As I sipped my early morning cup of tea looking through the patio windows at the deer in the frosty field at the end of the garden my partner came alongside me, slipped his arm around my waist and stood sipping his tea just enjoying the moment watching the deer as they tentatively made their way through the field and back into the safety of the hedgerow as the dawn made way for the day ahead.
I was reminded of why I fell in love with him.
We first met 23 years ago and my precise thought on first meeting him was ‘I wouldn’t want to meet you in a dark alley’. He was, back then, built like the proverbial brick outhouse. (The photo shows us in 1997, he’d taken me hiking and camping on Dartmoor on New Year’s Eve. We were celebrating the New Year in The Plume of Feathers, Princetown, Dartmoor )
A former Royal Marine and a rugby player. His chest and shoulders were almost as broad as he was tall and he had a mop of unruly curly blonde hair. He was a formidable figure who you’d think twice about messing with! I also remember thinking how rude he was as he cut into a conversation I was having with the object of my desire at the time. This was the first opportunity I’d had to speak to said object of desire and here was this rude man ruining my chance!
Little did I know at that stage that we would end up dating for a year before going our separate ways and then meeting up again some 15 years later. But that’s another story for another day (or join me at the Introbiz Global Summit where I share that part of the story).
As we stood marvelling in the beauty in front of us, I was reminded this morning of one of our first dates, the time I knew that he really was ‘The One’. It didn’t hit me like a bolt from the blue, more sidled upon me unexpectedly and was met with total calm acceptance.
He had decided we were going to go for a walk. This was a full on long walk with maps and walking boots and waterproof jackets, he even took a rucksack. And I had a fabulous time. As was a feature of our relationship then we spent the entire time talking about anything and everything. Talking remains an important feature of our relationship today.
It was on that walk that I recognised that here was a man who shared the same love and passion for the countryside and nature as I do. As a child I’d had an almost encyclopaedic knowledge of the flora and fauna of the British countryside and shortly after we split up back then, I studied for a Diploma in Countryside Management because he had reignited the passion that many of my previous relationships had extinguished. He went on to qualify as an International Mountain Leader, using his passion to lead expeditions in some of the remotest parts of the World.
Fast forward 22 years and that common passion is still something that bonds us. Quietly enjoying the wonder of the wildlife that roams in the field beyond our garden gives us shared moments of bliss and awe that no words can convey. And our unspoken understanding of each others’ passion for nature and wildlife means that when it comes to planning our holidays we get inordinately excited about the prospect of a cold, icy February week on a narrowboat somewhere in the middle of the British countryside with almost no-one else around except for kingfishers, herons, foxes, the occasional stoat or weasel, coots, moor hens and numerous other birds and wildlife.
On paper, we really shouldn’t work, we are, on the face of it, total opposites but we have shared values and principles and a deep-rooted shared passion. Our differences create an opportunity to learn from each other to make our bond stronger, and we enjoy learning from each other.
What passion do you share with your partner? What can you learn from your partner?
For ideas on how to ignite that passion and find out how you and your partner can learn for each other register for my next free live training
A lot of the work I do with clients revolves around being tolerant of their partner. You might think that was obvious but so many of us in long term relationships or marriages start to allow the little things our partners say or do, to annoy us.
Over time we lose tolerance with our partner. Those ‘cute little quirks’ that we once found so adorable become annoying habits that drive us mad after we have been living with them for any length of time.
So how do we learn tolerance to accept our partner, quirks and all, in the way we expect them to accept us? Or do we just decide that enough is enough, we can’t put up with the quirks any longer and that’s the end of the relationship?
It’s a conversation I have with my clients time and time again and I always ask them “Do you still love your partner?” The majority of the time the answer is “yes, but I just wish they would stop ………”.
And there’s the crux. Everything after the “but” is making their love of their partner conditional, and the quickest way to fall out of love is to make it conditional upon them being a certain way. By learning tolerance and remembering what made you fall in love with your partner in the first place, you can quickly learn to love them unconditionally.
It takes practice both to love unconditionally and to be loved unconditionally and I spend a lot of time with my clients working through this.
On this International Day for Tolerance what can you be more tolerant of in your partner that will bring you back to unconditional love?
For help working it out register to attend my next FREE live training: 5 Days to Redefine Your Relationships.