Why do we want a partner? For some people, it’s the expectation from the society that if you get to a certain age and are still single, you’re somehow a loser. For some, it’s to avoid loneliness. For some, being with someone means learning from and with each other, growing together, and feeling inspired by that person every single day just as when you first met.
It’s been two and a half years since my partner and I started our relationship. And for us, it’s all about growing together. Everyday I thank him for the beauty and inspirations he has brought to my life. In doing so, I realized that to maintain a lively relationship, some habits we keep might be helpful:
1. Sharing house chores: whether it’s cooking, doing the dishes or cleaning, we always do it together or take turns. The reason is simple – we’re equal and no one is expected to do everything. Moreover, since we’re both vegan, it’s a lot of fun to invent new dishes together.
2. Learning and growing together: learning is our biggest passion. Sometimes we learn together, and sometimes we learn by ourselves and share with each other afterwards. For example, we took online photography classes together, and we’ve been studying French. We don’t just learn skills but values as well – for instance, he turned vegan after meeting me and hearing about the reasons why I do what I do.
3. Meditating and praying together: we meditate before sleep or multiple times during the day together, and pray for the world and all the living beings. It’s also when we give thanks to the Universe for giving us such a great gift – life itself.
4. Welcoming adventures: the last thing we want in life is to stay in our comfort zones forever. That’s why we challenge ourselves to move to new countries from time to time and take on work that we’ve never done before. Challenging, but fun.
5. Honest communication: we communicate honestly about any topic, so there’s no need for bickering or fighting. In fact, my partner has never engaged in a fight with anyone. We chat before sleep all the time, and practice nonviolent communication skills that we learned together.
6. Understanding: sometimes we fail to fulfill what we said we were going to do, but that’s okay. For example, maybe I forgot to take the trash out even though I said I would, but that’s because I was too busy. To give each other the space for making “mistakes” is important.
7. Having a shared vision: our shared vision is to create a more just and peaceful world for everyone, so everyday we work towards that goal. That’s why we’re not only partners, best friends, but also coworkers.
8. Keeping some me time for ourselves: even though we do many things together, we also keep some “me time” for ourselves. For example, I’m an introverted person who enjoys a lot of quiet time writing or reflecting, and he loves playing the guitar, reading or Skyping with friends and family who are far away.
9. Having fun together: even though our work is our life, we designate time for relaxation as well, such as watching movies, doing yoga, traveling, or exploring new places.
Many people have asked me when I’m going to get married (especially since I live in Vietnam, where marriage is of top priority for many). My standard answer to that question is – the purpose of me being with my partner is to grow together, and marriage is irrelevant. If we love each other, we stay together; if we don’t, we separate. There’s no need to involve a piece of legally-binding paper. Life is ever-changing and there’s no guarantee because our heart is free. For me, every person who comes into my life comes with a mission, and being with someone is about helping each other grow and not about meeting the expectations of the society or family.
So…I can’t tell you when or if I’m going to get married. I can only tell you that everyday we’re helping each other get closer to our true selves and fulfill our purpose in life, which is why we’re here on Earth. <3