The Key to Lasting Love

The secret to lasting love, according to Katie and Gay Hendricks, is to approach love as you would any creative endeavor.

In Conscious Loving Ever After, coauthors (and husband and wife) Katie and Gay Hendricks advise partners to make the following pledge: I commit to enjoying my full capacity for love and creativity.

Often when we think about creativity, we worry that we must produce something of value—a painting, a written work, even the perfect rendition of Julia Child’s Coq au Vin recipe. But, says Katie Hendricks, this perception misses the point. True creativity is a whole mind, whole body approach to life that is playful and joyful—a way of relating with openness and curiosity to ourselves, the people we love, and the world around us.

So, you might say, that sounds nice, but what does that have to do with my relationship?
Absolutely everything, says Katie.

In Conscious Loving Ever After the Hendrickses describe how, for them and the thousands of couples they’ve coached, reconnecting with their individual creative spark has been the secret to lasting love. “When people get in deeper communication with their own individual creative essence, their relationships blossom as a direct result,” they write. What’s more, people who are alive to their inner flow become available for co-creativity. They let their experiences enrich and expand their choices, and they learn to apply the same creative energy to envisioning their relationship.

Easier said than done, because by the time we reach adulthood, most of us have lost touch with our creative spirit, says Katie. “In my family, I was the second born and my brother was always called Number One. I developed this Avis persona: I’m number two and I have to try harder. And I brought that with me into my marriage with Gay. But when I made a choice to put my own creativity first, our relationship improved dramatically.

“I asked myself, what is my unique genius?” Her answer came via a daily morning practice that includes journaling and movement, and is the source of new ideas and projects. But the process doesn’t stop with oneself. “You can ask the same question of your partner,” Katie says. “‘What do you want to do in the world, and how can I support you and how can you support me?’ That support is an expression of the genius of your relationship.”

Barbara Graham is an essayist, journalist, and playwright. She is author/editor of Eye of My Heart: 27 Writers Reveal the Hidden Pleasures and Perils of Being a Grandmother. She is a regular contributor for Mindful, her most recent piece, about insomnia, appeared in the December 2015 issue.
Photograph by Adam Gault