Posted on August 24th, 2019
You can see them together on warm spring afternoons, walking holding hands. Or on crisp autumn evenings, eating quietly together in restaurants. Or really almost anywhere, anytime. Happy couples.
Not couples in the first happiness of having recently met, excited with the newness of finding each other. These are couples who have been together for 20 or 30 or many more years. Loving companions who know who they’re with, who have come through a lot with each other, who find deep pleasure in just being together.
When there’s a silence between them, it’s not the awkward silence of being with someone still somewhat a stranger. It’s a comforting silence of being with someone well known and loved. They talk of whatever interests them, they listen to each other, they share their days and their lives. They know the history of each other, much of which they have shared, so they have a full context for almost any conversation.
They quarrel too, because what’s the good of being with someone if you can’t quarrel with them? But just as easily as these arguments begin, they can end them. There is no advantage to them in staying angry with each other. Life is too short for that.
These are happy couples. How do they get that way?
Many people would say it’s luck. And yes, there is luck in being part of a happy couple, but not as much luck as people imagine. It begins with being a relatively happy person, and then finding another relatively happy person to share life with. That’s not luck as much as it is a determination to work through whatever internal conflicts you carry from the tangles of growing up. And the determination to not settle for less than happiness and love.
After that, the hard work begins. Long time happy couples don’t get that way because they have managed to avoid their conflicts. Instead, they have worked through these conflicts and come to accept each other. The conflicts and differences between them can be large, they can have completely different personalities and interests, but throughout their struggles, the love they have for each other triumphs over these differences. They appreciate each other.
Almost every couple begins with love, and love, once begun, never ends. Some couples lose their access to this love though. It gets buried under a mass of unresolved differences and grievances. Happy couples learn to repeatedly dig their way out from these problems, to find their love connection again and again. This is what illuminates their relationship and makes them so appealing when you see them walking along holding hands. It’s the glow of their love resulting from having faced so much together.
Any couple can move in this direction. It starts not with winning the fight or having your demands met, but with finding and strengthening your original love connection. It’s a step worth taking, as you can see any time you notice a long time happy couple together.
Posted in Marriage and Couples