by Marike de Valk

It’s a funny idea to dwell on: the concept of the relationship as a form of romantic love is only a century old. The characteristic of Romanticism was that the loved one was unreachable, this kept the dream and passion alive. The most beautiful art has been created by artists who were unhappy and suffered from a broken heart .

And the marriage was no romance. The wife was happy when she had a decent man who brought bread on the table, was healthy and did not hit or drink. A man was happy if his wife could take care of the children and the household, and there would be intercourse regularly.

How did we ever arrive at the point that we want to combine marriage with romance?

It seems that, after a period in which we discovered how important a good childhood is and in which our parents set boundaries for us, we now arrive in a period in wich we expect things of our relationships. We aim for the highest, for as the saying goes: “The sky’s the limit”.

But always pursuing perfection, creates a feeling of stress and dissatisfaction in our society. People do not learn how to deal with limitations and will eventually reach the point of a rude awakening. They have worked hard, have pursued the world, and are tired, stressed and unhappy . They have not learned to stop and enjoy what is right in front of them. They will constantly aim for what is not there yet; the glass is always half empty …

I am convinced that all relationships come to a point at which we must learn how to cope with each other’s limitations. If you do not learn from what a relationship brings you, your relationship might come to an end after which you will enter into a new relationship. As you did not learn what was needed from the previous relationship, the new relationship will take you back to the same point. If you want to grow old with your partner, you have to learn to take a look at your relationship with him/her instead of what you do not get out of it.

Like the paediatrician Winnicott once said; “a mother is not perfect, but “good enough”. In addition to that, I would like to state that a relationship is not perfect, but ” good enough” as it is.

Don’t you agree ?