Esther Perel has taken the world by storm with her thought-provoking, revolutionary way of viewing many couples’ challenges. In her podcast, Where should we begin?, she brings us behind the scenes to witness truth-telling, soul-baring therapy sessions she has with her clients. Esther Perel’s quotes alone open the door to seeing relationships in a brand new light.
Perel has also authored two compelling books. Here are some of my favorite Esther Perel quotes, along with some of my thoughts on why I find them to be so impactful:
1. Esther Perel urges us to listen in:
“Listen. Just listen. You don’t have to agree. Just see if you can understand that there’s another person who has a completely different experience of the same reality.”
How simple yet profound this is! So many disagreements in my life have come from not listening to what the other person is saying. Instead of listening, I’ve found myself thinking about what I will say next. Listening carefully can cause a conflict to be avoided altogether.
2. She encourages us to broaden our support system:
“Today, we turn to one person to provide what an entire village once did: a sense of grounding, meaning, and continuity. At the same time, we expect our committed relationships to be romantic and emotionally and sexually fulfilling. Is it any wonder that so many relationships crumble under the weight of it all?”
This quote hit me. It’s hard to imagine living the way our ancestors once did long ago, where an entire village was there to support us along our way.
Now, with our tech-based lives, we are more isolated. I appreciate her view. We need to build a community for ourselves for many reasons – including that it’s the healthiest thing we can do for our relationships.
3. Perel states that trust is the baseline from which we can flourish:
“The more we trust, the farther we are able to venture.”
How many times was I held back in my life because I didn’t have the trust in myself or my partner that I needed?
Esther Perel states that trust is critical for exploring ourselves, our partners. And our relationships.
4. She teaches us that a secure relationship is a balancing act:
“Love rests on two pillars: surrender and autonomy. Our need for togetherness exists alongside our need for separateness.”
Finding the right balance between these two is an ongoing challenge. Recognizing that it’s okay to need both is both validating and grounding.
5. Esther Perel reminds us that in choosing a partner, we’re choosing a story:
“When you pick a partner, you pick a story. So what kind of story are you going to write? You are the editors of your life stories. Write well and edit often. And remember … a life story is not a love story. You can love a lot more people than you can make a life with.”
Ahhhh! This quote is a good one. So true.
I like the idea of “writing well and editing often.” It’s our story, and we are authoring and creating it every day.
Also, our partner is more than someone we love. They are someone with whom we can co-create a story together.
6. She says that keeping a sense of autonomy is key to keeping the spark alive:
“It’s hard to feel attracted to someone who has abandoned her sense of autonomy.”
Perel often talks about the relationship between love and sexual intimacy and says they exist as parallel narratives. The attraction piece thrives when there exists a sense of mystery and autonomy.
7. This Esther Perel quotes stresses the importance of continually reinventing yourself:
“You can have the same relationship with a thousand people, or you can have a thousand different relationships with a single person. It’s up to you to decide. The ones who maintain a vibrant, fulfilling relationship are those who understand how to reinvent themselves and actively create and build their relationships, and so they keep the energy alive.”
There are so many layers to every person. This quote liberates the reader to enjoy the unveiling of those layers. It supports the idea that having a continually evolving relationship is a great way for it to remain vital.
8. She reminds us that love and commitment represent a new beginning:
“Love is a vessel that contains both security and adventure, and commitment offers one of the great luxuries of life: time. Marriage is not the end of romance, it is the beginning.”
Blending love and commitment is a ticket to an exciting adventure. We can choose to feel vibrant and alive in our relationship and within ourselves. And, our relationships offer us the opportunity to explore more of who we are.
(This story was originally published on March 6, 2021, and has been updated for clarity and thoroughness.)
Do you like these quotes? Do any, in particular, resonate more? Let me know!
Also, please forward to anyone you know who enjoys learning about relationships and growth.
To continue this conversation about relationships, check out this story on soulmates.
Are you open to seeing the idea of love in a brand new way? Check out these quotes from The Mastery of Love.
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