I just finished the book Wabi Sabi Love: The Ancient Art of Perfect Love in Imperfect Relationships by Arielle Ford. I picked this book up as a new release because occasionally it can be enlightening to read a good book about relationships. This one was no exception. No matter how much experience (literary or personal) you have in love and relationships, you always learn something new, and you always get good reminders. This book made me sad at times, and really happy at others. While there was brief mentions of God or religion (very brief, IMO) it was always very respectful. It wasn’t “hands off, God will do things for you” and it wasn’t “You should do this for God” – it was using God as a backbone for the choices that you make in life, and seeking strength in the beliefs you have that things will be OK. I really enjoyed that, as someone who is not religious.
If I had to summarize the book, it would be in the title line. Relationships Aren’t Love Affairs. The other makes the point that love affairs are about passion. Relationships (and subsequently marriages) are about the irritants that two people have to make them stronger together. Certainly it’s all about love, and happiness, and pleasure, and fun, but it’s also about the work that two people put into a relationship to make it stronger.
Here are some notes, and thoughts, that I jotted down in my notebook from themes the book gave.
When you suffer, when you have a history, you become stronger and more beautiful. It doesn’t damage you or make you less-than.
Crisis can be used as a way to bring two people together and make them stronger. You are forced to admit your faults and your mistakes, and your true self. The fact that you are human and can do wrong shouldn’t be seen as a breaking point, but rather a turning point.
On the thought that a baby can bring love and enrich your marriage/relationship. It is another example of how much love we have to give and spread. Another baby doesn’t make you love your husband less, it makes you love your husband more. Presumably. This point is often used when talking about polyamory. Your partner experiences love or emotion for someone else, but it doesn’t mean they love you less. That love they give can help strengthen your relationship, because your partner is happy and satisfied. No mention of polyamory (that I can recall) was given in the book. But a lot of the tools could be useful in any style of relationship.
Forgiveness and sincere apologizes are important. Don’t forgive unless you truly forgive. Don’t harbor ill will towards people while you smile and say that everything is OK.
All you can control in life is your response. You cannot, can never, and will not control someone else. I would suppose the harder you try, the more they will rebel – in some cases. Bad things happen to even the most wonderful people and it’s how you choose to react to these situations that makes you and your relationship.
You should trust your intuition in relationships, not scripts. For instance if you are cheated on the script is that your partner should not be trusted and you should leave them and never return again. If your intuition says this is true, do it. But if your intuition tells you that your partner feels poorly for the mistakes they have made and you want to make your relationship work, don’t feel pressured to do what you “should” do – do what you feel is right.
You should not have to end a relationship to feel freedom. If you feel trapped, why do you feel trapped? How can you seek and experience freedom in your relationship? We may not want freedom from our partners, but from the imaginary things we feel bind us to them.
How do we act differently when our children do something badly, or when our partner does something badly? We expect adults to do no wrong, to know better, to not make mistakes. When a child makes a mistake we may tell them what they did wrong and why it was wrong and what to do the next time. We may not give this benefit to adults, who are also still learning, and also still need space to grow.
Share the truths that you are afraid of. RAFT: Reluctant and frighted to share. These things can help you grow closer to your partner, and help you have a more honest relationship. Keep your RAFT short and concise. Tell them you are RAFT – but you want to step out of your comfort zone to share a part of yourself with them.
We have many soul mates in life, for different purposes, different kinds of love. Nurture those relationships and they will nurture you back.
“In love the paradox occurs that two beings become one and yet remain two.” – Erich Fromm
Irritation over time turns a relationship into a pearl. The things that once made us crazy can make us grateful later. Learn to love the flaws – the things that makes your partner unique. Find goodness in those flaws.
Our care takes many forms. How does your partner care for you, and how do you care for them? This may look different, and you may not at first perceive it as a care. (For instance: Cooking and cleaning for your partner may be a small act of caring that the partner may perceive as a duty, because this may not be a form of caring that they relate to.) Learn your partners style of caring, the little things they do for you that shows their love.
In order to help someone you have to first help yourself (Re: Putting the mask on in an airplane first before you help others do so) You need to make sure you are in order before you can help others. Fill yourself up with good things (food, sleep, exercise, things that make you happy) so you have more to give. Make yourself happy. Know how to.
Refuse to suffer in bad situations. Give your partner space and do what you need to do. Offer compassion. Think about how you can care for them and your relationship, now how you can fix the problem or change your partner.