Cherish Someone’s Existence

From Townsend and Cloud’s Boundaries in Marriage:

“To cherish someone’s existence apart from you and apart from what you get from that person requires very good boundaries, the ability to see the other person as distinct and separate from you. This aspect of love gives much pleasure as couples grow together.”

I think this is very profound.  I love the idea of cherishing someone’s existence, especially someone who you’re close to, for reasons far beyond what they mean to you.  It’s valuing someone simply for who them are and not what you gain from having a relationship with them.  I see how this could be remarkable in a marriage relationship.  As you learn to see the person more and more for who they are, distinct from what they mean to you, it opens up a whole tableland of room for grow.  You would no longer be in any danger of growing bored with them or being offended by their sutle uniquenesses, because you would recognize how much they are their own person.  The relational possiblities are endless when you have two whole, complete people seeking to their own growth and viewing the other person without the chains of need.

That must be true love.

I am challenged by this quote, even in my dating relationship with Pickle Man.  I think my view of him is often colored by what I gain from him.  Yikes!  So selfish.  And I gain a lot from him, more than I can fully explain in a blog post.  But how wrong this relationship would become if I lose sight of who he is as a separate entity from me.  If I learn to value him, “cherish [his] existence,” beyond what that existence means to me, I think then I’ll love him.  And not in the romantic sense, either, but love him with patience, kindness, without envy, boasting, arrogance, or rudeness; not insisting on my own way; rejoicing in truth, bearing all things, believing all things, hoping all things, enduring all things.

Love him for his own journey and not just how his journey intersects with mine.  Loving with grace.  Loving with peace.

I don’t think this is possible unless one’s loves oneself in the same way.  Giving the same grace to myself, having made my own peace with myself and God, loving myself patiently, kindly;  rejoicing in truth, bearing all things, believing all things, and hoping all things.

Honestly, the hardest part of that for me is the “hoping all things.”  I think this goes back the greatest disappointment of my life, which was only so great, because my hopes were so high.  Ever since then, it took years to feel like I was recovered, I have the hardest time getting my hopes up.  In fact, I do the opposite.  I almost anticipate the worst.  Even with Pickle Man sometimes.  And that’s both good and bad.

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~ by Eva on August 27, 2009.

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