At the outset, love conveniently blinds us to the flaws and foibles in our mate. What seems adorable in the beginning can become annoying 2 years in. For most people, once the “honeymoon” stage of their relationship wears off, the imperfections start to destroy the fantasy as well as the relationship.
It’s easy to let the imperfections deplete our emotional love bank. Once we start taking “inventory” of our partner’s pros and cons, it triggers scorekeeping, doubts and the 4 R’s (Resistance, Resentment, Rejection and Repression.) It may even lead to the desire to recreate the fantasy stage elsewhere.
So how can we embrace the differences, the incompatibilities, the things that irritate us? By transforming the imperfections into something beautiful with Wabi Sabi Love.
Wabi Sabi Love is a great book by Arielle Ford. It’s extrapolated from the Japanese philosophy of Wabi Sabi that is the acceptance and affectionate regard for imperfection. In North America, when there is a crack in a vase that we loved, we feel it’s damaged and no longer useful. In Japan, that beloved vase is put upon a mantle with a spotlight on the crack to encourage us to see the beauty in the flaw – and deepen our respect for it.
Arielle Ford applies this ancient principle to relationship love and uses it to teach us how to practice the art of accepting the flaws, imperfections and limitations – as well as the gifts and memories that form our shared history as a couple. Acceptance and its counterpart, understanding, are crucial to achieving relationship harmony – and create love that is lasting and fulfilling.
Lifelong relationships are built on a foundation of love, imperfection and acceptance that knows no bounds. This is sacred love; not infatuation nor love that is convenient. What if we discovered that romantic love was never meant to be perfect, but to guide us to its highest form of love? What if, in fact, as soul mates – we are destined for each other? Love therefore exists to propel us into an understanding of Wabi Sabi Love. Think of the everyday example of a mate that snores. How many sleepless nights one goes through trying to block the noise and get some rest. The act of being annoyed is the perception of the snoring as an inconvenience, as a personal threat to our well-being, a selfish act on the part of our partner, something we simply can’t control. If we practiced Wabi Sabi Love, we would transform this perception into the sincere gratitude that the snoring is a reminder that our partner exists, that they are alive and there in bed with us or something to that effect. The funny thing is when they are gone; it’s the snoring that we often miss. As hokey as it seems, it is truly possible to extract affection out of annoyance if we are willing to get beyond our selfish point of view and surrender to something bigger than we are – our relationship.
Can you imagine what the world would look like, feel like, be like if the foundational premise of romantic love and deep intimacy were based on the art of loving one’s imperfections rather than the illusionary fantasy that your relationship is fabulous only when each person is acting perfectly and behaving in ways that are acceptable to the other? What if we lived in a world where imperfection was the accepted norm and was actually cherished?
Would the divorce rate drop? Would the love that brought us together alter the very way in which we relate to our partners? Would this new set of values provide an evolutionary segue into a love so perfectly imperfect that we’d learn to cherish that which used to drive us crazy?
Anyone who has found this highest level of Wabi Sabi Love knows that it comes in one way only; through exploring, embracing, and actually falling in love with the cracks in each other and ourselves.
Don’t Hurry Love
It’s important to take your time and get beyond the fantasy stage where you think this person is “perfect”. We are all on our best behavior at the start.
Take the time to relax and “be yourselves”. Notice what annoys you – your mate’s small personal habits or big obsessions with sports, shopping, work, exercise etc. Tell us how you would be willing to embrace and truly learn to love the imperfections in your mate. We wish you whole, authentic and enduring love!
You can find Arielle Ford’s book in most bookstores and on Amazon. Enjoy!