Let’s face it, after the romantic phase, every relationship takes work, commitment and surrender to deepen and last. While Hollywood movies have painted a picture of what every relationship should be like, these are far from the reality of how real, lasting connections play out.
Celebrities have an especially tricky love life. They’re under constant scrutiny in the public eye. They have multiple distractions at a given time, and they’re always being idolized by someone, somewhere out there. So, how is it that Jason Momoa and Lisa Bonnet have managed to create the kind of relationship that has lasted over a decade? What is it that they’re doing that we can all learn from?
While arranged marriages work in some cultures, you just can’t fake the magic of initial attraction. It’s a real factor and cannot be overlooked. When Jason Momoa was eight years old, he first laid eyes on his future wife. He was instantly smitten. He remembers telling his mother, “I want that one.”
Initial attraction is the key that turns the lock on a door of possibilities. However, as every relationship deepens, that initial attraction plays a small part in the longevity of a great relationship.
Connection and Communication
Momoa is fond of saying that he and Bonet just “hit it off”, but what does this mean?
There’s a special excitement behind finding commonality with another person. This synchronicity is especially profound when it comes to our interests, our values, our beliefs, and our dreams.
The fantasy is often that the right person will have all of our interests, values, beliefs, needs, wants and desires in perfect alignment. That’s not the case. Relationships are a process of rational giving and taking, of finding common ground and then coming to terms to meet at other places. This is the realm of communication.
Compromise is a word that no one ever wants to hear, but it’s an authentic action that we very often have to implement in our intimate connections. The key is to never compromise on our values or the things we deem critical to our self-concept. When we sacrifice these things, we collapse our very foundations. This is where most resentment, pain, and suffering inside a relationship come from. When we learn what we’re willing to compromise on, and that which we’re not, we give our partners a greater understanding of who we are — the real us.
Before we can connect with people, truly connect with them, we need to allow ourselves to be seen. This is what researcher and storyteller Brene Brown discovered in her research into the field of relationships.
The power of vulnerability is the degree to which we welcome it into our lives. We can choose to implement it to a tiny degree, or we can turn up the heat and embrace it wholeheartedly.
To embrace it fully, we need to believe one thing above all else: that who we are, at our deepest levels, is an incredibly beautiful person. This is where the power of vulnerability opens us up to discover a depth of relationship with another person that stands the rigors of just about any stress test.
In her interview with Porter Lisa Bonet sung her husband’s praises, calling him an alpha male with a rare form of masculinity and devotion to family and love. She went on to delight readers with the complexity of his characteristics. What we see in the public eye is only a small fraction of what is a big part of Jason Momoa’s behavior.
Each of us is an iceberg of qualities. We have so much more beneath our superficial surface than most people would ever know. However, how many of us can honestly say that we’ve explored the depths of our character? How many of us can claim that we know ourselves completely? Authenticity is available to each of us if we seek it.
After twelve years of living together as partners, Momoa and Bonet finally tied the knot in 2017. Not many people knew about this intimate ceremony, held at their home in Topanga, California.
This is another factor in the power of their relationship. Privacy is important. There is a time to share, and there are always people to share with. However, it takes a great deal of discernment to know when to share and with whom to share it.
As a relationship deepens, and vulnerability leaves us exposed at deeper and deeper levels, trust has a chance to thrive in moments of sharing. The danger is that certain things can only be shared with people we trust. The more critical the information is to us, the more we need to be careful about who we share it with us.
The key to a great relationship is understanding privacy and what can be shared without undermining our vulnerability and our partners, too. The truth is that there are people out there who don’t have our best interests at heart. Sharing with them can be catastrophic. Being vulnerable with them could spell disaster. Be astute with who you share your truth with. This will deepen any relationship that is worth having.
Action Steps – Building A Lasting Relationship
To have a stellar relationship, like the kind Momoa and Bonet still have today, filled with passion, joy, laughter, and togetherness, we need to implement more than most people are willing to acknowledge. Let’s review a few of the critical actions to take.
Step 1: Acknowledge the Attraction
First comes the attraction. The rest will follow. Acknowledge this, and you won’t force yourself into a position where you convince yourself to like someone. The attraction is real, a biological marker of initial compatibility.
Step 2: Connect and Communicate
Communication builds greater degrees of understanding in each partner. It allows us to share how hopes, dreams, and aspirations. Most importantly, it will enable the other person to hear us, and feel listened to in return. With improved communication comes improved connection.
Step 3: Be Vulnerable
While there’s great fear in revealing ourselves to another person, without opening up to them, they’ll never know us, and they’ll never see us for who we truly are. Remember though, the most significant vulnerability we can ever exercise is with ourselves. Don’t expect to trust another until you trust yourself.
Step 4: Be Authentic
You could hide who you are, but it’ll come out eventually. If you’re interested in building a deeper relationship, reveal yourself in all your character. Be yourself in every aspect of your being. And then allow your partner to do the same, freely. Successfully done, nothing builds a stronger foundation in a relationship than the freedom we feel when we can indeed be ourselves around another person.
Step 5: Be Private When It Matters
Just like you wouldn’t share your passwords with a stranger, be careful who you share sensitive information with. Sharing allows others into a broader, more vulnerable space. Some people deserve this honor. Others don’t. Be discerning of people and will enable them to earn their place in your heart.
Together these practices have the power to deepen your relationships. Yes, it will take practice, but the results speak for themselves. And perhaps one day, you’ll be telling your children your own inspirational “how we met” story, the way Jason Momoa and Lisa Bonet’s account is inspiring generations today.