in: love

5 Truths I’ve Learned from My 20-Year Relationship

Guest Contributor

We might have the most wisdom to glean from the relationships that have endured the test of time. Here are five truths from a couple who’s 20-years deep.

—This article was originally published by our friends at elephant journal; we’re republishing (with permission!) because we love it… and them. Enjoy.— 

I was 18 years old when we met.

He was living in a canvas tent. I was staying in a friend’s tipi across the meadow.

We went on a road trip one weekend, and when we returned we both called the canvas tent home.

We have lived together ever since.

That was 20 years ago this summer.

We have never married, but we have the same last name.

We have brought two children into the world, built our own home, and traveled the world—and still it often feels like we are just getting to know each other.

Here are some of the things I have learned so far on this journey of sharing my life with another human:

1) You Can Never Really Know What Goes on for Another Person.

You would think after 20 years we would know what makes the other tick, and of course, in some ways we do. But amazingly, mostly… we don’t. What my life partner thinks about during the day, what inspires him, what he wants to do for the next 20 years—I have to admit, this is still mostly a mystery for me.

And I am fully aware that he can barely figure out what I would like to have for lunch on a given day.

The Lesson:

The only person’s inner world we can experience is our own.

Anything else needs to be communicated, and still it can be hard to understand another person. Sometimes I think we just have to let go of this need to understand anyone, even ourselves, and just commit to bringing as much truth, love and authenticity as we can to our experiences

2) Unconditional Love is Much Harder Than It Sounds.

When we share a life with another person, their choices and actions have an incredibly strong impact on our own lives. This is hard. We want to give our whole hearts to the person we have chosen to be our mate, but we also want to be comfortable. When we feel let down, don’t have our needs met, or are inconvenienced by our mate, the pain is like a filter on our unconditional love. We love the other person, but we also have wants and needs, and these can get in the way of simply sending love.

The Lesson:

We need to be gentle with ourselves when it comes to the process of unconditional love. We need to have boundaries and space for our own truth. Unconditional love is not being a martyr.

Unconditional love is walking through each moment knowing we are all trying our best.


Follow us to elephant journal to continue reading “5 Truths I’ve Learned from My 20-Year Relationship” and have a happy day.

About the Author

Ruth Lera is a contributor with elephant journal. She is a mindfulness meditation teacher, energy healer, writer and boreal forest loiterer. She is the creator and teacher of the online school The Self Healing Academy which offers courses designed to help students tap into their innate ability to heal themselves. Besides being a regular contributor forelephant journal, Ruth shares her thoughts on energy healing and the universe on her blog, Facebook page, and on Twitter.

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