How To Choose A Life Partner

Brian chose to marry me for 2 reasons: (1) I came cheap. No diamond engagement ring with matching wedding band for this girl -- all I wanted was something cute that looked good with jeans; and (2) I was in full support of him buying a Lord of The Rings replica band (with Elvish inscribing) as his wedding ring.

One of my grad school homies once asked, “How did you know that Brian was ‘The One’?”

I think she expected me to list my husband’s best qualities, or perhaps gush about the details of our romantic love story.

But I did neither of those things.

Instead, I told her that Brian stood the test of time — specifically, 4 years of enduring my particular brand of crazy before getting engaged.

Of course, there’s also our emotional intimacy, shared values, physical attraction, trust, big laughs, and the hard work of excellent communication.

But to be honest, there are plenty of kind, smart, fun men out there with whom I could have enjoyed such things. My early 20′s is proof of that.

So my choice for a life partner would have to be a man who’d proven that he could endure The Fire, right there beside me.

Because that’s what Life is — fire. It’s the fiery fun of love, adventure, inspiration, and passion. It is the fiery pit of pain, anger, sh*t storms, and disappointment.

The right partner is someone who is afraid of losing you through betrayal,  neglect, poor communication, or even death, but who is brave enough to risk it all just to taste the experience of loving you.

Which is just…wow.

As I think about tomorrow’s money-making commercialized holiday for lovers, I am reminded of what Love between two people truly looks like.

It’s not about roses and heart-shaped boxes of sweets, although those are always nice to receive. Rather, it’s about partnership. It’s about the words that were recited during our wedding ceremony, which even today make my heart pound, my eyes well up, and my nose get all stuffy:

“Love is a temporary madness; it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of eternal passion. That is just being in love, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Those that truly love have roots that grow towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms have fallen from their branches, they find that they are one tree and not two.”

~Louis de Bernieres

How did you come to choose your life partner?

 

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15 Responses to How To Choose A Life Partner

  1. Pingback: Everything You Need To Know About Decision Making Can Be Learned From Apartment Hunting | a brave life

  2. Allie says:

    I LOVE the reading from your wedding, in fact I may have stolen it for my own had I seen it beforehand! I kept telling everyone that I wanted readings (and the ceremony) to reflect the fact that life is hard and you’re going to have to weather really tough shit together, but the choice you’re committing to is to always show up. The foundation has to be mutual respect (something you need to continually renew) and a willingness and the strength/courage to be open and honest and the tenacity to see it through when there doesn’t seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s scary stuff. Add to that the fact that you need to not lose your separate self while somehow being part of something bigger and it almost sounds impossible! But the right partner makes all of the above seem more than possible.

    In the end, the reading I chose was from Kahlil Gibran:
    Love one another, but make not a bond of love.
    Let it rather be a moving sea between
    the shores of your souls.

    Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
    Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.

    Sing and dance together and be joyous,
    but let each of you be alone,

    Even as the strings of a lute are alone
    though they quiver with the same music.

    Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
    For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.

    And stand together, yet not too near together.
    For the pillars of the temple stand apart,

    And the oak tree and the cypress
    grow not in each other’s shadow.

    • Kimberly Eclipse says:

      “…but the choice you’re committing to is to always show up.” — EXACTLY! :)

      I stole that reading from someone who shared it in the comment section over at A Practical Wedding. Yours is so beautiful as well. And it’s a great point that you bring up — being united in love while also maintaining your individuality. Hmm…I think you just gave me a new topic to blog about. :)

  3. I can’t speak for your MIL but I fell in love for no intelligible reason whatsoever. Mum was nothing like what I was looking for (I discovered after our whirlwind romance and marriage). Like you, she was damaged goods. But we are all damaged goods in one or more ways and we navigated the roughest waters of pain and poverty. Truth is, it all began to change when Brian came along. Becoming parents matured us both so that our relationship matured into something stronger and more resilient. And along the way, we both rediscovered our faith in God and that brought even more growth and maturity. We still ain’t perfect and sometimes our fights are MMA quality (minus the kicking and punching). But life is too short to stay mad (it sucks the fun out). So 34 years after “falling in love” we are still riding the rapids together. Incidentally, “great post.”

    • Kimberly Eclipse says:

      I really appreciate your love story- the humor and magic of how it started, and the challenges and hard work of making it evolve into a deeper kind of love and a different kind of magic. Also didn’t know how instrumental Brian was in your growth as individuals and as a couple. Makes me wonder how having a baby will change us!

  4. Jared Morgenstern says:

    Kim,

    You’re heck of a writer, you keep impressing me! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    best
    Jared

  5. Sheryl says:

    That quote? Oh that quote just made my heart sing a little bit.

    I find your reasoning for choosing your partner so intriguing. Partly because it’s so different from mine, but it makes sense. I can tell you are of the “no such thing as soul mates” camp.

    For me, I had known Bunny my entire life, but because of the age gap we never really noticed each other. When we first met as adults (in the doorway of his mother’s house) it was …. instantaneous magic for me. The way I describe that night, the way I felt, was like the universe was hitting me over the head saying “Hey, this, right here? It’s what you’ve been waiting for.” Kissing him, I quite literally felt the world realign on its axis. I would have married him that night if he’d asked.

    In a lot of ways I don’t feel like I chose my partner so much as I found him.

    (Note to this: before I met Bunny, had anyone ever talked about falling in love at first sight I would have listened politely while thinking they were being silly or mistaking lust for love.)

    • Kimberly Eclipse says:

      Hehe, I wouldn’t necessarily put myself in the “no such thing as soul mates” camp because I do believe that mysterious and miraculous things happen on an “invisible level”. It’s just that I think the execution of love is very, very hard work. Particularly if you want to do it well. And that’s the truth no matter how effortlessly romantic the start of your love story may be, as I’m sure you know.

      I love the story of you and Bunny! I’m so happy that you have your entire life to savor the memory of how it officially began. Although it’s so different from mine, I have experienced that kind of immediate magic at the start of a major relationship in the past, so I know how it feels. Even though that relationship didn’t end well (he could not/ did not want to endure The Fire with me), the immediate connection was real nonetheless.

      • Sheryl says:

        “he could not/ did not want to endure The Fire with me” – that’s the key, isn’t it? Being willing to work through the hard, and uncomfortable parts, where compromising sometimes means accepting that there is no way you are getting your way, and that even though it sucks it’s worth it. Because no matter the start of a relationship – amazing, terrinble, strange, gradual – what’s more important is the work you put into sustaining it.

        There have been times when things sucked with Bunny and I. Rare times, but sometimes I think fights are even more painful because we seldom have them. Times when people have said to one or the other of us “you know you don’t have to stay with him”, or when we’ve expressed to each other “if we don’t figure out a way to change xyz this isn’t going to work” – but I really think that the strength of a relationship is measured in the output that you are willing to make to put things back to rights, or build them anew again.

        • Kimberly Eclipse says:

          Yup, it’s the discomfort, compromise and rebuilding that show you what your relationship is made of. That’s why one of the things I am most proud of is our fights! (Well, the growth that happens because of them.)

          • Sheryl says:

            Do you realize how amazing it is to be able to say one of the things you’re most proud of in your relationship is the fights/the growth fights inspire?

            Also: that’s pretty darn ballsy to be able to be comfortable enough to fight with your husband and know that you will come out the other end ok. In any relationship.

            • Kimberly Eclipse says:

              Honestly, it’s taken us years to get to this point. There was a time period (the first 2 or 3 years) when every fight made me question if we should be together. But that was all just part of The Fire. And here we are, survivors of all that, and currently dealing with other Fires. And happy.

              By the way, the other thing I’m most proud of about our marriage is our Beavis & Butthead impersonation. (I’m Butthead, he’s Beavis.) A recording of it was supposed to be in this post but I couldn’t figure out how to upload it.

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