The Common Threads of Finding Love

I’m always intrigued by the New York Times section calls ‘Vows.’ They have a sweet way of sharing a little bit about each couple’s story. Good writing!  When reading these vignettes, I often recognize commonalities with the couples I work with. Common threads, so to speak.

We all like to think we’re unique, but truth be told, we are more alike than we are different, and the search for love is certainly something most of us have in common.

I thought I’d explore some of these similarities, drawn from the hundreds of couples who shared their stories with me. I especially love hearing how they found one another. My intent is not to make people feel less special, it is simply true that there are only so many stories in this world, and I think Shakespeare probably wrote all of them. I’ve read there are only six or seven types of stories anyway.

Looking at the accounts of how people found their soul-mate, I think Joseph Campbell, author and ‘mythologist’ got it right when he identified the ‘hero’s journey.’ For each of us, our personal journey can be epic.

On-line introductions

There are the stories of how it was absolutely the last time someone would stay on the dating site… they’d had it, done, finished… and then, thatmessage came in.

Then there are those who said they would never do on-line dating, but their best friend/ sister/ mother/ coworker convinced them to try, and the very first person they connected with turned out to be ‘the one’.

Joseph Campbell wroteComputers are like Old Testament gods; lots of rules and no mercy.I would add that sometimes the ending makes it all worthwhile.

The story of dating the other one first

They met through mutual friends, but it was complicated. One or both were in relationships, but once they connected they knew it was only a matter of time until they would be together.

Then there are the tales of dating the sibling/cousin/twin (yes twin!) a few years back, but always liking the other one better. Fast forward and they run into one another at a bar/ice cream shop/ grocery store/ beach, and BOOM!

Joseph Campbell, again: The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty yes to your adventure.

Childhood sweethearts

Never forget him/her. Married then divorced or widowed, and decided to look up the old flame on Facebook, and the story begins. Again, as Joseph Campbell puts it: We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.

On love

When I ask people what love about one another, almost all couples speak about their partner being their best friend. I find this inspiring and hopeful. Another common denominator is how much they value one another and support one another. Laughter is often mentioned, and how much couples enjoy spending time together doing anything, everything or even nothing.

No matter how different the couple may appear to others, whether being of diverse nationalities, religions, or ethnicities, they speak of how they complement one another. Whether the reference point is Yin and Yang, Lucy and Ricky,or Jim Halpert and Pam Beesly, they fit together like pieces of a puzzle. This is sometimes called the ‘other half,’ or even ‘soul-mate.’

Once more, Campbell:The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.And this relates to my final, and most important point. It’s beautiful to hear couples tell me their partner loves them for who they truly are. All of them, flaws and all.

We humans need love in our lives. Almost everyone wants a life partner who supports them, listens to them, and values them. No matter how you met that person, I’m glad you did.


thank you Lisa Rhinehart for the awesome photography!

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