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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Healthy Relationships:Partners in the Journey

Article written by Robert Burney, Spiritual Teacher, codependence counselor, grief therapist, author.

A healthy romantic relationship is about two whole, independent people choosing to become partners in the life journey for as long as that works for both of them. This is, of course, a theoretical concept. Because of the cultural dysfunction and emotional trauma all of us have experienced due to the human condition, we are never, in this lifetime, going to be a completely whole healthy person with no emotional wounds - and we are never going to meet someone else that has no emotional wounds.

The goal is to be in the process of healing and to choose a partner who is also in the process of healing. Then we have the opportunity to achieve some True emotional intimacy and to have some companionship on our journey. The person who can support us in our journey is also going to be the teacher we need to push our buttons so that we can bring to Light the emotional wounds that need to be healed and the subconscious programming that needs to be changed.

If we expect a romantic relationship to "fix" us so that we can live happily-ever-after then we are setting ourselves up to be victims. If we define a successful relationship as one that lasts forever and meets all of our needs, then we will end up blaming ourselves or the other person when that insane expectation is not met. (That a relationship could last for the rest of our lives is not an insane expectation but if we believe that longevity is the only way a relationship can be successful we are setting ourselves up to sabotage the relationship and not appreciate the gifts we are receiving in the now.)

It is vitally important to make healing and Spiritual growth our number one priority so that we can look to the other person for help and support - not expect them to rescue us and give us self worth. Healing is an inside job. My issues are my responsibility to work through, it is not the other persons job to compromise her self to accommodate my fears and insecurities. If I am choosing wisely when I enter into a relationship then I will choose someone who will be compassionate, patient, and supportive of me while I work through my issues.

And no matter how wisely I choose, or how much healing and recovery the other person has had, she will still be a human being with her own issues to work through so she will not always be able to be patient, compassionate, and supportive. For one person to expect another to always be there for them, to always have the space and time to be available to us, is another insane expectation.

We do want to choose someone who is willing to work through issues. When another person is willing to do the work with us, a relationship can be an incredibly nurturing, magical space to explore what True Love means - some of the time. It can not be that all of the time. There might be periods of time - days, weeks, even months - where things are going beautifully and it feels like we may have reached "happily ever after". But then things will change and get different. That is how the life process works - it will not be someone's fault. It will be a new opportunity for growth for both people.

Two people who are working through their issues and are willing to do the grief work, can turn an argument about some stupid, mundane life event into some mutual deep grieving. That is True emotional intimacy.

When we are willing to own our power to be the neutral observer who can see our responsibility in whatever is happening without shame and judgment, and can also have the courage and willingness to hold the other person responsible for their behavior without shame and judgment - then the magic can really happen.

Two people who have negotiated some guidelines to help them in times when they are vulnerable and reactive - can transform an argument about some symptom into an opportunity to heal some core wounding.

The way that can look is:

an argument/disagreement starts about some behavior that is upsetting (someone is late, or forgets something that is important to the other, or says something in an insensitive way, etc.);
at some point one of the individuals says "Time out. I think I might be reacting to some old stuff.";

The other person backs off the argument enough to say "How old are you feeling?"; etc.

Two people who have created the space to do this can then get down to the cause underneath the reaction, which might be something like: one person is reacting out of the child inside who never felt important, respected, or heard - while the other person is reacting out of the inner child who was always being criticized and given the message that there was something wrong with them. At that point, they are dealing with the core cause of the reaction not the symptomatic behavior. They can achieve a place of True emotional honesty and intimacy where they can get in touch with their individual wounds and grieve together. That is the kind of emotional intimacy which can form a very deep bond and be Joyously healing for both people.

To be willing to be conscious and emotionally honest with ourselves is a courageous act of faith that will allow us to progressively increase the number of moments in each day that we have the ability and freedom to be happy and Joyous in the now. To find another being who is willing to join us in this adventure, and to explore True emotional intimacy with us, is a priceless gift to be cherished and treasured.

1 comment:

CupidsReviews Heidi said...

How easy it is to forget that the other person can't always be there for us. A huge source of problems no matter which side you are on. Reading it in black and white is a good reminder to be patient and understanding in these instances.

 

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