What are conscious relationships?
The term "conscious relationships" is being used here to describe those in which both partners work from the beliefs that
- you do it on purpose
- it doesn't just happen
- the rewards are worth the effort
- it is a natural part of maturity
It is about the benefits
If it starts to feel like work, like something that you should do, like something that one of you wants more than the other one, however positive the intentions,. . . you're probably on the wrong track.
There is even a credible "checklist" of what components go into a successful relationship.
John Gottman, Ph.D. has published the results of years of research with hundreds of couples in which he was able to boil down what successful couples do (each in their own ways of course) to just 7 things in his book, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country's Foremost Relationship Expert
When you're on track for success, you
- are interested in knowing each other very well - everything from favorite books/movies/TV shows to flavors of ice cream to current stressors/joys/fears to dreams for the future.
- make a point of being aware of your fondness and admiration for each other - what do you like about your partner? what makes them special to you? Make a point of reminding yourself and them.
- stay aware of each other - so many things pull at your attention. With a little positive intention however, some of the very things that can lure you to focus away from your partner such as email, text messages, can be used to stay connected. Simple messages that "I'm thinking of you," mundane as they may be, are powerful and important.
- allow your partner to affect you - working as a team, taking into account all those things that you know about each other (from the first point above) is huge in having a strong relationship.
- solve your solvable problems - Dr. Gottman reports finding that successful couples have a sense of which problems they face can be solved and which they are probably going to have to find ways to live with, much like the serenity prayer.
- seek work-arounds for gridlock - those stuck places with your partner that just won't go away no matter how much you try to avoid them must be talked about. Gottman noted that what usually underlies gridlock is unfulfilled dreams and that happy couples believe in the importance of helping each other realize their dreams.
- have a larger view of what you're seeking together - "Marriage isn’t just about raising kids, splitting chores, and making love. It can also have a spiritual dimension that has to do with creating an inner life together . . ."
The Quest for Unconditional Love Has To Work Via Relationship
When it's about interactions in which the most important pieces are occurring inside of you, then you retain your own power. Not that this always feels good or is easy, but it does consistently return us to being able to choose what we will make of what is presented to us.
Romance Stage of Relationship Development
In the early stages of any conscious relationship , whether it is with a new baby, new friend, business associate, or lover, the positive feelings are almost completely from within us. The other person is just a mirror or a screen onto which we are projecting our own hopes and needs. Very little, if any, genuine relating between two real people is going on yet at this point.
It's exciting. It feels great. Enjoy it, because it will pass.
When reality starts to set in and we get inkling that they are doing the same thing with us, something has to give. As it turns out, we are the ones who have to give. And, that's good.
In conscious relationships, those you care about the most are your greatest gurus .
Just count on finding that
- if you have a strong emotional charge attached to something, they will trigger it.
- If a question needs to be asked, they will ask it.
- If there is a weakness, they will see it.
- If there is a deep need, they will not fill it "right."
- If something irritates you, they will do it.
- If a challenge needs to be faced, they will provide it in some form or other.
Don't "shoot the messenger". In the
grand scheme of things they are just doing their jobs. And, of course,
from their point of view you are doing the same.
you choose the path of conscious relationship, you commit to
taking the disappointments, hurts, and confusions that occur as you
relate to those around you as lessons for you.
The more you use
those to get your own house in order and the more you are able to give,
the better lover, partner, parent, child, sibling, grandparent, friend you
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