Wabi Sabi Love

Embracing Imperfections in Relationships



The ancient Japanese art form of Wabi Sabi honors all things old, weathered, worn and impermanent by perceiving the beauty in imperfections. It discovers grace in things modest, humble and unconventional.

Wabi Sabi love is the art and practice of appreciating the quirks and imperfections in our self and our partner. Listening with our heart, we come to see with it, too. Discerning the hidden dance between partners brings emotional maturity to our relationships as we shift our focus from what’s wrong to what’s right. This new, true view deeply bonds us and is a key to everlasting love—and any harmonious relationship.

Spiritual teacher David Deida counsels, “Practicing love often means… surrendering all hold on the familiar act you call ‘me.’” By choosing to turn everyday conflict into compassion, we cultivate a more loving relationship through humor, listening, intimacy and generosity, even when someone is acting out, refusing to listen or shutting down.

Acceptance and its counterpart, understanding, are crucial to achieving relationship harmony. It’s the highest form of love and, like most things worth striving for, requires patience, commitment, personal responsibility, playfulness and practice. Imagine how great it is to feel loved all the time by a friend and partner—during the good, the bad and everything in-between.

We shift our choices from “what I want,” to what is ultimately best for the relationship.


It starts when we shift our perception and see our mate’s behavior through a gentler and kinder lens of mutual respect and lightheartedness. Research by Psychologist Sandra Murray, Ph.D., at the University of Buffalo, reveals that donning “rose-colored glasses” and idealizing our partner leads to more happiness and satisfaction in a relationship, and that the happiest couples focus on what’s right. In what is known as the Pygmalion effect, the greater the expectation placed upon people, the better they perform.

Keeping an open heart and mind also prepares us to receive our partner’s best expectations and highest level of caring, even if it might seem different than what we expect. When we choose to lovingly accept each another, let go of issues and apologize for any wrongdoing, it transforms the relationship.

Overall, we better appreciate the bigger picture and go from being annoyed to enjoyed!


Bestselling author Arielle Ford is a leader in the personal growth and contemporary spirituality movement. Her new release is Wabi Sabi Love (WabiSabiLove.com). Subscribe to a free Soulmate Secret newsletter at ArielleFord.com.

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