I don’t think it’s enough to know what I don’t want in a relationship. I think I need a stronger idea of what do I want. The problem for me is that I don’t see a whole lot of relationships around me that model what I’d want. I catch myself in observation of others thinking, “Nah. That’s not it,” or, “God, no, not that.” Or the worst: “I’d rather be single my entire life than be a part of a relationship like that.”
So I’d like to move beyond being critical (or admittedly sometimes even downright jaded) about relationships between men and women and begin developing a positive, expanded, evolved vision. It’s gonna have to be a big vision. And it’s gonna have to be a radical vision.
I’ve enjoyed Rob Bell’s books and podcast because his ideas and beliefs about God and relationships resonate with me the way nothing else has (he says, “I talk to my atheist friends about the God they don’t believe in. I don’t believe in that God, either”). He’s written a book with his wife, Kristen, called The Zimzum of Love, and their discussions on his podcast (see link above) have given me the ability to begin to see in my heart and mind what the relationship I’d like to be a part of will be like.
Here’s what I understand about the basic concepts:
- When 2 people come together in relationship, a shared, energetic space exists between them.
- The space between them is always changing, a dynamic reality, rather than a static one.
- The space between the 2 is a generative space–whatever gets put in, grows. Kindness. Patience. Understanding. Unkindness. Resentment. Judgment. Whatever goes in, multiplies. Even little things. A kind word. A rolling of the eyes.
- The space between 2 needs honesty (and presumably, fidelity!) as the foundation. There’s no hiding anything.
- The 2 bring all that they are into the space–the script they were given as children, all they know about themselves, all they don’t know about themselves. And in my case, the divorce baggage.
- The best thing a person can ever do, the thing that makes a relationship as great as possible, is a commitment from each to be as healthy as he/she can be.
I love this stuff because it blows up all the babyish and romantic bullshit we’ve bought into. Instead of looking for a merely a lover or a partner, I’m looking for a co-creator of a dynamic space and a life of adventure.
Since this list is what attracts me, it’s no wonder online dating doesn’t work for me. I don’t want to play the game and write a profile that attracts lots of men. I guarantee I’d get ZERO interest if I wrote the following:
I don’t want to follow a script. I don’t want to do what anyone else is doing. What I want is to enter into a “sacred” space with you–all of myself, every bit of my past, present and future, every bit of my body, mind, and soul. I’ll keep myself healthy and happy. It won’t be your job. I won’t lie or deceive you. It’s not in me. I’ll be mindful of what I put in the space that we share. I’ll aim to keep putting in the best I have at any given moment. If you can do the same, in your own way, we’ll be on an adventure, not “in a relationship.”