The Picture Perfect Relationship

The Myth of The Perfect FamilyA car parks at dusk in the gravel driveway of a picket-fenced suburban home. A square-jawed man steps out, joyfully greeted by a bounding dog. His photoshop-perfect wife, just back from her high-profile job, kisses him at the doorstop: ‘Oh honey, you must be so tired. Let me fix you a cup of tea.’ As they settle down on their favorite couch, they share the funny incidents of their day. Laughter. They move to kiss. Fade Out.

If this is not what your relationship looks like, this post is for you. If this is what your relationship looks like, come back again in a year.

This post is about the box into which we try to fit our relationships, the parameters of which we have got from books, movies, advertising, sitcoms and ‘80s pop songs. We have an investment in believing things can and should look a certain fixed way. Which involves impossible words like unconditional and eternal love, total trust and unbreakable commitment. With mind-reading ability thrown in.

After the first flush of hormones, it becomes clear that these aren’t happening as natural by-products of romantic love, as we had secretly hoped. So we begin to ‘work’ on our relationship. Instead of altering the ill-fitting suit, we bind and cut off parts of ourselves to fit into it. The beauty is that we are mostly not aware of this at a conscious level. It’s an unspoken struggle between a couple employing cajoling, rewarding, shaming, aggression and threat to get to the picture perfect.

Is it possible that instead of one perfect relationship, there are seven billion different possibilities of perfect relationships, my mentor GD asked me the other day. What if our relationship didn’t need to look like our parents’ relationship – or the rebellious opposite of theirs – to be right? What if a relationship was as unique as our thumbprint?

I find just being open to this possibility immensely relieving and freeing. As I deeply open to this question, I find I am present in this moment to my partner instead of trying to load upon her the heavy shell of how-she-should-be. Even if there is a ‘problem’, instead of an umbrella judgment and rejection, there remains a simple statement of what action of my partner doesn’t work for me.

The best part is that in giving her the freedom to not be the picture perfect wife, I free myself. In this freedom, love, like a happy little brook, comes quietly bubbling up.

17 thoughts on “The Picture Perfect Relationship

  1. All those in young relationships.. This is it.. Set yourself & the relationship free..

    Aalif, well said.. As always!

    Keep the thoughts going!

    • 🙂 Thanks Arundhati. Relationship is such a great teacher of all things unacknowledged in us…. So wonderful to have someone like GD to stop us from avoiding, distracting and escaping the lessons…

      • Ha ha! Can’t typecast GD nor do I intend to! I just always love his line where he says that the reality of any decision unfolds itself in 6 months. I find the second line on the same lines. 🙂
        Take care. Love

  2. I love workflows(If yes…here, If no…there!!), they are the best way to make anybody understand a situation or a topic. Loved the they way you have penned down this topic – relationship can be handled in umpteen number of ways and the ones which work for a particular couple may not work for some other couple. It takes a lot of energy, good intention and compromises to make it work. But end of the day, when both the people feel from the bottom of their heart that they want to make the relationship work, then there is no one to stop them!!
    Since this post is about relationship – Here is a quote/line, I stumbled on to when I was reading a blog post:

    “In every marriage more than a week old, there are grounds for divorce. The trick is to find, and continue to find, grounds for marriage” – Isn’t true?

    • Your comment has made me reflect further and I realize that I am not a huge fan of working on relationships. I do however strongly advocate working on yourself, which transforms yourself and the relationship in whichever direction it needs to go. 🙂

  3. I feel, we would always feel incomplete, cause we are always searching for something. What looked like an ideal 5 years back isn’t so today. Relationships are also constantly evolving as are the people in them. There is also someone or something better elsewhere. But it is up to us to know how to define ” This is enough for me”
    Also, offering someone freedom in itself is like binding them!

    • Nice observations, Anita. In my perception, we may cognitively define “this is enough for me” but there is an underground grid of desires, memories and fears that continues to work…

      I didn’t understand what you mean when you say ‘offering someone freedom in itself is like binding them’. Could you explain?

      • The word ‘offer’ in itself suggests some sort of a binding. That is the paradox of freedom, I suppose. You can’t give anyone freedom or set anyone free.
        About the underground grid — well, they are for us to manage. And it is possible to do so, if we find in ourselves to understand what is enough for us.

  4. Pingback: Alternate Relationships | Flowering of eternity

  5. Freedom for one another are very good that show trust in one another. If you also place your marriage in the Hand of Our Father He will help you with all the Up and Downs. Thanks for this article.

  6. Pingback: Alternate Relationships |

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