“Love is a story we tell with another person. It’s cocreation through conarration.”
I am referencing an article in the This Life section of the Sunday New York Times that highlights the significance of a rather natural routine of couple’s joint storytelling, (for example, the “how they met story”). Storytelling is integral to the deeper process of establishing a bond with another person. It is both challenging and rewarding to create an intermingled identity with another. Couples may engage in joint narratives without realizing that it is a stabilizing vehicle as they try to embrace each other’s differences. Creating a shared story of the couple’s life and how it has unfolded actually strengthens the relationship. Often, new couples share the story of how and when they decided to partner up or marry with family and friends. The stories can include mystery, humor and laughter, synchronicity, hardship, and elements of destiny. As the couple’s life evolves over time, their story becomes more elaborate and the feelings deepen through their varied shared experiences and inevitable challenges. Possibly children are added, the spice of extended family, and all matter of ingredients are poured into the pot. The co-creation of the story establishes the identity of the couple and reinforces their shared life. Mr. Feiler, the author, notes that as couples construct a joint reality, it balances the “contradictory impulses of independence and interdependence or selfishness and selflessness”. Those conflicting needs battle within all of us as we try to establish an intimate bond.
Inevitable hardships and “unforgiveable” events become integral parts of the story; a break-up that threatened to destroy the relationship, difficulties with blending families, a betrayal – there can be many obstacles along the path of solidifying a relationship over time. After an initial attraction, there is a long road ahead and you either hang-in for the reward of a stable, committed bond with another or move on and start the search all over again.