Tips for Fishing and Living # 67, Part One:

Tip #67:

Part One of Two:

“Of course, now I am too old to be much of a fisherman, and now of course, I usually fish the big waters alone, although some friends think I shouldn’t. Like many fly fishermen in western Montana where the summer days are almost Arctic in length, I often do not start fishing until the cool of the evening. Then in the Arctic half-light of the canyon, all existence fades to being with my soul and memories and the sounds of the Big Blackfoot River and a four-count rhythm and the hope that a fish will rise.”               Norman Fitzroy Maclean, A River Runs Through It

The other day I was trying to explain to a couple I am working with what could be available to them through the particular dialogue technique I was attempting to teach them. But for some reason they just weren’t getting it; he especially so. Finally I blurted out:

“Screw the technique! It’s the connection with each other’s souls that I’m wanting so badly for you.”

I am convinced that the WHY – the Reason – for wanting to do anything is the most important component of any goal. Once we know the WHY, then all of the HOWS become a matter of mere details. We first need to know what it is we want before we go can about getting into the various things that might improve the possibility of us effectively achieving any desired result. When we don’t know the WHY we often are just spinning our wheels. The old adage: “If you don’t know where you are going, then any road will do,” readily applies.

This also applies to lots of things. And it certainly applies to committed relationships and marriage. I don’t think many couples set out with very ambitious or audacious goals when it comes to what they want from their marriage. They may have vague or general ideas, such as a partner that they get along with, a house, a child or two, but then that’s about it.

When my wife and I got married I took on that we would create a marriage that is extraordinary. I didn’t know at the time what that really meant, except I wanted us to become fabulous lovers and grow closer with each passing year. I also didn’t know what it would take to create an extraordinary marriage.

Call it naïve, or silly, or grandiose, but I am truly glad to have set the bar high. I contend that couples are either slowly growing closer together, or they are drifting apart. You might also say we made it clear that our WHAT was: we wanted to have a relationship that is thriving and growing and that we are always discovering how to love one another more. Over these many years since our wedding we have discovered newer and more effective HOWS. We have discovered some of our approaches were not helpful and so we have jettisoned them. We have found others that have proven to be helpful and we have built upon these in our efforts to grow in our capacity to love.

Older people who have had the benefit of putting in sufficient time may learn a few of the tricks of the trade.  Those couples who have managed to hang in there with a life-long partner, and who have refused to settle for some sort of sad and unfulfilling arrangement, as well as, have not otherwise become so discouraged – resigned – so as to no longer keep trying, are very special people. These are people who have discovered something quite miraculous. These are people who may have endured and suffered some minor or serious setbacks in order to have gained the wisdom that now carries them today.

Grace perfects nature is an expression I love. In addition to this I also know there is no such thing as quick and easy grace. Couples that endure and learn – often by trial and error – have a sustaining fortitude and a perseverance. They are willing to go to that “school of hard knocks” and get their PhD! What these life-long learners discover often comes as a result of their initial desire to be loved. Somewhere along the way they come to believe that in order to get love you must give love. This carries them to a point’ but it isn’t enough.

For the really special couples something truly miraculous happens: they discover that giving love turns into a steadfast and graced series of opportunities in how to give love unceasingly, and to give it without expectations. Their new found capacity to give love grows and eventually becomes limitless. It has no boundaries; it does not require anything in return. It is, instead, a matter of the soul and of a soul connection. This is what I was hoping for the couple I mentioned earlier who I am trying to teach how to communication better.

The people that have discovered marriage to be a place to learn how to become masterful lovers are all around us. They rarely make the news or headlines. Masterful lovers is not what they describe themselves to be. They are humble people who are able to be vulnerable. They are also courageous enough to totally risk everything without any assurance that the risk they take will be worth it. And, of course, it always is. But by this point it is NOT why they do so. By now it is as though they cannot help it.

As I have said, marital relationships can be the place for growth and development like no other – a school for learning – but only if the two parties choose to make it so. It isn’t automatic. It is not even easy. It is, however, where every crisis or bump in the road can become an opportunity. It is also an on-going and lifelong commitment to discover how to grow closer and how to learn to love each other on the other’s terms. Masterful lovers eventually arrive at some fundamental understandings regarding marriage. Here are but a few:

  • Being right is highly over rated and is not very important.

In fact when we surrender our compulsive need to be right we gain an understanding and insight about becoming close and intimate with our mate. Understand that each party naturally thinks he or she is right, and in a sense each one is. Each is right from his or her vantage point – from each one’s different and unique perspective.


Therefore it is simply one’s perspective that isn’t shared with the other partner. Our partner sees it to be different. It’s just different; not better. The late Bert Hellinger, Ph.D., once chided a couple that their so-called discussions were mostly designed with the sole purpose of each wanting to convince the other person to believe something he or she doesn’t believe. He stated, “That’s always a waste of time. Let him/her have their opinion. Yours isn’t any better; it’s only different.”     

Part Two will be posted next week: