.
7. We allow each other time and budget for growing and learning via various therapies and regular meditation retreats.
8. We are not afraid of being open about our attractions and fantasies. We trust each other’s integrity, we have confidence in the strength of our relationship and we realise the value that many years of being together has built. We understand that desire arising is a natural function. Honouring it and communicating prevents unhealthy, damaging repression, as well as unnecessary shame and guilt feelings.
9. We enjoy each other’s company very much but we also both love being apart as it allows us to explore ourselves as individuals.
10. We love each other and project ourselves in the future but we are also always open to the possibility that one day we may decide to move on from each other, simply because it might feel that this is the right thing to do then. That way we do not hold “staying together” as the pinnacle of a successful relationship.
11. We don’t try or want to change the other. We are patient with each other’s progression. We naturally each have our own given patterns to work through, we accept that we are both ‘imperfect’ in different ways and that it takes time to transform conditioning and evolve. We simply see that over the years, we do become better people, which only helps the relationship grow deeper, making life more fun and more pleasant overall!
12. And last, we also both have a great off-beat sense of humour which often comes in useful to lighten situations and simply provides a good and healthy amount of laughter and joy in our lives.
Dolphin truly has been the main cheer leader for my art. As he is extremely honest, he is also a fierce critic which I am very grateful for (even if it is unpleasant to hear sometimes). This pushes me to progress constantly toward excellence in my technique and presentation. He also gives me constant great objective feedback, discussing themes of my work, helping me develop my thinking process in regards to my images.
I have much gratitude for what our relationship brought to my life, hence to my art career as well! www.artbygaia.com