One of my favorite questions when meeting a new couple is, How did you two meet?
I LOVE hearing relationship stories!
What I’ve concluded after my life-long query is that relationships happen in the most ordinary and bizarre ways.
Many years ago, a woman told me a slightly embarrassing story about a chance meeting with her husband. She was emptying the trash behind her apartment building with rollers in her hair (that little detail dates the story a bit).
Anyway, a new neighbor was emptying his trash at the same time. She tried to hide behind the trash bin but couldn’t avoid the encounter. A bit red-faced, but she lived through it. They first became friends and then began a slow and steady courtship. In March, they will be married 36 years and have two adult daughters.
On the more bizarre side, one of the most exotic stories I’ve heard was from a couple that met on a mission in the Andes. She was just out of an unpleasant relationship needing a change of scenery, and he was there, dedicating his life to missionary work.
Upon meeting, fireworks exploded, and orchestral angels sang. When I met them 20years ago at a downtown blues club, they had two small children and were heading back to the Andes.
Of course, I’ve heard many stories of online dating, friend introductions, old school friends getting reacquainted (even kindergarten love rekindled), grocery store, coffee shop, and nightclub meetings. Boy, do I have some good ones.
I wish I had room to tell them all.
Okay, one more. Two people were married after a purse handle over a candle caught on fire, and two guys rushed forward to save the day. (I was there, so I know its true.)
So, if finding your life partner is so random, why do so many people struggle with it?
I could ask 100 people and hear 100 reasons.
There aren’t enough quality men.
Women only want to use men for money.
Men are only interested in young trophy wives/husbands.
Women are too angry and demanding.
It’s the town, or state, or country where I live.
It’s my age.
It’s my body.
Too much competition.
While those things might be real, you only need one!
One thing I know for sure is that you have to be ready. In my last blog post, I said, relationships are an inside job. It’s true. The fireworks and angels have expiration dates; then, you have to figure out how to make the relationship work without the help of hormones.
One couple in my Getting the Love You Want workshop last weekend were relieved when they learned that their families of origin are negatively affecting their current relationship and that the brain reacts to ”perceived’ danger. It doesn’t even have to be real. Understanding these things helps to reframe conflicts and makes wanting to work it out more appealing.
No one teaches us about how to make relationships work, so we either reject or emulate our parent’s relationship or make it up as we go along.
It helps to know that relationships have phases and that romantic love, fueled by a hormone cocktail, can’t last forever. That the unconscious mind, programmed for survival, needs safety, and safety looks different for each of us. That conflict is supposed to happen and is an opportunity for growth. Let me say that one again. Yes, conflict is supposed to happen and is an opportunity for growth.
It helps to understand what triggers your reactivity and what you do to protect/defend yourself, and most of all, what to do about it so you can navigate through the relationship once you find one.
Some people never learn these things and live in hot or cold relationships, others figure it out together in a relationship, and others do the work beforehand. Relationships are just more sane with a bit of information and a dose of personal healing.
In the last 30 years, I’ve worked with many couples and singles of different ages, sizes, orientations, and financial status to help prepare for or maintain a relationship with their life partner. They are not fairy tale stories, but they certainly are love stories.
I love love-stories so much that I even became ordained so I could officiate the wedding for a client I helped with her search for love. That was so much fun!
I believe how-to stories help support us to make the changes we need or want to make. For at least 20 years, I have thought about writing a book with a collection of love stories. It’s one thing to hear it from me, but I bet if you heard it from them, you would believe it’s possible.
So, I am serious about wanting to write this book and would love your help. I want to hear your stories. If you’d like to share your tale or if you know someone with an inspiring story, please contact me.
I also want to invite you to join my next Keeping the Love You Find workshop on March 27-29. It’s for singles or individuals who wish to take a deeper dive into who you are as a relational being and what you need to do to be a better partner.
The 27th is a day with the horses who will, in a non-judgmental way, give you immediate feedback about how you are showing up and help you learn how to change your energy. The 28-29th is an Imago workshop with lectures, writing, practicing, laughing, and supporting one another.
What’s your story?