We are giving away a copy of Wabi Sabi Love: The Ancient Art of Finding Perfect Love in Imperfect Relationships by Arielle Ford. Check out this Q&A with the author, then leave a comment for your chance to win the book!
What is Wabi Sabi?
It is an ancient Japanese art form that honors all things old, weathered, worn, imperfect, and impermanent by finding the beauty in the imperfections. For instance, if you had a large vase with a big crack down the middle of it, a Japanese art museum would put the vase on a pedestal and shine a light on the crack, or they might fill the crack with 24k gold!
Wabi Sabi Love is devoted to exploring the simple, fun, and effective ways to apply this concept to our love relationships through stories and exercises that demonstrate how to attain groundbreaking shifts in perception so that you can embrace and find the beauty and perfection in each other’s imperfections. I call this “going from annoyed to enjoyed”!
Why did you write this book?
My previous book, The Soulmate Secret, unveiled the principles for attracting love. I found that my married friends were asking me for a book that would “turn my mate back into my soulmate.” One of the greatest myths in our society is that once we find our soulmate, our relationship will be effortless. If only! According to psychologist and researcher Dr. John Gottman, nearly every happily married couple has around ten irreconcilable differences. The top two are money and kids. The other biggies are sex, in-laws, housework, communication, balance between home and work, and political views. Wabi Sabi Love is a book that offers ways to turn conflict into compassion and create a more loving relationship. It shows you how to cultivate love for yourself and your partner, especially on the days when one of you is acting out, refusing to listen, or shutting down.
What is the benefit of Wabi Sabi Love?
Here are the sad but true facts about marriage today: 50 percent of first marriages, 67 percent of second marriages, and 74 percent of third marriages all end in divorce. Modern-day society has conditioned us to seek perfection, which leads to an ongoing state of frustration and dissatisfaction. In truth, we all know that perfection is not possible. But with Wabi Sabi Love, we can come to appreciate our own and the other’s imperfection, and can actually experience a more natural state of grace than we thought possible.
By practicing Wabi Sabi Love, you learn to accept the flaws, imperfections, and limitations—as well as the gifts and blessings—that form your shared history as a couple. Acceptance and its counterpart, under- standing, are crucial to achieving relationship harmony. It’s the highest form of love, and, like most things worth striving for in life, it requires patience, commitment, personal responsibility, and practice. Imagine how great you will feel when you know your partner loves all of you all the time—the good, the bad, and everything in between!
You believe couples should wear “rose-colored glasses” when it comes to seeing each other. Why?
Research by Sandra Murray, a psychologist at the University of Buffalo, reveals that putting on “rose- colored glasses” and idealizing our partner actually leads to more happiness and satisfaction in a relation- ship. In fact, the happiest couples focus on what’s right and not on what’s wrong. This is also known as the Pygmalion effect, the phenomenon in which the greater the expectation placed upon people, the better they perform. It’s a form of self-fulfilling prophecy. As mature adults, we get to choose our thoughts and beliefs; so why not intend and expect the best out of ourselves and our partners?
How do you “go from annoyed to enjoyed” when your partner does something that truly makes you crazy?
First, you must be willing to make a shift in your perception and see your mate’s behavior through a new, gentler, and kinder lens. Chances are, you see their behavior as “wrong or bad,” but imagine for a moment that this behavior exists solely to teach you how to become a more loving, compassionate person. Can you find the gift of that behavior? One of my favorite stories in the book is about a couple named Ed and Deb. Ed loves to meet new people and tell silly jokes. Deb has heard all of these silly jokes a million times and is often annoyed because when they are out and about running errands, she always ends up waiting for him while he is busy entertaining strangers. One day, after Deb found herself waiting for Ed for the third time in less than an hour—and her frustration was reaching new heights—she observed Ed befriending a lonely little boy sitting on the curb waiting for his mother. She heard Ed say to the boy, “How does a camel hide in the desert?” The boy gave him a quizzical look, and then Ed delivered the punch-line: “Camelflage.” With that, the boy burst into laughter just as his mother approached, giving Ed a big smile. It was at that moment that Deb, after a decade of marriage, finally got Ed’s true nature. He wasn’t trying to make her crazy at all. He just wanted to make people happy. And on that day, Deb found the beauty and perfection in what once made her nearly insane!
What steps can readers take immediately to become more loving?
It all comes down to choice. We can choose to find our partner’s behavior really annoying, or we can peer behind it to what’s really going on. Sometimes that requires taking a deep breath and a step back to look at the Big Picture. Humor really helps.