When we boil it down, marriage and relationship is a choosing. When we couple, we are in effect stating to our friends, our families, to the universe and to our partners that we pick this person. It is stipulated in the marriage vows. “I take (choose) this person as my lawfully wedded wife/husband, to have and to hold, in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, forsaking all others, for as long as we both shall live.” This is a truly profound statement of choice.
To know that we are chosen in our relationships is both primary and fundamental to the health and to the longevity of a relationship. Feeling chosen by our partners tells us that we are safe and is elemental in the creation of deep trust and profound intimacy. However, if we are to determine what it is to be chosen in relationship, we must first establish what it is not.
Being chosen does not necessarily happen on the “big day”, in the pretty dress and in the fancy suit; it does not happen when everyone is watching. Knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are who our loved ones choose happens in the dead of night, with a crying baby and a dirty diaper and our partner says “you sleep, I got this one”. It happens in the heat of an argument where everything in us is telling us to win and to fight dirty if you have to and instead you ask “help me understand”. The kind of choosing that is so fundamental to the health of a relationship not only happens in the difficult times, it happens in the everyday and the mundane. We find it in a cup of coffee made or a date night planned. This choosing sends a clear message that you can count on me and that the shared space of our relationship is safe.
As we begin to recognize this safety, we find the capacity to be vulnerable. From the roots of choice, safety, trust and vulnerability a deep and profound intimacy between us is born. Letting our partners know we choose them in the difficult moments, the everyday and in the mundane is the mortar in the foundations of our relationships.