This is another one of those topics that makes me nervous to write about. Just like finances, my track record isn’t the best in this area. I’m currently divorced without an intimate romantic partnership on the horizon. What do I know about love?
Love is not what it’s made out to be in the media. I’m a songwriter. 95% of love songs are not realistic. They’re not really about love, but rather about infatuation and lust. Real love is messy. Real love is tough. Real love includes the hard knocks. Real love takes time.
This Is Where Minimalism Fits Into The Picture
- When we intentionally choose to live with less belongings, we open up more space to focus on our relationships.
- When we intentionally reduce the amount of busyness in our daily schedules, we open up more time to focus on relationships.
- When we intentionally reduce our media consumption, we open our minds and hearts for the most important people in our lives.
This seems simple, right? It is. It’s implementing these things that’s the hard part.
Our culture teaches us to take others on the consumeristic journey with us. The traditional version of romantic love includes lots of gift-giving: flowers, cards, books, sweets, jewelry, diamonds, big weddings, cars, houses, and more. The media and our culture teach us that love is simply a part of this materialistic journey. Most Americans accept that version of love face value. It’s backwards. Having our basic needs met is part of the loving journey. We do not need more. We’re just told that we do.
Stop and Think
We do the same for our kids. We buy them birthday presents, Christmas presents, presents just because. We take them to restaurants where they get little toys with each meal. They falsely learn that stuff is what life is about rather than love. They become selfish and greedy. They would be better off to live with less. I had very little as a child. I think I’m better for it. Our kids deserve our time first.
It’s in the midst of this materialistic journey that we lose our sense of empathy and true love. Money is one of the biggest reasons for divorce. When we put stuff before people, we’re bound to fail. Let go of stuff and you’re more likely to begin and keep successful relationships.
How Minimalism Makes More Time For Love
- More time for yourself: Love starts within you. You must find peace within your own spirit before you seek a love relationship. When we truly accept ourselves for who we are, we’ll be more prepared to accept others for who they are. Letting go of material goods helps you to focus on your own inner-being. You discover your own strengths and weaknesses. You become more happy with yourself. You become more available to love others.
- More time for your family: Letting go of stuff allows you to spend more time with your partner, your kids, your parents, your family. I’ve noticed that the happiest moments that I’ve had with my daughter are the moments when we communicate openly. Stuff gets in the way of open communication. You can’t talk when you are consumed by products and the media.
- More time to see the truth about others: You might think I’m a hypocrite for writing a post about love when I’ve had a failed marriage. That’s a long story, but my marriage was doomed from the start. Why? Because my partner did not understand that you must love yourself before you can love others. She became so mentally and emotionally unstable that she could not care for an infant child. If I’d have been practicing minimalism from the start of our relationship, I’d have taken the time to see the truth about her and her family. They treat love as a prize (stuff) rather than a journey (relationship).
- More time to build new relationships: Living with less opens up time to build new relationships. It also helps you to see what’s important in a relationship. As a minimalist, I have learned to let go of emotional baggage. Relationships that create discord are toxic. The emotional baggage is built up and stored. Being a minimalist allows us to check the baggage at the start. Taking your focus off stuff and putting it on one another helps to create time to understand each other more clearly.
Want Better Relationships?
I’ll freely admit that I’m not a relationship guru. I’m a relatively shy person when it comes to romantic relationships. I do know what I look for in another. I look for the same things that I’m willing to give: my time and my space. This is what I do for my daughter and other important people in my life. I make time and space for open and honest communication.
Have you made time and space for the important people in your life?