In the first 4 installments of this 5-part series, we’ve looked at the concepts of divine relatedness with God, ourselves and others, the foundations of what makes relationships work (i.e. God’s ways) and how to bring our authentic selves to the task. Now, let’s finish by jumping into the act of relating itself.
Are you ready?
Teachings, philosophies, and observations are worthless unless the lessons within them are applied. You have to get your feet wet. Once you’ve provided true love for yourself, it will be time to step into the ring. If you’ve been following along with us for the last 8 months (beginning with How The Devil Stole Your Soul) and performed the work presented, you are more than adequately equipped. You won’t make poor choices out of desperation, e.g. trying to find someone to ‘complete’ you, because you will already be whole.
Your love will attract your right partner. When they show up, commit to the relationship so that you can stop the frantic search for ‘The One.’
As you begin to relate, see yourself in him or her at all times. This will continually strengthen your compassion and help nurture a commitment for their well being, which in turn will trigger a like response from them. If you do your best to walk in your partner’s shoes, you will see how their past has molded them and be able to support him or her in moving past their ‘old selves.’
Compassion helps relieve your partner’s pain, which in turn creates greater happiness and peace within the relationship. (Note: compassion is not the same as ‘pity.’ Pity confers a one-upmanship upon the one who pities – making them the ‘helper’ and the object of their pity becomes the ‘helpless.’ Pity finds its roots in self-centeredness.)
Demonstrate that compassion without trying to ‘fix’ or ‘change’ them. Know that when your partner suffers, you will suffer. Ask them what it is that they need. Often times they’ll have trouble articulating it because of some internal judgment. Help them clarify those needs.
Every time you see your partner, look at them as if you’re meeting them for the first time – forgetting anything that might have been unconsciously acted out without love, before that moment. Re-connect at every new encounter, reviving those feelings and visions that you had when you first felt your love for them.
Embrace them every single time they enter your presence with no consideration over whether or not they will return it. It is your gift of love. Conversely, when they embrace you, don’t waste your time trying to think of the ‘proper’ way of responding. Just be present to their love instead of patting them on the back or rocking back and forth to relieve your awkwardness.
It is in your receiving of their love that sends it back to them. In that moment, breathe deeply and remind yourself, ‘My love is in my arms. How precious they are and how blessed I am.’ Feel the love flowing in you and out of you. Your ‘lovemaking’ (in and out of the bedroom, physical and non-physical) will become a place of utmost joy, safety and support as you both learn to nurture each other without urgency or critique.
See your partner as the gift that they are to you and let them know it! Tell them how much they have positively impacted your life. Realize your relationship is perfect in that moment. It doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for growth (not the same as ‘improvement’ – inferring that your relationship is flawed, which robs you and your partner of the full happiness available in that moment.)
Even the best relationships have ‘blips.‘
Relating is a human process and like anything of human origin, it can and will be blown off course from time to time. Because we cannot know 100% of what is going on in the head of our partner, we will inadvertently offend them at times. It is essential that you place your focus on correcting that blip instead of creating a situation where you and your partner fly to opposite corners of a ‘boxing ring’ to defend yourselves.
Timing is everything. ‘Loving correction’ needs to be implemented ASAP in order to acknowledge anger and or hurt to defuse it expeditiously, so as not to give ground for resentment. Still, you must look to see when your offended partner is ready and able to hear what you need to express (i.e. loving communication).
Most of the time, their anger is rooted in some unresolved issue in their past and the pain they’ve associated with it, which you have triggered by your action. Therefore, this conflict can be an opportunity to shed light upon their unconscious ball and chain.
Keep your attitude grounded in love, remembering the impermanence of all things and just how precious this person is in front of you. Treasure the finite time you have with them. Take a deep breath and feel the love you have for them and the love that you’ve received. Help them look at what they are afraid of seeing in themselves, as well assisting them with taking ownership of it. Apply compassion.
Examine yourself. Are your actions pushing your partner’s hot buttons? If so, begin doing the opposite. (Don’t punish yourself with judgment; just make the adjustments.) If you are the offended party, ask yourself if you’re feeling judged. Look to see if you have an unresolved issue that propagates your feelings. Then, determine whether or not you are projecting your self-judgment onto them. If so, bring that issue to a meditative focus.
Listen to your partner without assuming that you know everything about them. Open yourself up to receiving new wisdom. Make space within the relationship for both sets of opinions. Don’t try to mold your partner into a reflection of you. It’s the diversity that brings synergistic strength to relationship.
If your partner is suffering, allow them the full expression of it without adding your own suffering to the mix as well. Just be there for them. Most of the time, if they send some of their suffering your way, it is not personal. They are moving through a hurt and indulging in an unconscious form of retribution. You just happened to be a convenient target in close proximity. Come together to find better ways for them to make that journey and apply forgiveness.
Don’t insist on your partner’s forgiveness. What is important is that you forgive them and yourself.
Build a mutually agreed upon method for reconciliation.
Be open to receiving critiques from your partner regarding your actions, without throwing up walls of defense. Look to see if there is any truth in them and accept them as acts of love from your partner to try to help you grow. It’s an opportunity for you to better understand yourself.
Relating has a certain degree of difficulty because it taps into the relationship that you have with yourself. That’s why it’s so important you clean that up. Often your partner will mirror back to you things that you deny about yourself. That’s good, because it’s better to resolve them in this relationship rather than kicking the can down the road to suffer again within yet another.
Sometimes, a relationship is not meant to be life-long. Instead, it was intended to be a vehicle for bringing your consciousness to the next level. If so, you needn’t suffer because you still get to keep the love that was generated in that relationship within your heart.
Don’t obsess over whether on not your partner will leave you. It takes away the freedom to be present with them. God is loving you through them now. Receive it. If you love yourself and love God, you will be happy, whole and complete with or without your partner.
If the vision that you and your partner had for your relationship becomes irreparably divergent, give yourselves the space to disconnect in peace and love – without rejecting yourself.
Every relationship has been perfect because each one (if you’re willing to learn from it) will bring you to a place of higher consciousness (greater godliness). If you stay committed to your growth, the next partner that your heart attracts will show up living on the same higher plane of consciousness that you’ve grown into…
Men and Women
The last aspect to examine regarding divine relatedness is the gender-driven differences that are brought to the table.
God created the sexes in order to enhance one another. (Gn. 2:18) Man and woman compliment each other – equal but not the same. The diversity of the differences between them adds value and potential for growth. Thus, we need to understand those variations so that we can work with them rather than be threatened by them.
For example, women are more intuitive – better at listening to their hearts. Conversely, men give more credence to the logic of their mind (and we’ve see what a mess that can get us into.) Therefore, it behooves a man to ask his mate for her ‘gut feeling’ on a matter so that they can make decisions that incorporates the entire picture.
Men and women share the same emotions, but women wear them on their sleeve, which facilitates a much better expression of them. Indeed, it is vital that they do so as they often cogitate through that same expression – many times by vocalizing them. (My female editor suggested the term ‘outward processors.’ See how this works?)
Women want to be seen and heard by their male partners while they process their dilemmas but they don’t necessarily want the man to fix their challenges.
Men are not generally emotive. Instead, they keep a lid on their emotions (a lot of this is learned behavior) and withdraw into themselves to analyze their problems. It does not mean they do not feel. They are problem-solvers and want to ‘fix’ things because it makes sense to their logical mindset.
When a woman begins a conversation with a man, she is better served by getting straight to the point. If he realizes that she doesn’t want a ‘fix,’ he’ll tune her out. However, if she makes it clear at the outset that she doesn’t need a fixing, he can listen from a different place. He will still process what he hears in his male fashion, so his answer may not be immediate. He needs to withdraw into his head to work through what he has heard.
Women learn early on that men cannot stand in the face of extreme emotion, and some use that knowledge to dominate them. If that domination process includes negative criticism (as it often does), she will emasculate him. This produces bitterness, as he perceives what he thinks are efforts to downgrade and control him, so he tries to create distance. She gets resentful as well because she thinks he’s avoiding her. In reality, he’s running off frantically trying to find ways to do things in the hopes of earning restored love, approval and peace.
Women are never going to stop being emotionally expressive, and a man needs to understand that. However, the expression of them and making her mate a target of them are not the same. Both partners need to address situations, not the essence of one another.
The sexes differ in communicative strategies as well. Men (the least complex) say what they mean and prefer a direct response. Women tend to ruminate over what is said as they filter the words through their emotions.
Loving communication is everything. Save your (both sexes) bitching and complaining for your friends. Home is reserved for love. Before one engages in fisticuffs with their spouse, they need to stop and consider if this situation is worth fighting about – worth making it your ‘last stand.’ If one makes the choice for battle, there ought to be a mutual agreement first for how the resolution of should look. What must follow is forgiveness and permanent amnesia…
Synergism that strengthens relationship is created when both partners learn about each other’s approach to life, appreciate what comes natural to each partner and amalgamate those ways into a new strategy that satisfies the desires of them both.
Men need to be breadwinners and champions, and need to be supported in that role. Women (as well as men) need nurturing, but they need to tell the man what that looks like. Men never read minds. When you tell them what you want and how you want it, they are only too happy to comply.
Both partners need to feel that their physical appearance breeds desire from their mate. So, each must be mindful of their exterior out of respect for one another. Attraction leads to desire. Romance is a two-sided affair, and everyone likes to be seduced.
If a woman wants to know how a man feels, she must create a safe space for him to express those feelings without the fear of being criticized. Repeated criticism is an antithesis to love…
Finally, lather love lavishly over each other at all times – putting your partner’s well being above anybody else’s. A successful relationship is one where both of you make the choice for love every day, committing to be with each other, and respecting and edifying one another.
Yes, relationships are a lot of work; but ah the rewards…
Goodnight and God bless.