The Two Ingredients for Deepening Love: What Buddhism Can Teach Us About Partnership and its Challenges

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Love, by its nature, requires two ingredients: knowing your beloved well and accepting your beloved deeply. By “knowing,” I mean a knowledge of the other’s being as it is. That knowledge may not be completely accurate, or even very accurate, but it must be “good enough” for the other person to trust the image reflected back, to feel accepted and at ease. Over time, with the development of your psychological skills and curiosity, you will be able to expand your knowledge and interest in your partner and in your changing relationship. Retaining an open attitude toward your partner requires what Buddhists call “equanimity,” a relaxed and matter-of-fact attitude toward your experience, just as it is. Your interest and your equanimity combine, over time, to become what I call “true love”— the ability to see your partner clearly and embrace that person as he or she is.