Is Your Relationship a Private Island?

A reflection from Carol and Paul.

June 15, 2018

Our love affair began with an unofficial motto: “We get to make it up.” That triumphant insight came from the 56 years of life that had flowed under the bridge before we found each other. Marriages, divorces and bereavement had taught us that our marriage must be our own creation, not a repetition of our past.

We are the ones who create our relationship!

Or are we?

Are we – or you – creating a “private island” relationship independent of influences from family, friends, culture and community?  And is that what we want?

As new lovers (though not young ones), eager to learn how to be the authors of a fabulous marriage, we took ourselves to couples’ retreats and workshops. And we did learn, mostly from other couples who were creating passionate, loving and satisfying relationships of their own.

We were so busy exploring and learning that for a while we overlooked what might be our most important discovery:

It isn’t just that we love the people we explore with; we love US when we are in their company.

In these special communities, we and our marriage are more vibrant, more alive. In these communities, our love for each other shows up brighter, more exciting than it does elsewhere.

In some communities something is missing … us! we’re not fully self-expressed as a couple. In neighborhood gatherings, for instance, we’re a bit … muted; there are precious parts of our relationship that we don’t let shine.

What about your relationship? Do some communities encourage your couple to show up bigger, brighter, loving and adventurous?

Which communities have your relationship thrive?

Do this five-minute exercise:

On the left side of a piece of paper, make a list of communities in which you feel your relationship is nourished, and your love expands and thrives. In a parallel column, list communities where your relationship mutes itself, tries to fit in, or hides. With your loving partner, tell each other how that feels.

We so love the community events where our relationship thrives that we began to host them. We got ourselves trained to lead them, and even to invent them.

And we continue to ask, “What nourishment can our marriage get from the communities in which our relationship thrives?”

Sometimes it’s delicious to have our marriage be our own private island, where we gaze – literally and metaphorically – into each other’s eyes. But we crave the nourishment we get from communities of adventurous couples who tie up at our dock with boatloads of wisdom, enthusiasm and love.

We’d love to hear what communities nourish your relationship. Share with us on our Facebook page or feel free to DM us!

Did we mention that one of the communities that nourish us is you?!

Carol & Paul

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