yet another birthday and wondering if I will ever find a partner
with whom I can imagine spending the rest of my life, I have begun
to wonder about what is really important in a relationship.
I have long
believed (and still do to a large extent) that a life partner should
be someone who, on at least some level, stimulates you in four ways:
intellectually, emotionally, spiritually and physically. Not all
of these things will ever exist at the same level, but there has
to be at least a part of each in order to sustain a relationship
For a while
I thought that even three out of four was all right. I was with
someone for a long time who was just wonderful on the intellectual,
emotional and spiritual levels, but I was not attracted to him physically.
I thought to myself “Well, sex becomes less passionate as time
goes on, and it’s not the most important thing certainly.”
But while it’s not the most important thing, it is still important,
and no matter how fantastic someone is in all other respects, if
you don’t have that physical “spark” it’s just not going
to work in the long-term.
a very spiritual person myself (though not religious), I dated someone
who was on exactly the same spiritual path I was on and I figured
it would be absolutely wonderful. But he was so devoted to his practice,
above all else, that I could never form a close enough emotional
connection, and we only had sex every six weeks or so since he felt
that sex drained the energy that one needed to find spiritual enlightenment.
So I had to give up on that relationship too. How could I compete
Then I dated
someone who didn’t believe in anything. Now that was a challenge.
I don’t care what someone’s spiritual beliefs are or if they have
never set foot in any type of religious organization (and I don’t
blame them), but as far as I’m concerned, I can’t be with someone
who has no faith in anything. Even Einstein, one of the greatest
scientific minds in history, said “The most beautiful emotion
we can experience is the mystical. It is the power of all true art
and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer
wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead.” I’m not
into dating dead people.
Now in my late-30’s
I am beginning to wonder if, as we get older, it gets easier or
more difficult for us to find a life companion. The nice thing is
that I know who I am and what I want, which is something I can’t
say I felt in my 20’s. However, in knowing what I want I also know
what I don’t want, and I may miss opportunities to meet someone
who doesn’t fit into my pre-conceived notion of who I think is right
There are some
societies where people don’t even meet thier spouse until the day
of their wedding. Arranged marriages are more common in the world
than we imagine. Going into a marriage of this type, how can one
have any expectations at all, aside from hoping your partner will
not be abusive. When you have no expectations you can’t be disappointed.
of the day-to-day life of a marriage consists of very ordinary things.
It’s not like you will be discussing Sartre every morning over your
Rice Krispies. It’s about who gets to wash the dog, fix the heater,
pick up the kids from school, and the myriad of things that make
up 90 percent of living. Nevertheless, that other 10 percent is
very important too, and it’s what makes the other 90 percent worthwhile.
After a long
day at work where the boss has berated you, then having battled
your way through traffic and rude drivers so you can get to the
grocery store where you wait a half-hour on line to check out amid
screaming children, and finally arrive home, it’s nice to know there
is someone there who you can talk to, who understands who you are,
both your strengths and your flaws, and who loves and respects you
anyway. And when I find someone who fits that description, I know
I will have found the right one for me.