What can we learn from Kintsugi that will teach us how to integrate faults & breaks into our relationships…

Relationship Rapprochement from Kintsugi

26 Feb, 2024Blog

What is Kintsugi?

The beautiful Japanese art of Kintsugi (golden joinery).

It is the art of repairing broken pottery by mending the areas of breakage with urushi lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum.

As a philosophy, Kintsugi treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object rather than regarding the break as something to disguise. This concept can be helpful to couples who are trying to treat their relationship “breakage” as something to disguise (and who are failing to make this work).

Applying Kintsugi to our Relationship

When a couple is suffering because their relationship has experienced a hurt (an affair, distrust, misunderstanding), they often make very strong efforts to hide or ignore the reasons behind the hurtful event. The intention of this behaviour is to try to forget the event.

Alternatively, some place the blame on the partner “who was the (only) one at fault”. The intention of this behaviour is for said partner to assuage the hurt (innocent?) partner with a satisfactory explanation for their actions. Rarely is this achieved, though.

Such approaches are common, automatic, and challenging for us.

However, as an alternative to these approaches, we could view the “defect” in our relationship simply as a part of our relationship’s history.

We could treat the flaw as something, like the Japanese, that makes our relationship unique, incomparable, and stronger.

In taking this approach, we do not have to consider the flaw as an ugly element of our history to be forgotten or explained; instead, the flaw becomes a part of our relationship’s history, nothing more, nothing less.

And, unlike many who fear embracing flaws, integrating a broken part of our lives into our history doesn’t mean that similar events, breaks, or flaws will occur in the future.

Kintsugi: rapprochement for our most intimate of relationships.

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