You know that feeling, just you and your dog, on a walk, or a hike, or in the car? Your dog looks lovingly at you – so pleased that you have invited them on this adventure and even provided water and treats. You get to where you’re going, you walk together with ease, just happy to be side by side, excited for whatever is ahead on the path, and appreciating your surroundings. Even when you stop to grab a cup of coffee, your dog patiently awaits your return, and when you do, the excitement is palpable that you have faithfully returned to continue your journey with them. You both feel a quiet pride as you walk together. And you feel secure. Safe in that love. Your companion will never hurt you intentionally…. despite the rough play sometimes, or annoying idiosyncrasies, the love is unfaltering. You’ll be forgiven easily when you come home later than you planned and there will be an instinctive knowing when you’ve had a bad day.
What if marriages were as simple as the relationship between you and your dog?
Life would be beautiful, right?
But love with humans, and is especially in committed relationships, is inherently more complicated. Often, we feel:
We don’t know the right words, we don’t know how to respond effectively, we don’t know how to walk side by side with ease. We don’t know how to put an end to a difficult interaction or negative pattern we’re stuck in. We have more complex needs than our canine companions and often we don’t even know what our own needs are, not to mention our partner’s.
Although we are content with our loving dog by our side on our own with this being who trusts us unconditionally, we are hard wired for deeper, intimate connection with others. And we need this connection to flourish and grow. It can’t be done alone.