Giving Up the Fantasy of the Perfect Mate
What REAL Marriages Are All About By Sharon M. Rivkin, MA, MFT
We all seem to think that we need to find our perfect mate or soul mate. But does a perfect mate even exist and, if so, does this mean that the only way to be happy is to find this perfect soul mate? What if you don't? What if you spend your entire life looking, only to end up alone in your fantasy delusion because you didn't find him/her? Are we really searching for fantasy in our relationships?
To some degree, I think most of us have bought into the fairytale myth that we will find Prince or Princess Charming and AUTOMATICALLY live happily ever after. This belief in fantasy, soul mates, and the perfect partner, are all contributors to being unhappy and dissatisfied in our marriages. We want the fantasy mate and most relationships begin with perfect bliss with the perfect partner. But when this fantasy starts to fade into reality after the first six months of a relationship, we're disappointed, try desperately to keep the fantasy alive by sweeping disagreements under the rug, or start looking elsewhere for that perfect mate. But the perfect mate really doesn't exist . . . except in our fantasies. Our fantasies are always more compelling than our reality that can become boring, repetitive, filled with logistics, bills, jobs and dirty dishes. Fantasy is filled with feelings of being on top of the world, of things coming to us easily, of soaring, and feeling our hearts are full of love 24/7. Who wouldn't choose fantasy over reality and hold onto it as long as we can?
So, how do we get over this desire for fantasy, the desire to feel that in love feeling ALL the time? How do we make a REAL marriage work and simultaneously keep the love alive when reality of the everyday chores, struggles, and inconsistencies of our partner sets in? Here are seven truths to remember about REAL marriages when the fantasy turns into reality:
Real marriages are based on a solid foundation of mutual love, respect, and an understanding of differences in your partner. It is based on two people being balanced in their individual strength and their ability to share and connect with their partner.
Real marriages are able to handle the hard aspects of life through open communication and realistic expectations.
Real marriages are based on two WHOLE people enhancing each other, rather than two people EXPECTING their partner to complete them: filling in their weak spots, rescuing them, or taking care of them at their own expense.
Real marriages are two people who know they are human and, therefore, know that everyone makes mistakes and likewise exhibits tolerance for this humanness.
Real marriages are based on the deep knowledge that it's a give and take from both partners. They know themselves and take responsibility for their actions, rather than projecting onto their partner who they feel their partner should be.
Real marriages are about companionship, appreciating your partner's differences and uniqueness, and knowing that love is deeper than only sexual desire and feeling madly in love all the time.
Real marriages are about knowing and loving yourself so that you don't need a fantasy partner or a perfect mate to complete your life. You instead need a partner who enhances your life and adds to it.
Lasting, REAL marriages are based on a solid foundation of honesty, respect, and love . . . love, not in the fantasy sense that the Prince or Princess saves me, but love based on a deep knowledge of yourself and your partner. "In love the paradox occurs that two become one and yet remain two." When we follow the above seven truths about a REAL marriage, we can enjoy the reality of our deepening union more than any fantasy we could imagine!
About the Author:
Sharon M. Rivkin, M.A., M.F.T., author of The First Argument: Cutting to the Root of Intimate Conflict, is a licensed marriage and family therapist, and conflict resolution and affairs expert. Sharon is also the developer of the "First Argument Technique," a groundbreaking, three-step method that heals and saves relationships. She has been in private practice for 28 years in Santa Rosa, California, and her work has been featured in several national magazines and websites including O: The Oprah Magazine, Reader's Digest, Yahoo.com, and Dr.Laura.com. Sharon is an experienced public speaker, has appeared on television, and makes regular radio appearances across the U.S. For more information, visit www.sharonrivkin.com.