When Sheryl Sandberg launched her book Lean In, I was probably one of the first people to pre-order it. It was launched about two years after she gave her TED talk titled, “Why we have too few women leaders,” in which the book expands on many of the points raised in the talk. As much as I liked the TED talk and most of the book, I was also highly critical of them as well, particularly the book. As someone who has “leaned in” most of her life and has been punished for it, I felt the book was not taking many aspects of society or corporate America into consideration as contributing to the problem. However, one of the most crucial points she did make, both in the TED talk and the book, was that the person you choose to be your life partner will be one of the most important life decisions you make and I agree.
“Some of the biggest challenges in relationships come from the fact that most people enter a relationship in order to get something: they’re trying to find someone who’s going to make them feel good. In reality, the only way a relationship will last is if you see your relationship as a place that you go to give, and not a place that you go to take.”
— Anthony Robbins
The reason why finding the right person to spend your life with is so important, is because it can effect every aspect of your life. It’s pretty challenging to feel good about yourself, focus on your career, enjoy time with family and friends when the person you’re with makes you miserable. And sometimes no matter what you do to try and make the relationship work, or try and change yourself or the person, it does not make things better.
There are many important factors that go into connecting with the right person:
You can’t be too young: For years we’ve been told that 50% of marriages end in divorce and that alone can be very discouraging. However, age plays a huge role in that number. “Those who marry when between the ages of 20 to 24 have the highest rate of divorce. These couples are nearly twice as likely to get divorced as those who get married between the ages of 25 to 29 years old.” (Source: 7 Surprising Statistics about Divorce in America) There really is no rush in getting married. We all know that depending upon the connection you have with someone, it can pretty intense and there’s such a fine line between lust and love, and it’s vital to understand the distinction. What you think is love at age 22, can be a totally different feeling at age 29.
You can’t rush love: Depending upon where you live or your community of friends, you can feel pressured into finding a life partner quickly. Sometimes you feel that unless you find someone soon, you won’t be a full version of yourself. This can be one of the most dangerous reasons. You may be struggling with many aspects of your life believing that finding what you think is “true love” will be the answer to everything. However, upon connecting with someone and continuously struggling with those aspects of life, just puts an enormous strain on a relationship. Love takes time and the most important love in this world is with yourself, before you can properly love someone else. And not only is it important to take time in cultivating love, but there’s also no rush to getting married. It took my husband and I three years until we got engaged, then another two years until we got married. I have to tell you, it made a huge difference, even though we got pressured from friends and family. Time can be the difference between a lifetime of love or divorce.
You need to focus on yourself: It can be challenging, but you need to focus on yourself. I can’t tell you how many times when I was younger or watching friends struggle in their personal life, that when you are desperate to find and connect with someone, rather than focusing on yourself and your life, things end up in disaster. The number of toxic, negative or even abusive relationships I had from jumping into dating someone, all ended horribly. Then you are not just recovering from the relationship, you’re recovering from being in an even worse place personally than you were before entering into the relationship. When I think about how much my life changed when I started to focus on myself and then two years later meeting my husband, it was like night and day. I know it can be lonely, I know it’s hard being around friends in happy relationships, but do yourself and your future life partner a favor and enjoy you, that’s all that matters.
When you struggle with your partner, you are struggling with yourself. Every fault you see in them touches a denied weakness in yourself.
There are many decisions you make during the course of your life that have an impact. What you choose to study in school can make or break your path to successfully graduating. The type of job you choose can make or break your path to career success. However, who you choose to be your life partner can make or break your path in life, period. I realize that some people can continue focusing on their career no matter what happens in their personal life, but it still effects you deep down inside even if it doesn’t on the surface.
None of this is to say that you will ultimately get married. Having a life partner is not about marriage and I’m saying this because I know some people are not interested in getting married, and that’s fine.
Whether or not you get married, you will most probably connect with someone in a profound way that changes your life forever. And you will want to spend every waking moment with this person. That connection is one of the most important and powerful you will make in your life. Don’t do it in haste, don’t do it because society tells you, don’t do it to fill up a hole in your heart, do it because it comes naturally, do it because it’s not forced and do it because it truly feels right.
The more connections you and your lover make, not just between your bodies, but between your minds, your hearts, and your souls, the more you will strengthen the fabric of your relationship, and the more real moments you will experience together.
-Barbara De Angelis
Forever and the Possibilities of Love – Women On It
Fall in Love With Someone Who Inspires You – The Brandmentalist