Ring the bells that can still ring
Forget the perfect gift
Everything has a crack
This is how the light enters

Leonard Cohen - Anthem.

The gift of imperfection

We are all looking for the ideal relationship.
That one partner, who fulfils us, understands us, feels us, makes us happy.
The desire is understandable; we are prepared for it at an early age.
Almost all songs are about it.

We all get disappointed in our search for the perfect partner.
They abandon us, don't understand us, feel nothing, make us unhappy.
This is understandable, we learn early on.
Almost all songs are about it.

We grow up in a world where romantic love is the magical solution to all personal wants and needs. And the beauty is, you don't have to do anything for it. You just have to believe in it. In a good and fulfilling relationship, everything happens naturally. Or at least effortlessly. What takes effort is a project. When a relationship becomes a project, we drop out. We already have so much to do. Can there be something without having to?
Almost all songs are about it.

Our parents and grandparents saw marriage as a verb. And the commitment it entailed was forever. Or at least forever. Everything was obtained through hard work. Once acquired, people were thrifty about the stuff. In those days, you maintained what you had. So also a love affair.
But times have changed, labour is expensive, stuff is cheap. And within easy reach. There is a lot of supply, a lot of diversity, high turnover rates. We have high demands, want everything now, see no limits. We live in a time when everything seems makeable. And everyone gets to claim happiness. Especially in a relationship.
Almost all songs are about it.

And what if it doesn't go that way?

Of course romantic love exists; not for nothing are almost all songs about it. But how do we ensure that a relationship remains valuable. By working hard, by giving in all the time or exchanging every time?

We all incur scratches and cracks in our lives. The beauty comes off they say. But does it? Cracks are the visible exterior of an inner battle you have fought. And won. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, so the saying goes. Even if it doesn't feel that way. The best gift you can get is for your partner to feel the beauty of your life where you see the crack.

In a relationship that matters, you don't find perfection, but the opportunity to grow together. You recognise in each other both the life and the crack. There is no guarantee of forever. Cracks also appear in a relationship, there is no other way. And maybe they have to, because everything that grows expands. As your relationship grows out of its original seams, more possibilities come to light. That can be scary if you want to hold on to the old. But if you and your partner together, are worth it, it's a wonderful journey of discovery. One that enriches you both. And in which you both blossom even more.

Stop looking for the ideal partner, who seemingly fits the bill exactly.
Find the partner with the crack through which the light shines in.

Ewoud Dekker MSc.

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