Enhancing Relationships – Part 2
Hal and Sidra Stone
Most of us are strongly motivated to protect our relationships at any cost. Once our dominant selves, whoever they may be, feel that they have found a safe harbor, they want us to stay put. They are not about to start out again on new journeys in unfamiliar waters. Perhaps the most difficult part of any relationship, and certainly one of the most difficult aspects of our own relationship, has been the process of letting go of each other over and over again.
We have found that as soon as we become attached to being together for the rest of our lives, the primary selves take over and begin to limit our possibilities. When we let go, accept the possibility that our relationship cannot be controlled and that there well may be surprises ahead, we are able to communicate more freely and completely.
We move into a position where we can receive input from selves other than the primary ones. Our awareness is expanded, and our consciousness includes far more information than it can possibly receive from just our primary selves. At this point we can notice possibilities that had not existed before, our lives become more spontaneous and our solutions to problems more creative.
In our own relationship, we fully expect to remain together. After all that we have been through, it seems highly unlikely that a separation would occur. Yet we are also open to the possibility that the process of our relationship could lead us in another direction.
It is not what either
of us would want at this point, but we profoundly respect the process of our
relationship, how it has been our teacher, and how it is always possible for it
to take us in an entirely
different direction than is our conscious intent at this point.
This is a painful idea for many people. When they get married, they want it to be forever.
Of one thing, however, we may be sure: there are no insurance policies when it comes to primary relationship. There is only process.
When an insurance policy is obtained, we can be fairly certain that a strong pattern of bonding will emerge in the relationship.
The price we pay for total security and well-being in relationship is, generally speaking, an increasing loss of vitality, romance, sexuality, and general creativity in the relationship.
This is not always the case, but we have seen it happen with considerable frequency. Because we basically feel that one needs to hold a relationship with great care, but in an open hand, this article is not intended as a guide for making any specific relationship work.
If one follows the path of relationship, if one truly surrenders to the process of relationship rather than to the other person, then the relationship will take both partners forward to the next stage in their evolution of consciousness. This may mean that they will be together or it may mean that they will move apart. Whichever it means, the process will be a natural one that grows inevitably out of the deepest needs of the two partners.
This does not mean that there may not be regret, sadness, or even great pain if a primary relationship must end, but it does mean that the participants will gain in wisdom and they will move forward in their personal evolution of consciousness as they move on from each relationship that they have known.
Sometimes it takes many years for those involved to appreciate the gifts that a particular relationship has conferred, but each has, in fact, given them something. Not all relationships are supposed to last. A relationship that may be appropriate for one period of our lives may not necessarily be appropriate for another.
It is important to trust that this works both ways; either a relationship is good for both partners, or it is good for neither. Sometimes the relationship must actually break or time must pass after the break before this becomes apparent.
For instance, Sam had been married to Joan for five years, but he was very unhappy. Joan, in turn, was severely depressed. She had even required hospitalization from time to time. They lived a deeply bonded relationship, with his responsible father bonded to her disturbed daughter. Sam, in the responsible father, felt that he could not leave Joan because he was afraid that she might commit suicide. It appeared to everyone that Sam was sacrificing his life for Joan and that she needed him desperately.
Finally, with great trepidation, and at a time when Joan was safely hospitalized, Sam asked for a divorce. Surprisingly enough, Joan recovered from her depression immediately, left the hospital, lost the weight that she had gained during their years of marriage, and resumed a normal life. The bonded marriage had been costing her as much as it had cost him.
A relationship that must end at one time in life because of the current level of consciousness may well be appropriate at some later time. Edith and Arnie loved each other passionately in high school, but Edith felt that Arnie would not make a good husband. She wanted someone more sophisticated, a man whom she could look up to and admire, not someone she felt was her equal, like Arnie.
Edith’s inadequate daughter sought out a strong man to bond to her as a knowing, sophisticated father. She married John instead of Arnie because she was fascinated by his intelligence and sophistication. As the years rolled by, Edith lived a life of elegance and sophistication. She integrated her own sophisticated lady and became quite comfortable with her own knowledge. She was no longer the ardent admirer of John’s apparent wisdom. They slowly drifted apart.
It was the bonding of her daughter and his sophisticated father that had pulled them together in the first place. When this dissipated, there was nothing left to attract them to one another. They divorced.
Some time after the divorce, Arnie heard that Edith was free again, he contacted her, and they resumed the intense love relationship that had been theirs in the early years. Only this time it was a mature relationship of two aware egos, and this time it ended in a happy marriage that was a great source of comfort to both of them.
Trying too hard to make a specific relationship work at any particular time, rather than trusting that it will work if it is appropriate, can be damaging to all concerned. When any of us is too attached to a particular relationship, too worried about losing it, then we are often willing to perform all kinds of psychological self-mutilation to ensure its continuation. If, on the other hand, we surrender to the process of relationship, we can trust that if we are fully ourselves, an appropriate relationship will prosper and an inappropriate one will end in a natural fashion.