WABI SABI LOVE: Learning something fresh about the old subject LOVE. In journalism one can report on something new, or show a new side to something old; this is the latter approach. Unless I can get excited about something I don’t like to write about it. Wabi Sabi Love is something I can get excited about! Yeah buddy. However, my post on it is perhaps more of a book review than research.
Without mentioning wabi sabi love, there is already good advice on relationships out there. I like Bill Gothard’s incredible Bible-based training for couples, I like John Gottman’s excellent books (such as “Why Marriages Succeed” & “The Seven Principles For Making Marriage Work”), and I like some others who also have worked hard to make our love lives & marriages successful. I am writing about wabi sabi love because it is something wonderfully fresh & beautiful. The Word of God teaches us that “…the tongue of the wise brings healing” so even if Arielle Ford’s book “Wabi Sabi Love” is not a Christian book per se, lots of the ideas she shares match the deeper wisdom of Christ. The term Wabi Sabi is a Japanese term. I have been fascinated with Japanese culture; it has such a different approach to life, and there are some interesting things we can learn from them. The idea of wabi sabi is developing an appreciation for the beauty of flaws. When I have watched Japanese artisans make incredible artwork, top artists will intentionally create a flaw, as a way of humility & to make the art unique. How many Americans are trained to find beauty in imperfection??! When this wabi sabi ability to appreciate & embrace imperfections is applied to our mate’s imperfection, we have an art form of love that brings deep love out of hopeless situations.
On page 44 author Arielle Ford gives a good definition of this new way to love: “Wabi Sabi Love is grounded in acceptance. It’s the practice of accepting the flaws, imperfections, and limitations- as well as the gifts and the blessings- that form your shared history as a couple. Acceptance and its counterpart, understanding are crucial to achieving relationship harmony.” She gives numerous anecdotes that illustrate great lessons. Mrs. Lee’s story (on pages 41-43) will have you in tears. The story on pages 142-152 is the story of a marriage that looks totally broken—there is zero passion left only the harsh responsibilities of life—and the marriage breaks up into divorce. So far no surprise. But wabi sabi love put the whole thing back together successfully! The couple successfully remarried.
I loved her quote on page 91, “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek & find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” For instance, one chapter discusses how routines easily becomes ruts that trap us. She teaches how to be an active person in the other person’s life; your mate’s passion can either be between you or with you as a couple.
I love it that she confronts the common fantasy that he or she will be perfect. For 35 years I have been saying that all couples are incompatible and marriage is where one works out one’s incompatibilities. Finally, I have discovered in wabi sabi love, an art of love that embraces that truth about incompatibilities, and begins with the realistic expectation that your mate will be infuriatingly imperfect. Or as Arielle describes it, “…initially I thought that once I’d found my soulmate, our love would evolve naturally. We’d be loving on autopilot, happily floating through one delicious day after another. If only! All couples—even soulmates—have challenges to face & obstacles to overcome in romantic partnership.” Yeah, buddy; she is telling it like it is.
Arielle talks about offering prayers of gratitude for your beloved mate. She also gives an anecdote (on pgs. 86-89) about a woman who thinks she’s the spiritual one in the marriage, which caused her to distance herself from her man (block her heart from receiving love). But through wabi sabi love, she got a breakthrough and learned to appreciate her husband and find happiness. The author says, “This ancient practice has brought me…us…more joy and love than the two of us could ever have dreamed, and it’s something I know you, too, can experience!” (p.8)
For those who are interested the book, here are the details.> Wabi Sabi Love: The Ancient Art of Finding Perfect Love in Imperfect Relationships, by Arielle Ford, copyright 2012, pub. HarperCollins.