I bought Wabi Sabi Love by Arielle Ford after the title cropped up so many times during the audio recordings found on The Art of Love Relationship Series.
“Wabi Sabi love is the art and practice of loving the imperfections in ourselves and in our partners. It is not mere acceptance or denial of the things that may annoy us or even drive us crazy but rather a deep and profound appreciation for the uniqueness of each other.” – Arielle Ford.
It’s a fantastic book that’s easy to read from start to finish. The content features true tales from Arielle’s own relationship with her soul mate, and husband, Brian; and many other other unique tales from other relationships throughout the globe. If you like reading tales of other people’s lives then you will love this book.
The book had a profound effect on me. I actually burst into tears whilst sat in Heathrow Airport on my way to see my partner in the States. Any book that has the power to make me cry deserves special mention. That’s what I call great writing.
I want to tell you a story of my own, to demonstrate how you can use Wabi Sabi Love to help your own relationships.
My marriage of 15-years ended three years ago. Not long after I fell in love with someone else. As the relationship grew, conversation would turn to the thought of marriage and children. My instincts were to never get married again and I think this is a natural response from someone who has not long gone through a divorce. So I told my partner that I never wanted to get married again.
My decision introduced some fissures in our relationship. As they grew to become chasm like we both agreed to read Committed: A Love Story by Elizabeth Gilbert. It was a tale of two divorcees who never wanted to re-marry until their arms were well and truly forced.
As I read the book I realised how important it was for my new partner to experience marriage. That it meant something entirely different to her than it did for me. Elizabeth Gilbert helped changed my mind, and I told my new partner that I wanted to marry her.
This change of mind bothered my new partner because I told her that I wanted to do it for her. This was not the way she had envisaged a marriage proposal would be. I recently recounted this tale to a table full of strangers at a poker table and they all had the same thoughts. To marry someone just to make them feel better is not the right approach. They sympathised with my partner.
The Wabi-Sabi approach to this situation puts the whole episode into an entirely different light. Instead of looking into the darkness of the doom and gloom, it’s important to remember that we all have a choice. I prefer to choose to look into the light.
I am choosing to marry my partner because I want to spend the rest of my life with her. I feel a deep connection with her. I want to become soul mates. I want to grow old together and find another world together. I want to share in her most wonderful experiences and allow her to share with mine. I want to squeeze her tight when she wins and squeeze her tighter when she loses. I want her to continue to teach me to be a better man, so I can help continue to create a wonderful relationship.
I don’t give away my heart lightly. I don’t agree to get married just because it makes people feel good. That’s one view and I respect that. But the truth is so much bigger than that. For a man to change his mind and marry someone else after marriage smashed his heart like glass; is pure love. It’s a strong show of commitment.
That’s the Wabi Sabi way of looking at things and I thank Arielle Ford for helping me see that I am not just some selfish fly-by-night who changes his mind at a whime just to keep the peace and live an easy life.
Photo courtesy of Orin Zebest cc @ flickr.com