"It isn't until you finally run up against your deepest demons, your unsolvable problems - the ones that make you truly who you are - that you're ready to find a life long mate. Only then do you finally know what you're looking for. You're looking for the wrong person. But not just any wrong person: the right wrong person - someone you lovingly gaze upon and think, 'This is the problem I want to have.'"
Andrew Boyd, Daily Afflictions, p.39
I learn more from my clients than they learn from me.
It took me years to learn from a client that one of the biggest tragedies in life, and we never talk about it in our culture, is to fall in love with someone who isn't any good for us. And it happens all the time. Andrew Boyd is one of the few people I have ever read or heard, write or talk about this.
I have witnessed people on their third alcoholic marriage who, after the first, swore to God they would never marry another alcoholic. I have witnessed people get out of one abusive relationship and within a year get into another one just as abusive, if not worse.
I muse: What does it take for people to learn?
As Andrew Boyd says, you have to get your own stuff straigtened out first. Until we get our own stuff straightened out, we are bent, we are crooked, and we are looking for someone who will complement our deficits, our weaknesses, our blind spots. And in an uncanny way, like gears in a transmission or the cogs in a clock, life grants us our wish.
As Tina Turner sang, "What's love got to do with it. It's just a second hand emotion."
As Andrew Boyd says, "I find that special person for me who is wrong in just the right way."
So, when I do pre-marital counseling, I am looking for some special awareness in the partners in the couple. I ask them three questions:
- How is your partner going to hurt you when they get angry, resentful, bored?
- How are you going to handle it when they do?
- How is your partner going to handle his/her guilt when they realize that they have hurt the most the one they claim to love the most?
We all have a shadow side, a dark side. So many people say to me, "If I knew then, what I know now, I wouldn't have done it." And I wonder to myself and sometimes ask, "Why didn't you know?"
Love can be a hurtful and screwed up thing. It takes two to tango. The heart often has a reasoning all it's own. As Socrates said, "Know thyself."
Loving someone is not a good reason to marry someone. People do it all the time and in 50% of the situations, it doesn't work out. There is much more to marriage than love. Love is the icing on the cake, but not the cake. Marriage is about committment, not love. When love comes to marriage, it is a decision not a feeling.
Before you get married, choose wisely. Otherwise, just hang out, get to know each other, and help each other come to understand and exorcise your demons.