By Mary Berkery
“The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.” – C.G. Jung
Intimate relationships can be a source of much joy and much pain. So how can we constantly see the beauty in them? Perhaps you’re in a difficult time in your intimate relationship or even questioning what is it about. Perhaps there is a need to look differently as to what intimate connection is about. Being in a relationship is not only about having a companion, or forming a close partnership, it’s where connection between another is direct, unrehearsed, fresh and heart-to-heart.
Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat Pray Love, says in her second book, ‘Committed’, “To be fully seen by somebody, then, and be loved anyhow, this is a human offering that can border on miraculous.” Jett Psaris and Marlena S. Lyons, authors of the book, ‘Undefended Love’, say “The way that you felt about yourself when you first fell in love is the way you can feel all the time “
But how do we make these statements the reality of our relationships?
1. Like it all! Conflicts call out the beauty and at other times the beast in us! No matter how painful, there is something to learn, to integrate and transform. Problems that arise can be welcomed as opportunities to move to deeper connection. Couples consciously working on this will discover more about themselves and their partner or loved one, learn to engage with them in a deeper dialogue and discover ways to express the most profound and untamed aspects of the psyche.
2. Use ‘I’ statements instead of ‘You’ statements. Say how you feel i.e. “I feel frightened, I feel angry, I feel ashamed.” Conscious relationships don’t put responsibility on the other for how they react. Move attention away from the other to what is happening for you. It then becomes an opportunity for reclaiming lost and forgotten places of your own soul. Speak what is happening with courage and honesty. Take time to reflect when issues occur and then come back to talk about it, and to listen to what went on for the other person – without judgment. This truly allows deep healing and trust in sharing frightened parts of your personality.
3. Practise gratitude. Regularly share with your partner what you appreciate about them. It could be that they remember to get the Saturday newspaper, how they look so attractive or honouring their courage to be real. Look at the other as a reflection of God and as a being of light and teacher in your life. Also see yourself in the same. To break the habitual judgments, practice appreciation, mentally and verbally.
4. Have love dates. Create evenings dedicated to taking the time to love, to talk, to meditate together, to give each other a massage, to prolong lovemaking. You may find that much could conspire for not doing it but do it anyway! It feeds the roots of connection and creates safety for rich sharing, emotionally and physically.
In enhancing your ability to see the beauty in your relationships, I wish you the courage to share from your loving heart, to brail your way with what you are feeling, so as to discover the hidden depths and beauty of your being in a relationship. It takes courage and patience but the rewards are plenteous.
This is taken from our autumn 2015 issue, out now. Subscribe to have the next four issues delivered direct to your door.