We have been led by Hollywood and fairy tales to believe that once we have found our soulmate, we will be carried in that relationship, complete with an idyllic storybook ending.
Part of this myth is that we will find the “perfect person” for us; someone who fulfils all of our needs.
“We are all entitled to have a set of expectations of our partners and to communicate these expectations to them,” says The Divorce Source Founder and Relationship Expert, Stacey Lewis. “However, we often have the unreasonable expectation that our partner will fulfil all of our unmet needs, that their love will heal all of our childhood wounds and that they will be our everything.”
This is where the danger lies. It is a huge burden to ask of one person to fulfil our every need. As world-renowned psychologist Esther Perel says, “So we come to one person, and we basically are asking them to give us what once an entire village used to provide. Give me belonging, give me identity, give me continuity, but give me transcendence and mystery and awe all in one. Give me comfort, give me edge. Give me novelty, give me familiarity. Give me predictability, give me surprise.
So, what is this thing called love? Is it being reasonable about one’s expectations? “Accepting that your partner is imperfect and loving them for that rather than how they complete you is a great starting point for a fulfilling relationship.” says Stacey. This includes a nurturing friendship while prioritising that person and spending quality time together.
Love is about generosity and commitment. Just like a flower that is not watered and nurtured, if love is not cherished, it will not grow. “Love is not like a bank account in which you make an initial investment and rely on compound interest. Real, lasting love demands constant nurturing and effort,” says the Relationship Expert whose insights are derived from working with couples whose marriages have failed.
However, Stacey still believes that divorce is not necessarily the only option when it comes to relationship difficulties. Each situation has to be dealt with on its own merit. Sometimes it is about recognising each person’s unique ways and what that brings to the relationshipas a whole.
Stacey’s 5 insights to create a loving, fulfillingrelationship with a partner: