In our Summer 2021 issue, our much-loved regular columnist Judith McAdam offered us a heartfelt reflection on how we can transcend difficult times in our close relationships. Enjoy her wise guidance below!
From lovers to friends and back.
By Dawn Cartwright
Hayden and Lake had come to the crossroads so many of their married friends had warned them about. Somehow, without noticing, they’d gone from being lovers to being friends.
Don’t get the wrong idea, Hayden and Lake had always been friends. In fact, their relationship began as friends years back, meeting at a music festival and sharing a rain tarp fashioned from a bin bag while watching their favourite band during a deluge. The spark between them grew slowly, until one afternoon stretched out on the bed together browsing Netflix, things took a passionate turn. It was weeks before friends and family saw them again.
Things must have heated to the point of incandescence (which is 2,482 ?, by the way) because, once they did reappear, the two of them were radiating an awesome light. When things get that hot, you never expect they’ll cool down. But they did. And we’re so often unprepared for that, we don’t see it coming, or see it happening.
Some years in, Lake discovered that emotion was key to sexual arousal and wanted more time talking and caressing. Lake wanted moments of closeness that didn’t always lead to sex, as well as moments that did. Lake felt sexual when met emotionally. Hayden had discovered that the act of lovemaking created more space for emotional connection. Hayden wanted sex to flow easily between the two of them as it had when they first became lovers. Hayden felt their emotional connection was a constant and saw sex as a way to nourish that stability and closeness. Hayden felt emotionally connected when met sexually. Sex was a boost for an already solid emotional foundation.
In his book ‘My Spiritual Journey’, the Dalai Lama notes that the negative feelings that arise from “enemies” are the real element of tension we must confront and not the challenging people themselves.
He says that if we truly want to progress, we must regard our enemies as our best teachers. You also may be familiar with Abraham Lincoln’s line, “Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?” It seems that differences between us become the barrier to friendships and unity all too often, but lots of people take big steps to overcome that and in doing so, lead by example. Recently two notable instances have occurred.
In a campaign where the hashtag ‘#ArabsAndJewsRefuseToBeEnemies’ emerged, Jews and Arabs came together to share messages of peace and stories of how their differences had not prevented them becoming friends and families. In another move towards unity beyond differences, a new religious centre has opened in Berlin to bring Christians, Jews and Muslims together in prayer and to learn from one another.