In part one we began our foray into ‘divine relatedness’ – i.e. being related to God, others and ourselves as He intended. We saw that God planted everything we needed within us for having perfect love relationships and looked at how we can nurture those endowments within ourselves so that we can extend this perfect gift of God’s love to others. Let’s continue:
The only way to gain guaranteed happiness is to contribute to the happiness of others – giving them what it is that you want for yourself. That gift can only come from your personal wellspring of love. To keep your wellspring overflowing, you must keep your heart clear of negative feelings and from the concomitant suffering. (That’s where your regular meditative examinations of your thought processes come in. No stinking thinking!)
We cultivate our love by freeing ourselves from attachment – from needing anyone to give us the love that we give to ourselves. Yet, when our love radiates outward, loving people will be drawn to us in droves.
When we experience that love, our response becomes one of infinite gratitude. Relationships only break down in the absence of grateful appreciation. It’s gratitude that brings the healing.
If you’re not experiencing the love, e.g. as in an abusive relationship, LEAVE! It’s far healthier to remove yourself from someone who chooses to wallow in the refuse of his or her making. If your partner tells you they love you but in the next moment they try to control you, disrespect you, or attempt to commit violence upon your person, that is not love. You never deserve to be mistreated in any way, shape or form.
Living alone is better that staying with your abuser, telling lies to yourself such as ‘They will get better,’ or worse ‘They will love me if I become a better person.’ If you stay with an abuser, it’s only because you have convinced yourself that you don’t deserve love. What will happen next is that your demons will come home to roost, making fertile ground for you to become an abuser as well.
Accept your abuser for who they are and GO! Be thankful for the lesson in that relationship and how it helped you grow. There’s plenty of love out there. You don’t have to settle for scraps. As you cast your love outward, love will seek you out.
True love relationships are authentic ‘mask-less’ relationships. Mutually applied love, compassion and understanding open the way for having the courage to be ourselves – to be vulnerable. Vulnerability is a sign of ultimate trust, which no healthy relationship can survive without.
Still, even in the best of relationships there will be bumps. Are you perfect? Yes. Is your partner perfect? Yes. Are your behaviors perfect? What can I tell you? We are human after all. We make mistakes. Some pain will come. That’s life.
Most, if not all our wounds are perpetrated in relationship. Ironically, we must heal those same hurts within the realm of a healthy partnership – in a space where we can bare our souls (warts and all), our needs and our anguish, having them covered with love and acceptance.
Realize that even in the best of relationships, there will be conflict from time to time – times when you don’t feel love for your partner. You need to have the freedom to feel that, so that you can make a free-will choice to love them anyway, making the relationship all the more special. Anything else (i.e. conscripted love) is slavery.
In a healthy relationship, the partners look for ways to live with each other’s differences, constructing new ways to find clear solutions for the conflicts instead of running away. A conflict avoided is one doomed to repetition. Best solutions come in the form of those that work towards each other’s goals rather than those serving one who is obsessing over who is going to come out on top in a particular conflict.
Discord occurs because your partner (or you) has slipped back into their old unconscious ways. If you love him or her, you will allow yourself to suffer (a little bit) in order to help them move through their lapse. Mutual communication must ensue, each stating their perception of the situation without trying to correct one another.
Share the needs that each of you have in that moment (without judgment) and accept them. Follow by informing each other if you can meet those needs. If one partner cannot meet the other’s needs, the unfulfilled partner will either find a way to meet those needs in a way that is acceptable within the relationship, or they may choose to continue their journey through life without you. Let them go. It is the most loving thing you can do for the both of you.
Your partner may not be able to let you be you. They may be unwilling to let go of their expectations. And if they leave, it will create a true loss that must be grieved. Do not deny your feelings; affirm them so that you can move through them. Look to see if your partner had any valid complaints regarding your actions and address the root of them in yourself. If they did not, do not take ownership of them.
Acknowledge the contributions your partner did bring to you. See if you can give those things to yourself before going out on the hunt for someone else. Surround yourself with supportive people. After working through your grief, open yourself up to what’s next. If you shy away from subsequent relationships due to a fear of potential pain, you’ll be alone for the rest of your life.
When you do open yourself up to a new relationship, don’t get caught up in worrying over whether or not this person is ‘The One.’ Instead, leave the previous drama behind and focus on the way the new dance works. You will never experience the love of others if you do not take risks…
(Note: All of these aforementioned ‘relatedness’ issues should be worked out prior to any marital commitment should that be the type of relationship you are contemplating.)
More to come…
Goodnight and God bless.