“We like salsa dancing.”
“We like tudor style architecture.”
“We call ourselves ‘independants’ politically.”
“We are Southern Baptist.”
“We decided on cornflower blue for the bathroom.”
These two had merged into the collective state of we with such success that they optimized the ideal of “when two become one”. They’d nailed it, except for one thing. He had formed an independent thought. He wanted a “trial separation”.
Culturally it’s something most couples strive for – Unification. They work hard to merge and meld into a collective new thing that didn’t exist before they were together. The problem is when two people disappear entirely, or even in part, into a relationship, the two people who fell in love in the first place are gone.
The word relationship itself is based on relating, and you have to have two separate objects or beings to relate to one another. Even the word partnership implies two parties. Unification is a death sentence for passion and connection, and I don’t believe a romantic relationship can survive without passion.
Personally, I do not want to become half of some amalgamated union. I want to feel desire and devotion for my beloved. Not obligation and or responsibility. That said, I cannot desire him, if I honestly see him as an extension of myself. A relationship is bigger when two people bring their whole selves to it and breath fresh air through, when the space they take up forces the relationship to expand. Relationships do not feed themselves.
People need their own time, hobbies, friends, and money. They need to flourish and grow alone so the relationship itself doesn’t stagnate. I believe one of the most accurate measurements of a healthy relationship is how much a two people with encourage each other to grow individually. Yes, that takes courage, but the pay off personally is huge, so it’s both altruistic and selfish at the same time.
“Let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
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.