“No one loses anyone, because no one owns anyone. That is the true experience of freedom:
having the most important thing in the world without owning it.”
– Paulo Coelho, Eleven Minutes
Some would say the first six months of a relationship are the best. We laugh a lot, we do things on a whim, we “fall in love” and then WHAM. Things change.
Suddenly the relationship gets real. Partners discover their need to return to self where they rekindle time for personal interest.
So how does one keep the fires burning when the relationship turns real?
Ernest Hemingway said “the most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving too much, and forgetting that you are special too”. To keep the home fires burning it is important to understand that everyone cultivates stability in different ways. The extrovert is nourished through social interaction while the introvert develops through reading and quiet time. Both denote personal needs, but in opposite directions. Embracing diversity is crucial to creating a balanced relationship. Defining what is special to you and what is special for your partner feeds both the individual and the couple. Relationships are about support for each other. Don’t try to control. Tune in to what is special for yourself and your partner. Work to meet each other’s needs while remaining true to you.
Always say I love you even in the midst of turmoil. This is a difficult one. It is tough to realize why you love someone when conflict arises. Many detest conflict. Yet, conflict may be the Universal way to self-growth. Conflict can bring us out of our false beliefs and ruts. Human nature is to fix, or to play the role of mother/father. In our hurried World we’ve been taught to put the relationship last. Building a foundation for the home fire means there has to be priority for the relationship. There has to be communication. There is no room for second-guessing, or mind reading. Plutarch stated “to make no mistakes is not in the power of man; but from their errors and mistakes the wise and good learn wisdom for the future.” Learn from your past, bring the good into the present and focus on the positive where you express, communicate and relate.
Doc Childre reminds us “a harmonious relationship with one you love can enhance your work, health and entire well-being.” Harmony is defined as an agreement or concord. People frequently recall every detail of material items. But not what makes their partner smile. What small thing makes you feel good about yourself or your partner? Time, patience, and attentiveness provide these answers. It changes as relationships grow and people age. Pay attention. When you notice your partner is having a tough time, be a listening post, not a nag. Do not automatically assume the problem lies with you; it may have nothing to do with you. Give each other time to work through feelings and emotion. Everyone processes things in different ways and time.
Thank them each day. Appreciation is a winner. It shows you noticed. Everyone likes to be appreciated, especially during the tough times. It is during the tough times that you are both able to see things from different perspectives. Old beliefs will surface where love is concerned. And when overwhelmed, people often revert back to old thought patterns. Personal and spiritual growth requires work and commitment. Attuning to the idea of healthy boundaries and time for healing is one of the greatest attributes for budding relationships. Thanking your partner for being present is a bonus.
Trust the process. Trust is important yet so misunderstood. It is challenging to know who to trust these days. We build trust by knowing ourselves, our desires, by knowing the things that feed us as individuals and as partners. Trust involves faith, not fear. It is tough to trust another if you do not trust yourself. Hippocrates said, “First, do no harm”. Feeding the flames with an open heart, a positive attitude, a supporting shoulder, an appreciative smile, sacred boundaries, communication and putting priorities in place are paramount for creating a relationship where unconditional love can blossom.