Wabi Sabi Love
by Lynn M. Griesemer
“Wabi Sabi Love” by Arielle Ford (2010) caught my eye recently. I am drawn to relationship books and the first question I ask is, “How is this different from other relationship books?” Are there really new solutions and theories to the age-old questions of (1) What are the secrets to a happy marriage? (2) Is this book just a repackaging and renaming of previously known ‘secrets’? I am on the lookout for something new and unique.
The author begins: “Wabi Sabi is the ancient Japanese art form that finds beauty and perfection in imperfection. Wabi Sabi honors that which is imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. It is not mere acceptance or denial of the things that may annoy us, but rather a deep and profound appreciation for the uniqueness of each other.”
I found the concept interesting because oftentimes we try to deal with, ignore or avoid that which annoys us about our spouse rather than work on liking and embracing those qualities or behaviors.
Imagine your spouse ate a poppyseed bagel daily and walked through the house as he ate it, unknowingly dropping poppyseeds along his route. Rather than criticize, condemn and scold him for scattering crumbs all over the house, Wabi Sabi Love would be the wife simply smiling while sweeping or vacuuming the mess, thinking that the alternative would be an absent husband (divorce or death).
Given the choice, many of us would prefer to eliminate the imperfections in ourself and our spouse. Wabi Sabi means loving the quirks and seeing them as part of the whole. Wabi Sabi is big on forgiveness, gratitude, understanding and compassion.
I’m not sure Wabi Sabi has new and unique secrets to life-lasting love. What it did open up for me was the idea that we can expand this type of love from the spouse relationship and apply it to other relationships, such as with siblings, parents and co-workers.