In a recent NY Times article, Tara Parker-Pope writes,
“A lasting marriage does not always signal a happy marriage. Plenty of miserable couples have stayed together for children, religion or other practical reasons. But for many couples, it’s just not enough to stay together. They want a relationship that is meaningful and satisfying. In short, they want a sustainable marriage.”
She goes on the say that, “The notion that the best marriages are those that bring satisfaction to the individual may seem counter-
intuitive. After all, isn’t marriage supposed to be about putting the relationship first? Not anymore. For centuries, marriage was viewed as an economic and social institution, and the emotional and intellectual needs of the spouses were secondary to the survival of the marriage itself. But in modern relationships, people are looking for a partnership, and they want partners who make their lives more interesting.”
Parker-Pope examines how individuals who use their relationships to accumulate knowledge and have new experiences—a process she calls “self-expansion”—are more committed and more satisfied in their relationships. This may sound self-serving, but from a Live Conscious perspective, “self-expansion” serves people well and it does not equate with selfishness. In Live Conscious, we simply think of this as placing a high value on personal growth and development. This is the bedrock of many successful relationships.
And please, don’t confuse personal growth with drama, self-indulgence, or excuses for immature behavior. “I’m sorry I treated you poorly, but I’m feeling really re-stimulated with childhood issues and just need to express my feelings.” No, we don’t call that personal growth! In Live Conscious, we don’t believe that personal growth has to be hard and messy. Actually, the opposite. It can be easy and rewarding, energizing and nourishing—and when it is—your relationship is easy, rewarding, energizing, and nourishing. This is how we create sustainable partnerships.