Torben and Marissa are a pair of documentary filmmakers , jazz-music lovers, and insightful question-answerers. During our near-hour conversation together, we talked openly about the importance of honesty and vulnerability, and why it’s so hard to have those two things in a relationship. They enlighten me on why a relationship (the right relationship) will actually help you grow and experience more, not less. We ponder on gender roles and traditions. And we discuss the interesting concept of power dynamics in a relationship… specifically why Marissa’s healthy dose of “unimpressed” is what really helped Torben fall head-over-heels for her.
The first time Torben and Marissa met, they ended up having a long and meaningful conversation. It was obvious that they had a connection. In a sense, they just “clicked.” But that feeling of meant-to-be can put a lot of pressure on a relationship. It can create an expectation that things always have to be angel giggles and unicorn kisses as Torben explains:
Having an amazing connection comes in tandem with the fear of losing it. And so that makes you behave in a lot of odd ways… at first we we were both experiencing it separately, and we thought that we were the only ones experiencing it. And almost as if we were to say it out loud, it would represent the ruin of our relationship. And at some point, that became the very thing that empowered the relationship, was talking about it. Talking about the good and the bad.
One of my favorite parts of our conversation was listening to Marissa and Torben explain how they had to stop forcing themselves into roles that weren’t natural or a good fit for them. They had to invent their own way to be happy in their relationship, and that meant throwing out some of the ideas of what they previously thought it meant to be married.
When we first got married, we both had inherited certain ideas about what marriage looked like. What I was supposed to do. What she was supposed to do. Different gender roles. I was out dutifully working 2 jobs and going to school full time. Marissa felt like the pressure of keeping the house clean rested solely on her shoulders. We had to throw that out because it wasn’t working for us. That’s not who we are. We were unhappy trying to fulfill roles – trying to will them into being – when that’s not who we are.
I hope you enjoy this podcast as much as I did. I really appreciated how thoughtful and deliberate each answer was. It has helped me shift my paradigm. I have spent days mulling over the things I learned about how many of my own ideas of what I want in a relationship or even a partner might be completely wrong.
Every day we get a chance to create the relationships and memories we want in our lives. The question is, “Are we willing to have the hard conversations, say no to the things that don’t feel right, and love the people closest to us so that we can create that life for ourselves?”
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