Grow Old Together? Or Grow Wise…

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Most of us share the same relationship goals… to ultimately find someone you can grow old with. But what does that mean exactly? Getting old is inevitable barring an early death, but “old” seems to be the primary focus on this idea. I want us to consider that growing physically old isn’t at all what this means. I think we’ve forgotten what it means to grow old. Getting old isn’t just about experiencing a body that isn’t as flexible, or doesn’t function quite like it used to. Getting old doesn’t just mean that bones become a little more brittle. Growing old with someone doesn’t mean that you want someone to take care of you in your failing health…that’s superficial and selfish. Nurses and caregivers can help with that.

I don’t really want to grow old with someone.

I want to grow love with someone.

I want to grow wise with someone.

I want to grow family with someone.

I want to grow memories with someone.

I want to grow loyalty with someone.

I want to grow, as an individual, alongside someone I can call my best friend.

How do we do this? By making a commitment to develop this kind of relationship from the start. We do this by establishing and maintaining friendship. Developing a bond that is unshakable. Creating a commitment based in honesty, trust, loyalty and integrity. A friendship that fosters respect, kindness, laughter, offers support and compassion through adversity, and most importantly someone who will push and challenge us to grow.

Relationships are not for the faint of heart.

It takes a strong character to be able to accept another person into your life who will challenge your ego, and push you to grow. Which is very different from wanting you to change.

If you are truly ready to grow old with someone, you are ready to rise up to the challenge of growth. A person who truly cares, will challenge you to become the best version of yourself. A person who loves you, will not enable you to continue bad behavior. But it’s completely up to you to decide if you’d rather stay in your comfortable ego, or if you’d like to grow as a person and together as a couple. Part of adulting is learning how to hear criticism, evaluate it from an objective viewpoint, accept relevant and constructive criticism and face your challenges head-on. Do the work.

Yep, it’s hard work. You have to be willing to put in the work.

You’re fooling yourself if you think the right one will worship the ground you walk on and never push you to better yourself! How could you ever respect such a person? That’s what someone who idolizes another does. That’s what an enabler does. Do not fool yourself into believing that you are perfect.

Someone who is willing to challenge you should be the first time that you realize that you’ve got a real one.

Relationships are humbling. Relationships take work. They force you to look at yourself from another’s point of view. When you have a disagreement on something that matters, you must respect one another’s point of view and work together to find a reasonable compromise. If you avoid the difficult conversations, you have no one to blame but yourself for a failed relationship. This is what growing is! Growing better and wiser as individuals to continue to build a stronger foundation.

If you avoid the difficult conversations, you have no one to blame but yourself for a failed relationship.

But what about physical intimacy, and passion? This of course is what separates an intimate relationship from friendship, and is important… but encompasses such a small portion of a real relationship. This is often seen as a focal point of a relationship, probably because it can sometimes be used a tool to measure how healthy a relationship is. Usually, if every aspect of a relationship is healthy, physical intimacy will be a mutually shared experience as often as both people enjoy. Of course there are lots of factors like work stress, or body image issues can negatively affect your sex life, but I’ll save those for another topic… When two people respect, value, and appreciate each other, barring any physiological concerns or psychological trauma, intimacy will likely be great. I don’t know how many women I’ve heard say that deep meaningful conversation is like foreplay. That’s likely because most women need to feel heard, appreciated, respected and valued before she is likely to become physically intimate.

I’ll finish this by saying that you can’t have a healthy relationship until you have found unconditional love. That doesn’t mean that you’re a doormat, or that you have to accept abuse or ignore deal breakers. It just means that you’re willing to continue loving when you don’t like each other. It means you stay and work through the problems that you face together, as a team. You choose to grow together, as individuals and as a couple.

Choose love.

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