Companionship is a blessing. And you will do well to nurture it so it stays fresh and relevant.
All of us who are married celebrate anniversaries. For some it is a celebration of togetherness! For some people these are important, beautiful milestones in an eventful Life. For others it is a reminder of a time that ‘once was’. For still others it is stark, sometimes painful memory of a forgettable, redoubtable decision taken in a moment of infatuation. And for some others it could just be a date which is never remembered on time.
In a new world, with newer options available for people to seek companionship, marriage as an institution is under pressure. Its relevance too is being questioned. And many people are beginning to prefer live-in relationships because they believe them to be less complicated, call for even lesser (legal) commitment and are easy to get into and get out of. Now, for sure, if the focus is companionship, then a live-in relationship may well be no different from a marriage where the commitment is explicit and bound by a legal, religious and social framework. Even so, let us focus on the aspect of companionship than on the various labels__marriage or live-in or whatever__associated with it that thrive in society.
Yesterday, two friends, sisters, celebrated their late parents’ 53rd wedding anniversary by sending a bunch of roses to chosen couples in their circle of influence. The roses were accompanied by a soulful note that read: “Today we celebrate the 53rdanniversary of our parents. Though they are not with us anymore we celebrate their Life together and send you these flowers to celebrate your togetherness too.” It was a very touching gesture by the two sisters to remember the lives their parents’ led and to share that spirit among people they knew.
This got me thinking. What is it that makes some people’s companionship tick while with others there’s strife, struggle, sorrow, suffering and, as is increasingly common, separation? I can talk from my own experience. And of course from watching what has happened in my circle of influence in the several years that I have been around and have been able to experience and learn from Life. So, I will talk only of what makes it tick than focus on what wrecks it! Invariably the successful continuance of the chemistry between two companions works when they continue to relate to each other the same way they did when they met first. As long as they ‘relate’ to each other there will be no need for them to worry about their relationship. There will be mutual respect, love, companionship and a deep understanding. This doesn’t mean they won’t disagree. They will. This doesn’t mean they won’t have fights. They will. This does mean that they will often disapprove and dispute what the other person is saying or doing, but they won’t disengage.
At least in my over 25 years of knowing my companion, we have never used the term ‘I told you so!’ with each other. We disagree after a healthy debate, but one of us always falls in line with the others’ thinking__still choosing to retain the individual point of view__but we don’t work over time to disprove the other. The other thing which we have found working very well for both us is to appreciate and celebrate each others’ strengths than berate the other’s weaknesses. I have a weakness for being short on the fuse on matters where my intelligence is questioned. I am much better than I used to be before. But I will still fly off the handle when someone__never my companion, other stakeholders do__questions my intelligence by doing a poor quality job or gives a lame, unbelievable excuse for not doing what she or he was assigned. My decibel level sometimes vitiates the home environment. This is a weakness. But my companion has never told me to correct myself in a way that my self-esteem has been affected. Yet she will critique my strengths in a manner in which I feel I must improve further. And that makes our companionship meaningful. We are not just growing old together, we are growing up together. Finally, we keep the romance alive. We rise in love every single time we are together. We treat each other as friends first, soul-mates next and spouses and (in our case, we are) business partners last. So we share, we converse, we debate, we do all the little things we used to do when we met first in October 1987. We keep doing them. So, there is nothing boring about our lives. It keeps the romance alive, fresh and unputdownable.
So, I would recommend focusing on four points to make a companionship memorable:
- Keep relating to each other – the companionship then will stay relevant over time, irrespective of what you call it – marriage, live-in, platonic, ‘just friends’ …
- Disagree, Dispute, Debate – But never try to Disprove or to say ‘I told you so’ when things don’t go to a plan
- Celebrate each other’s strengths than berate each other’s weaknesses
- Keep the romance alive – rise in love every single time than fall out, from monotony and boredom!
Review your own companionship. If you find something missing, try applying this four-way focus. You may well find a companion, whom you thought you had lost, waiting for you where you had a spouse standing until recently! When you do rediscover that companion, you will recognize the blessing in that companionship!