Realistic Romance

It’s been a very full week of talking with people about my recent engagement. Initially, there was a wave of support (my dad could not have been more excited, he said in an email “Lindsay, I have not been this excited since you were born). Then I started getting phone calls expressing concerns, questions, and downright judgements. At first, I was irritated. I thought, either deal with your judgements and projections and get over it and be happy for me or bugger off. But then I thought, no, rapid change is challenging to understand and can feel unsafe. People need information and in all my busyness and traveling lately, I have left out information that makes the story more complete. I’ve talked about the sudden move to New York, the romantic proposal in Italy, the story of the serendipitous ring. I haven’t shared much about how challenging this relationship has been and while everyone adores a good love story, they can be skeptical when it happens fast and when it seems too good to be true.

One fear beneath the concerns and judgements is that my marriage will not work out. I’m generalizing but I think that’s the gist. Even deeper than that, there is a fear that if they take a leap in their own life, they will not see one of the potential rocks below and they will hurt themselves, make a mistake, have regrets. They’re not ready. They will not be following the rules and they will be punished. All very valid fears which I totally understand.

Here’s my take. Life is about figuring out who you are as you go and doing your best to be the best person you can be. It’s about loving with all of your heart and learning from your mistakes. It’s about learning to befriend your intuition, that deep wise calm voice that each of us has inside and taking a leap when it asks you to.

For me, that day when he proposed was like any other day. The universe handed me an opportunity and I took a moment to feel if it was what I wanted. It was so I said yes. Now, I’m engaged and there are more opportunities. That’s the thing about saying yes to your intuition and deeper desires, you start to become friends and the universe sends you more people, more experiences, more love and you get more and more confident following your yeses. But how did I know to say yes? Well, like many have said to me, when you know, you know. But how do I know know? Well, because there is a real man behind the adventure and romance who I trust completely – a feeling that is rare.

I am a sucker for every romantic comedy and lovesong created but I didn’t say yes to him because I was in the Italian countryside, or because he’s going to be a big deal one day, or because we are just so in love it makes us crazy. Don’t get me wrong, I love the romantic parts of our story but I said yes to a commitment for life because …

a. I like him. I enjoy spending time with him even when we’re having an uncomfortable conversation about money or stuck in a muggy Subway station talking about the Helvetica font that is everywhere. I like who he is and how he shows up in the world.

b. He is a good man. He provides stability for me, he grounds me, he will protect me and the future babies, and he is not afraid to take the reigns and do what men do best, lead with clarity and confidence.

c. He shares my values, especially my highest value: growth. We can help each other grow into better versions of us. He supports and compliments my spiritual path, which is more important to me than anything. We’ve not only made a commitment to loving each other but to helping each other along our paths individually, and as a couple.

d. He asked.

I know who he is because we have been through quite an intense 3 months. When you move in with someone, there’s nowhere to hide and when you date Daniel Packard or Lindsay Chrisler, relationship analysis junkies and eternal students of the human process, there is really nowhere to hide. So, we were making discoveries about each other right and left and some moments were not so pretty. After a few weeks of being in New York, I told a girlfriend that this was the hardest f***ing relationship I’ve ever been in AND it has been the most rewarding. He doesn’t mess around when it comes to being a romantic gentleman and he also doesn’t mess around when it comes to holding me to a higher standard than most. Daniel’s favorite scene from Friday Night Lights is where Coach Taylor says to the quarterback, “I’m not expecting you to be the best. I’m expecting you to want to be the best.” That’s how we relate to each other. We don’t want perfection, we just want to try our best.

My best is when I’m being myself: loving, responsible, feeling healthy and alive from being of service to the world. He inspires the best in me and when I’m not being my best, he lovingly challenges me.

He doesn’t like any kind of princessy entitlement, blame, being mean, complaining or settling for less. This means there have been several uncomfortable conversations where he has asked me to step up and let go of some of this princess behavior that doesn’t serve me anymore. My ego has thrashed. My princess has resisted. My pride has been bruised. It has not been all rainbows and sunsets with gelato and I’m glad because I don’t want to be a princess who expects the world and especially men to take care of me. I don’t want to be mean just because I think I can get away with it. I don’t want to use the comfort of being in a relationship to mean I can get fat and lazy. Although these parts are uncomfortable to admit and to let go of, I don’t want them. I want to be the queen who leads, knows herself, and is helping the people around her. And then, when I’m being a queen, I want the view and gelato or whatever magical detail comes my way for me to enjoy for pleasure’s sake.

I’m learning how good romantic love feels when you earn it and when there is real love to back it up. I think that’s what women want. We want a man who will challenge us to be bigger and brighter and then when we show how big and bright we are, and then yeah, we would love some flowers or a beautiful proposal in the Italian countryside.

I’ve had my heart in an open relationship blender, put my emotions and patterns under a microscope for years, put myself through classes and uncomfortable but beautiful learning opportunities. I focused on my relationship life and I practiced saying yes to what the Universe sent me, even when I was totally scared. So, after this work, the Universe sent me an opportunity to be with a man who I adore for a lifetime commitment of growing up and realistic romance. I said yes and with that yes, I feel the calmest and happiest yet. I’m not only committing to working through the hard spots that every relationship faces, but I am committing to myself and seeing myself through the process of becoming the woman that I want to be and that this world needs me to be. (I was sitting in meditation the other day and I realized that part of my and Daniel’s life purpose is to make marriage sexy again – why all this talk about settling and letting yourself go? This is one piece I think the world wants from me.) I don’t know what’s next, I don’t know what I’m getting myself into completely, but I’ll never know. I just have to keep going and not give up on what I want and see what happens.

This next phase will be more work and more magic and I am excited to see what vast things lie ahead. Like Rilke said, “For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation…Love is a high inducement to the individual to ripen, to become something in himself, to become world for himself for another’s sake, it is a great exacting claim upon him, something that chooses him out and calls him to vast things.”

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Haven says October 2, 2011

I love this :). I’m so happy for you and incredibly proud of you for following your heart, regardless of the peanut gallery input.
the Rilke quote you closed out with is actually one I have given Reza before.
I can’t wait for the joyous occasion of your wedding! Let me know if I can help, I have done many weddings, and yours would of course end up being one of my favorites xoxox
All my love,
H.

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