Are You My Perfect Partner?

By Myoshin and Edwin Kelley • 3 min read

Joy of Living

Two Unwritten Rules

We have been together for over forty years, and during that time, we have learned a lot. We are both now convinced that neither of us is Mr. or Mrs. Perfect — quite the opposite. Early in our relationship, during a debrief after a joint retreat, we identified two unwritten rules in our relationship that we live by. First, we don’t try to change each other. That one is most important — learn how to accept your partner for who they are. It is their responsibility to grow, not yours. Secondly, don’t dump on each other. It is so easy to take out our frustrations on the people whom we are closest to, but if we love someone, why would we treat them as a garbage dump?

Another common thread in our relationship is honoring the other person’s path. Sometimes, what is right for one of us proved quite challenging for the other. For example, at one point, Myoshin felt drawn to do long-term practice. Edwin found it challenging that his life partner was gone for an extended period, and he was left to live alone. He soon realized how important the practice was for Myoshin and found he had no choice but to incorporate what was happening into his practice. It was the right thing for Myoshin to do at that point in her life. Why should he be the one to deprive her of what she most needed?

Throughout our time together, we slowly learned we were not responsible for each other’s happiness. True happiness can only be found within ourselves. Trying to be the source of happiness for your partner just robs them of the opportunity to discover true happiness within themselves. Why would we think that becoming the source of happiness for your best friend would be a sustainable strategy?

Our Wedding Vows

The morning of our wedding, we woke up in bed together and realized we had not written our vows. Here’s what we came up with:

  • To laugh with you
  • To share in the celebration of our love
  • To care for you in the good times and the bad
  • To respect your essential being
  • To joke with you when you get too serious

These affirmations seem as pertinent today as they did when we wrote them. They echo a sense of love, celebration, respect, and, above all, humor.

Neither of us thinks of ourselves or each other as perfect. Nonetheless, we are here for each other. It is a journey — one that we are committed to taking together. The thing that we both find most supportive is our understanding and practice of the dharma. What a gift! Whenever the journey gets rocky, the dharma always proves to be a source of strength and resilience. It provides the wisdom and compassion needed to be with whatever is happening, to understand at a deeper level, to find joy, to let go of the stickiness, to stay connected, and to enjoy the ride. We feel truly blessed.

About the Authors

Myoshin and Edwin Kelley are long-time meditators who shepherded the development of Tergar International. Edwin served variably as executive director, co-executive director, and CFO, and Myoshin oversaw the development of Tergar groups and the training of community leaders. After decades in the United States, they have settled on the Sapphire Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Both continue to serve Tergar, actively supporting Mingyur Rinpoche’s students as instructors.

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