I’ve been married for more than 25 years, and have discovered a lot about myself, what I want, what I need, and what really makes me happy. I’ve also learned a lot about how men and women approach a relationship differently. However, Christiana’s core point about the echoes of her parents in her search for a mate is real. In this way, men and women are the same. My learning process has been really enlightened through a book by Harville Hendrix called Getting the Love You Want.
By acknowledging that both the established and unsettled themes from early in life with our caretakers do resurface in dating and marriage, we unlock the opportunity to move past old wounds and find new strength and comfort in a healthy relationship.
The biological wiring that others mention is also important to acknowledge, but in my opinion should not define the relationship. I find that my conscious choice for care and compassion, thoughtful communication, sacrifice when needed and appropriate, and a personal and honest connection with my spouse have all contributed to a deep well of happiness and satisfaction.
My wife and I have travelled a long road together. Sometimes she has carried (or dragged) me. Other times I’ve carried her. But after resolving our differences (many times) an underlying, unselfish, committed, forgiving framework is something we’ve had to construct to support a lasting, loving relationship.
I think a stable relationship isn’t compatible with one or both partners looking for “what’s in it for me”. It’s primitive, primal, and lacks the soul-filling satisfaction that I’ve found on higher ground.