Danny & Mara (The coolest couple in all the lands)
Ay yi yi. Ok. Remember the last post when I said that Natalie Holbrook is my blogging hero? Well, that is still true. But, I have to make it known that so are Danny and Mara Kofoed. Their little space on the net titled, A BLOG ABOUT LOVE, has been exploding the last several months, and I'm just another avid fan ranting and raving about the wonderful people they are and all the wonderful things they have to say. I honestly click onto their blog everyday and am constantly in awe of their story, their grace, and their endless wisdom. The things they share are from the heart, and it's not just inspiring, it's thought-provoking. So much, that their readers seem to be anything but reluctant to chime in and share their own thoughts and feelings, creating a genuine venue for both raw and heartwarming discussions. These two lovely little fishes just seem to really "get it." But the two have certainly traveled some pretty broken roads to get to where they are now. And they have no shame in boldly sharing that with their readers and highlighting how those trials of the past, and even trials in the present, continue to make them the incredibly brilliant, strong, and humble people they are today. I could go on further, but I won't. Danny and Mara are champions in life and in love. Get it?
And their post today about finding a love that's real.... well, shoot. It really struck some deep chords with me. So much that, HI. Here I am, inspired as ever, to share with you my response to their ways of thinking. Are you pumped?! Good, meee too.
Here's what went down in today's post.
Danny & Mara responded to a reader who asked the couple (in my own words/rephrasing): Is it really real? Is the undeniable, over the hills romantic love the two of you have for each other really real? And if it is, are these the kind of standards we should hold in our own quests for love/marriage?
To which Danny responded with (again in my own recap) that Yes! The love Mara and him share is really real! And much of that is due to the fact that they share all the same core values as one another in both life and in love, which is essential for a happy and functioning relationship. But, they are also very lucky in that, they additionally share some "fun" things in common, which is what makes their love as giddy and passionate as it is.
However nice those "fun"additions are, Danny emphasizes how important sharing core values really is and how if you focus on that, above all, then you're on a good path to finding a love that is real and sustainable.
Before I go any further, let's just back up for a sec. Let's talk about the reader's question. Totally legit, right? I know for me personally, I have been in relationships in the past where I felt totally compatible and content with the dude I was with, but it didn't necessarily feel like there were always as many fireworks going off as there should be. Perhaps Disney or Moulin Rouge is to blame for this, but I've also known a few couples in real life who literally fell in love within five seconds of meeting one another and are still together today and still madly in love. I look at them, and I think, well, that's what real love looks like. And I am two things. 1. Replenished with faith that it does exist, but also 2. In question with whether what I have with my own relationships at times, is real love. Is it a sustainable one? Am I missing out on something better? What I've come to learn is that finding healthy compatibility plus immense passion is very rare. People like Danny and Mara, my good friends Kendal and Mike, my step-brother Mitch and his wife Melissa... these folks are lucky. They found their "meant-to-be" counterparts, and there are tons of fireworks going off for them.
I have experienced the fireworks too. But let me tell you, they have been in situations that are the epitome of dysfunctional and unhealthy. Doesn't that seem, so often, to be the case for many of us? Could it be that those intense feelings of love and passion are usually most prevalent and/or heightened with those we cannot be with, those situations which are inevitably doomed?
It was only about a year ago that I was laying on a bed singing Cat Stevens as a beautiful man strummed his guitar beside me and looked at me as if I was the only person who existed in the world. In fact, I started singing the song on my own and then interrupted myself with the comment, "too bad we don't have a guitar." To which he smiled, and said, "hang tight. I'll be right back." In slight confusion, I laid on that bed, patiently waiting for him to return, only to be swooned to the greatest power, when he came back with a brand new looking guitar in hand. "Hey, where'd you get that?" I asked. "The store just now," he replied, "let's make some music." And so we sang and played the guitar. And we laughed. I laughed. I mean I really laughed. And he listened. And I listened. And we held hands. And we kissed. And we cried. And he called me "honey", but it sounded much sweeter than normal. And he said things like, "You're absolutely beautiful," but it sounded more genuine than normal. And we stayed up the whole night talking about life and our lives. And at moments we were silent and still, we laid next to one another, feeling felt and understood. And he smiled at me the only way a man can smile "I love you" and give a girl complete satisfaction with out actually having to say those three words aloud, because they were written in his eyes. And I smiled back at him. And together we never stopped smiling. I felt like I was living in a dream. Or as he called it, "A strange movie." Which is fine by me, because I'm a lover of all things strange, and I knew he meant it in the most romantic way. And in the short few weeks I spent with this man, I was a lover of him. And a lover of love. And a lover in the faith that true love does exist. But often only in situations that are short-lived.
Because as loving and exciting as it all was, it was also one of the most screwed up situations I've ever found myself in with a person. It's a situation I'm not proud of. A complicated event made up of me and this beautiful man, who as beautiful as he was, was also very sad, with a very serious drinking problem. A series of traits, that I had long promised myself I wouldn't subject myself to again. And so, without much surprise, and with much heartache and disappointment, our little spectacle ended. And I probably will never see him again. But the moments we shared together, I will never forget. I know that those fireworks do exist, and it was a magical moment in my love life to have felt them.
But what I'm looking for in my future is more than just "a rush" or a "deep connection" to a person. More than just five minutes of beauty and magic. I'm looking for a lifetime of love and support and healthy living with another human being. Of course, we all want to feel the rush or some crazy deep connection. Those things are great, but they aren't always practical or enough to build a lasting relationship upon. They just aren't. And still, I think a lot of us get lost putting those expected over-the-top feelings of romance and passion first before anything else. We pursue those factors above all and perhaps even follow them into marriages. Either that, or we feel like the relationships or marriages we hold are lacking, when chances are they're not. But we follow into those feelings, those doubts. Which then turns to divorces. Everywhere. Left to right. (Having never been married or divorced myself, I don't speak out of personal experience, and I don't speak on behalf of all divorces, obviously. I speak out of observation, my own, on how things seem to be.)
I couldn't agree with Danny & Mara anymore: you have to look for what's important to you. What do you believe in, and what is it that you live for? Figure out those things for yourself, and then find someone who shares those same values. Find someone who is happy on their own. I can't help but to snap my fingers to this exact quote from Danny:
"I needed someone to understand the concept of real happiness (that it comes from them and not me. I may add to it, but I'm not responsible for it, neither is a perfect set of circumstances.)"
And also, don't give into the idea that because the heavy passion isn't completely there that the grass is certainly greener elsewhere. Danny says this too, which I love:
"Don't spend time comparing your story to ours. Much of what we share as a couple does not, in my mind, need to be present in a truly great relationship. I look at the best relationships I know, and most of them are based primarily on core principles, and not on some spectacular love story."
Doesn't that little tip fill you with so much comfort and reassurance about love? It does for me. I just think that so many people, myself included, have and have had some very skewed ideas about what love is, and I think we do have rom coms and fairytale books to blame. I mean, I just took a break from writing this post right now to watch the Bachelor and look at how many stunning finales/proposals have led us to believe that true passionate love is out there and easily attainable. Well, mmm not so much. So many of those happy endings on The Bachelor have eventually led to a break up. I mean Ali and Roberto? Seriously? I thought those kids were for real REAL. Like FOREVER kind of real. But they weren't. The reality of it is, they had some fire-y passion for three months (as any two people should traveling half way around the world together, being super tan and feeling buzzed off champagne frequently), then they came home and lived together for a year like a normal couple, and then they broke up. Like many normal, real people do. Because it didn't work out. Just like many relationships in life don't work out. I'm not friends with Ali and Roberto in real life (I just follow them on twitter), heck- I don't know what went wrong in their engagement, but it just goes to show that passion and fairy-tale-like romance isn't enough to build a lasting love with someone.
I've only been a living, breathing soul on this earth for twenty four years. Really, anyone can say, you're so young, what do you know? But in my twenty four years, my experiences have been great, my learning even greater. Understanding love and what it means, it's still an on-going project in this big heart and mind of mine, but I'm beginning to feel like the real love, the real romance is not found in crazy, passionate, over the top affairs, but rather, it's found in the relationships that stand the test of time, the relationships that last a lifetime, the relationships that are built on respect, kindness, patience, and unwavering support for one another. I mean really, what's more romantic than those old couples who can say, we've stuck together for fifty years, through thick and thin, here we are. IS THAT NOT WHERE THE FIREWORKS ARE REALLY GOING OFF PEOPLE?! Or no? I say YES.
In closing, I leave you with one last bit of brilliance brought to you by Danny and Mara,
"Love isn't finding a soul mate. It's being a soul mate."
I'm still sticking with my salute to stay single for now, but when I do decide to bring romance back into my life, I know exactly how I plan to go about it. And I can't wait! I can't wait to meet my team-mate. I mean I can, but you know what I mean! :-)
Thank you Dana and Mara for doing the good work you do, sharing your hearts, your minds, your all around goodness! I love you both.