I spent this past week in a Spiritual Psychology Conference in Canada. Most of the attendees were wise people between the ages of 40-80. Over the past couple of years, I've been developing or theorizing my own blueprint for healthy relationship. It occurred to me that being around so much wisdom and life experience, why not ask them for what works and has helped them make their relationships work. First, let me share with you what I've been thinking for my blueprint.
Friendship comes first - really put in the time to develop a healthy and genuine relationship with that person. Friendship is the foundation of any relationship, so, put in the real work and invest time and effort in the beginning so that you don't have to work so hard later on when is falling apart trying to save it.
Support the authenticity and individuality of each partner - in this way they love and support each other in being who they each are; respecting and honoring each partner's need for individuality and belonging.
Say Yes everyday - When couples get married, in their vows, they say I do or I will choose the person for the rest of my life; but, more often than not, that vow stays there, at the day of their wedding. I feel that we have to choose and say Yes to that person everyday, remembering and honoring the promises and commitments made on that day.
Communication - As we all know communication is very important, but in this case, I mean checking in with each other every year, or every so often, to ensure that the relationship is serving both partners. This provides an opportunity to, as they each grow and change, check and see if the dynamic is ok as is or is some work/improvement required; or perhaps its time to move on.
Be vulnerable - Vulnerability is key for the success of any relationship. It says I will not hide behind my shortcomings and challenges and I will be willing to show them to you and allow you to support me as I overcome them. Without vulnerability there is no true intimacy. Two people cannot connect if they are constantly defending their "bad traits" or their fears of being abandoned and/or overwhelmed by their partners.
This is what I've been realizing and/or putting together as my blueprint for healthy loving relationships over the past 4 years. So, what did I find as I went around and talked to the older, wise folks in the conference? EXACTLY THAT!!!!
Some of them have been together with - their life partner; as most of them refer to their significant others - for 20+, 30+ even 40+ years. They met at a place where they were both tending to their passions/interests. They connected instantly and began developing a friendship, most were in other relationships at the time, but it was all about the friendship. Most didn't actually began dating till years later and claim they fell in love after they had been friends for a while. They choose each other on a daily basis and have a set time when they check in with each other to ensure the relationship is serving and fulfilling them. They are not afraid to be transparent with with each other, partly because since they were friends first, they already knew what kind of person they each were; all the good and all the not so good. They are in a constant state of growth, working on themselves to be better - as individuals first and that spills over into the partnership. More importantly, they each maintain their individuality and uniqueness, which is supported, honored and respected by their partner.
We live in a time where our childhood wounds/fears cause us to rush into the arms of another person in hopes that they will some how make us feel whole and complete. Where we are ashamed, mostly unaware, of our all our mess and thus relate to each other from this place. This prevents us from relating as two whole, balanced and authentic individuals relating to one another in a loving and supportive way. Relationships that endure are relationships that support the authenticity of the other, where they each feel secure in an ongoing loving connection with the other, while maintaining the freedom to have time and space for their own interests and pursuits. In these relationships; it's not two people looking into each other's eyes, but rather two people looking in the same direction. Sharing a common vision, cause or a purpose, loving and supporting on another.