In his most celebrated book, the Prophet (1923), Kahlil Gibran wrote on marriage:
“And let the winds of the heavens dance between you”. “Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music”.
Gibran describes poetically the need for space between partners in a relationship; for me, the purpose of maintaining this space is to cultivate curiosity and a small dose of healthy tension that enable us to see our partners as changing and growing and different to the people they (and of course, we) were previously in the relationship.
In a way, it is choosing to speak in a language that describes people as becoming rather than complete. It is a language that enables us to consider people’s potential as well as what they have become, acknowledging that in relationships, any relationships, partners influence each other.
Cultivating curiosity is our best way to ensure that a relationship remains fresh, invigorated and enduring.