Don't worry, we will be talking about hot car sex and delicious Chic-Fil-A value meals shortly.
I am not overly confident about a lot of things, but when it comes to what I am about to share with you today -- well, I couldn’t be more certain that everyone needs to hear it.
I have broken a few hearts and I have had mine broken more than a few times, and what I have discovered in regards to the overall health of a relationship comes down to one simple rule.
“A healthy relationship is determined by the extent at which each partner understands the other’s suffering.”
Love, Hot Car Sex and Dopamine
Love is fun. Really fun. Coffee dates and pumpkin carving in the Fall. Heavy consumption of pizza and Netflix in the winter. Maybe hot intimate car sex and a visit or two to the drive in theatre in the Spring. Ice cold beers and colder swimming sessions in the Summer. Throw in one or two pregnancy scares, maybe three or fifty knock down drag out fights… and Fuck yeah! Score one for the home team, you just found your soulmate.
False, that is the heavy flow of Dopamine gushing through your skull. Unhealthy toxic relationships are not all that different from drugs in regards to the chemicals they produce in our brains, one of the two just so happens to be illegal.
This Isn’t Love
Oh no! Yes, I said it. Everything I just described is what Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Advertising has programmed us to think is “Love”. In order to have a healthy relationship, it must be documented on A, B or C social media. Interestingly enough, the picture of the sunset picnic you went on over the weekend fails to include the screaming match that ensued shortly afterwards.
Listen, I am a huge advocate of Instagram. In fact, a couple days ago I drug a 250 llb Honda Ruckus up the side of a cliff in order to capture the perfect picture. But I also don’t want to spend the rest of my life with that shitty scooter. In my eyes healthy relationships are different, or at least they should be.
So, What is Love? What is a Healthy Relationship?
I think it is important to remember that Love is a commitment, not a feeling. If you are basing your relationship strictly off the “feeling” of Love, you lost before you ever started.
Why? Because feelings come and go.
Think about it; the feeling of hunger comes and goes. Sleepiness. Anger. Sadness. Arousal. I don’t need to go into too much depth as to how these feelings are alleviated from our bodies and our minds. But after a good hard romp in the sack and a Chick-Fil-A #1 combo deal, you are no longer horny or hungry… at least for the time being.
Love is however a commitment. Eventually, whether you like it or not, you partner’s farts stop smelling like Bath and Body Works -- and that annoying sound they make when they brush their tongue will make you want to shoot them.
I know it’s not what they depict in fairytales, but it’s the honest to God truth. You are not always going to feel red roses and chocolate fucking covered strawberries, head over heals in love with your partner. Eventually life decides to throw a big fat wrench between the two of you, and that “spark” begins to resemble something similar to a flickering light.
When you choose to truly love someone, you aren’t committing to a ‘feeling’ of love for them, but rather you are committing to them. I believe commitment starts and ends with the understanding and acceptance of your partner’s suffering.
You point to me the most confident and successful individual in a room and I can show you someone full of suffering. Everyone and I mean everyone, suffers from something.
Suffering comes in all forms. It can be anxiety, past trauma, addiction, insecurities around weight and appearance and lack of confidence.
When I take a close look at all of my relationships. Whether it be my brothers, my parents, my best friends… One thing stays incredibly consistent, I have a deep understanding of each of their sufferings. I unfortunately just haven’t always translated this to my intimate relationships. Let me correct myself, I have failed miserably at translating this to my intimate relationships.
I think the health of our relationships are specifically determined by not only understanding, but accepting another person’s suffering; and in turn working every single day to help them battle this suffering.
What does all this come down to? Love is about selflessness. It is about placing someone else’s suffering before your own.
My challenge to you is pretty simple; if you truly love your partner, and are ready to make the transition from a feelings based relationship to a 'commitment' based relationship -- take a moment and understand their suffering, and work every damn day to make that suffering a little more bearable.