Down the busy road on a cool summer evening, Joanne and Peter were taking a stroll in the park. The birds announced their retreat as they fluttered over the sun, which was already halfway down the horizon. People were walking their dogs, while children were lost in their own playful world. An aged couple was sitting on the wooden bench admiring nature, a couple, sitting on the grass, playing with their child. Joanne looks at everything and wonders aloud “Are all relationships perfect?”. Peter was taken aback. He hadn’t realised when his little baby had grown up to become such an observant individual. Unsure of how to respond, he stopped and thought for a while. ‘Are they?’
He began to narrate his journey of the “perfect relationship” with his wife, Georgia. It was an arranged marriage. He never thought that he could marry a person he did not know, but when he met his wife for the first time, it felt like a match made in heaven.
Initially it was difficult for them to adjust. Before getting married, Peter had lived alone. He was responsible for himself and never had to answer to anyone else. Peter didn’t realise how marriage meant him changing some of his ways. A week after their marriage, Peter was returning from work really late. He assumed Georgia would have slept, and had his dinner outside. When he got home, he found Georgia waiting for him. In his surprise to find her up h sheepishly asked her why she hasn’t slept. Peter felt guilty and realised his mistake. Since then he made sure he would always inform if he was coming home late. With time, they both tuned into each other’s habits and an understanding developed.
They fought over trivial things but their love never faded away. After 5 years, they were blessed with a beautiful daughter and she made their relationship perfect. Peter would wait the entire day just to see his daughter smile, while Georgia would never fail to capture those moments. They would never fail to spend time with Joanne but somehow they stopped spending time with each other.
He always thought this to be a perfect life. A perfect relationship. A perfect family. However, Georgia wanted more from him. Georgia wanted his attention, his love that she felt had faded away. Things slowly but surely changed, Joanne became their first priority. In his happiness, Peter never asked Georgia how she was doing or if she was happy with the way things were. He never noticed her fading happiness.
He couldn’t imagine his life without Joanne and Georgia. Nevertheless, Georgia felt a huge part missing in their relationship. Peter started working extra hours so that he could save little more for their future, but for Georgia that did not matter. He would come home tired and then would spend time with his daughter. Georgia felt as if she was alone in that relationship. This continued for few years till she couldn’t take it any longer. They separated, and as difficult as it was for Peter, he felt that it was needed because their daily fights and arguments were starting to impact Joanna and her life. Now, after 4 years of being separated he had come to understand that individually they were much happier than when they were trying to save their ‘perfect relationship’.
Peter looked at his daughter and continued with his story. In the past 4 years, he has had so much time to get to know Joanne and he treasures their relationship that has developed. He feels like they are best friends now. They share almost everything with each other, starting from him going on dates with other woman and her talking about the difficulties of entering puberty.
Peter feels that he shares the perfect relationship with Joanne, as for him the definition of being “perfect” is not only being with each other but understanding and trusting one another.
They’re still sitting on the same spot over the past hour, while the sun has said goodbye and most of the people have left. Silence has engulphed them, and all you can hear are the crickets. Peter is eagerly waiting for Joanne to say something. She could sense that her father was becoming restless. While Joanne attentively listened to her father’s narration of his relationship with her mother, she thought for a while, looked at her father and said, “our relationship is perfect, isn’t it?”. Peter smiled, rested his arm on her shoulder, and allowed his heart to burst with happiness.
Perfect relationships are not always about a couple, it can be about any two people who share a good bond and understand each other well. According to Terri Orbuch, Ph.D, a Michigan clinical psychologist, a perfect relationship doesn’t mean that we don’t have to work for it. It doesn’t mean that because there is love between two people, passion will fade away. Orbuch also mentioned that in order to thrive for the perfect relationship, the other partner shouldn’t change and that fights don’t ruin relationships.
How would you define a perfect relationship?