Last week we looked at ten building blocks that make for a successful intimate relationship between two artists or between an artist and a non-artist. Here are the remaining ten building blocks:
11. Maintenance of friendship. Nothing is more crucial to the viability of an intimate relationship than that the partners be friends; and friendships, like love relationships, require definite care and attention.
12. A monitoring of moods in oneself and one’s partner. Both partners will sometimes feel blue and depression will likely prove an uninvited but persistent houseguest in the relationship, one who must be regularly acknowledged and banished.
13. An acceptance of difficulties. Each of us is quick to suppose that we may have a hard time of it but are rather reluctant to accept the proposition that our partner may also have a hard time of it, as of course he or she may.
14. Shared principles and values. Since it is likely that you will try to live your principles rather than just pay them lip service, it will be a good thing verging on a necessity that your partner share your values and concerns.
15. Management of one’s own journey. Each partner has the job of taking responsibility for his or her own life, for setting goals and planning, for making choices and taking action, for proceeding as a responsible adult.
16. Careful communicating. You are your partner will want to speak carefully and clearly about the large and small relationship matters that arise endlessly and that fester if not addressed.
17. A bringing of one’s artfulness to the partnership. A creative person can bless her relationship by bringing the same qualities to it that she brings to her art, qualities as diverse as whimsy, imagination, resilience, and meticulousness.
18. Maintenance of a present orientation. Each partner lets go of past grievances, even in the face of repeat offences, not to engage in wishful thinking or denial but so as to deal with issues in their specific and current reality.
19. Fair treatment. Fairness in everything—in the honoring of agreements, the equitable distribution of resources, the respect shown in word and deed—is the glue that holds a healthy relationship together.
20. The creation of a supportive relationship. Even if two people find it easy to relate, even if both are “low maintenance,” they will still have to invest real time and pay real attention to the thing they have created together, an edifice that is certain to need the occasional repainting and new roof.
The ultimate goal for an artist and his or her partner is the creation by two ever-changing people of a bastion of safety and sanity in a dangerous world. It is the creation of nothing less than a tight-knit unit, like a resistance cell in an occupied country, where each protects, supports, and respects the other. This fine relating eludes most artists and most human beings, but it remains a high ideal and a special prize worth pursuing.
Eric, thanks for these. My wife and I bond over them. Your work has inspired and changed my life more than anyone. Ever thought about writing a book about “creative couples”? It would be hugely helpful. Thanks!