Our relationship is stronger because we know we can survive without each other.
My wife and I collectively taught high school for over 20 years. In that time we witnessed countless high school romantic relationships that included obsessive and possessive behavior. Drama was always the theme and devastation was usually the outcome of these highly emotional encounters. I realize that teenagers are still developing emotionally in many ways and that high school can be a very tough time for anyone. However, some of this behavior can be attributed to how adults model their own behavior when it comes to romantic relationships. It seems to me that we are confusing a want with a need. I want my wife in my life but I surly don’t need her, and vice versa.
During my teaching days I would facilitate cultural diversity camps that attempted to break down barriers between different social groups on campus. One particular area we focused on was gender and the subsequent roles we play according to our assigned gender at birth. Often romantic relationships were brought up during the camp. I remember the absolute shock on the faces of my students when I would tell them that I loved my wife but I didn’t need her. They would literally lose their minds and at first couldn’t comprehend such a statement let alone such a mindset. It was truly beyond them in that moment.
Being married to someone for nearly 22 years is an incredible education in itself. I was a happy, fulfilled person before I was married and my marriage has enhanced my quality of life. I want that to continue. However, I don’t need it to continue. I would be hurt deeply if my wife was gone and I would consequently grieve. I would eventually move through a variety of stages and again find happiness. I’m a happy person. My happiness is not dependent upon someone else being in my life. I am fully capable of happiness and contentment on my own. I know what it requires.
Many of my students, like many people in the world, are not happy or the least bit content with themselves. This is due to a variety of reasons. Unhappy people often look for a relationship to make them happy. Outside of depression from a chemical imbalance, many folks are searching for that someone to make them complete. Those who do not focus entirely on finding a partner have built a foundation that can hold up without the need for someone to assist in their overall happiness. They can be single and be happy. They are comfortable in their skin and comfortable being alone with their thoughts.
When two people come into a relationship with solid foundations success and happiness have no limits. What’s even more important is they are capable of happily continuing their lives alone if circumstances should change. The love they have built together has foundational strength and that is the root of a highly functional relationship. It is also the root for overall happiness and contentment in our individual lives.
Many high school students struggle with intimate relationships because they feel contentment relies on having someone in their life they can call their own. It’s a type of ownership. When we refer to someone as, my man or my woman, for example, it is a form of dominance. I don’t own my wife. I’m privileged to have her in my life. If we can value the privilege of intimacy then a huge weight will be lifted. It will open up avenues within a partnership that few ever experience. For one, you’ll experience a partnership and that’s stronger than being trapped by possessive behavior. Finally, it will set you free and allow you to find a balance between your wants and needs. That in itself can be very liberating and lead to happy, contented lives.