As mentioned in my last post, I was recently reading Journey of the Heart by John Welwood. If you have any interest in literature on relationships, John Welwood is the BEST! He gives voice to my own perspective which is that a relationship is a journey, not a destination.
Some people seem to be capable of making “relationship as a destination” work. They think, “I want to marry someone who shares my values and we’ll have children together,” then they get married and have children. According to the statistics, about 50% stay married (happily?) and about 50% get divorced. That’s part of the journey too.
Viewing a relationship as a journey rather than a destination allows us to let go of a specific outcome; we can let go of seeing the other as an object of pleasure, security, legitimacy, ego-gratification, a baby-maker, a provider, or otherwise the fulfillment of one’s desires and happiness. We can instead just let them be who they are and love them for who they are. Sometimes they’ll fulfill our desires and bring happiness, but that’s a by-product of something more fundamental, which is loving, appreciating, and relating to another human being for who they are, rather than seeing them as a personal-fulfillment object.
If you expect your lover (or friend) to be a “personal-fulfillment object,” I can assure you, they will eventually disappoint you. After all, they are human. And if they expect you to fulfill all their desires and always make them happy, you will eventually disappoint them too.
By the way, this is not an excuse for staying in abusive or co-dependent relationships. Boundaries are a necessary part of loving oneself and others. When you love yourself and set clear boundaries, it becomes easy to let others be themselves and just love them as they are.