I recently read this article. In it, the author compares an impassioned love affair, with a certain, reliable partnership. To save you from reading it, here’s the premise: “Good love is boring. Bad love is erratic.”
Bad love IS erratic; good love is anything but boring.
Humans have 6 core needs: significance, love & connection, growth, contribution, certainty, and uncertainty. Everyone needs all of them at different levels, but the latter two are the most important. You build strong, stable, reliable partnerships through consistency and certainty, but you fall in love through uncertainty. Without it, you may as well be roommates with a joint bank account.
Greatness is Built By Consistent Pursuit
“As true for relationships as anything else.”
Like the author, Kris says, companies are built by making millions of micro-moments, but great companies, companies we fall in love with, innovate every day. They constantly build newness onto their consistent base.
Humans are hard-wired for the chase. Psychologists agree that happiness comes from the pursuit of some goal and/or greater meaning. Even achieving our goals doesn’t give the same satisfaction. And, we simply get bored when we live at the same place, in the same house, working the same dead-end job, with the same partner, who is also never trying to advance.
If my wife didn’t encourage me to do better, to be better, if she wasn’t passionate about my success as I am about hers, I wouldn’t have a life partner, I’d have warm body to sleep next to. I’ve always held that your partner is not responsible for your happiness, but what greater goal is there to pursue than a beautiful and ever-improving relationship?
Uncertainty Doesn’t Equal Erratic
Firstly, erratic means uncertainty by definition, but the connotation of the word is that you have exciting highs and depressing lows. Nothing could be further from the truth! My relationship with my wife is not defined by hot and cold, ups and downs. We’re consistent in our ever-changing, ever-developing, never-quite-certain lives.
Uncertainty means you bring your wife flowers every once in a while. It means you do thoughtful things like clean the house before she gets home, even if the whole house is not normally your “job.” It means you encourage her to go to the bar with her friends, and emphasize things that came her way indpendent of you, like a promotion or a featured article. It means you celebrate her when she deserves it, but also for no reason in particular.
That is love, and it’s anything but boring.
Passion Isn’t Erratic Either
(and neither is that “showy shit”)
I’m having an impassioned love affair with my wife. I make out with her on the street corner in front of strangers. I write love notes and leave them in places she’ll find them. And yes, sometimes I surprise her with a trip to Paris, or Rome, or Brussels (we live in Europe, it’s not that far). It’s the least I could do for her, considering how great of a woman she really is.
Love doesn’t have to be full of trips across the ocean, but being passionately in love with your partner doesn’t have to be accompanied by crushing lows either. My wife and I are constantly working to grow closer together, regardless of the fact that we already have a great, consistent relationship.
Humans have a biological need for uncertainty or inconsistency. If you don’t feed it in a positive way, it will find a way to feed itself in a (probably) negative way.
Steadfastly Pursuing Your Goals is Not Boring Love
Deborah and I go through phases where we’re clear with each other that we don’t have time for long walks along the river or surprise trips to Paris. Phases where we know it’s time to dig our heads into our computers and work. There’s nothing boring about those phases. They’re filled with accomplishments, appreciation for the other’s work, and love, lots of exciting, thrilling love.