I would like to share my relationship story.
My partner (we’ll call her M) and I met at a retreat and quickly became attached at the hip. We dated for three months, then I moved in. A therapist once commented that we got our relationship equation backwards –
” you two had started relating before dating and mating“
Things were rocky at first, but we both had a desire to be together, so we became active in creating better ways to relate. Today M and I have a deep, rich relationship that continues to grow in wonderful ways.
What did taking action in our relationship look like?
M and I both have a strong desire to grow. But to make our relationship work, we quickly learned that our relating improved when we brought the fruits of our personal growth back to our fold. For example, M has spent two long stints, six months each, working along with her colleagues at a school of meditation. While there M set intentions for herself like – to get better at witnessing other or working on her fear of public speaking – as part of her process.
For my part, I made a daily practice of meditation and delved deep into the world of men’s work. I concentrated my efforts on determining my direction in life and changing old belief systems. For example, seeing myself as a fully capable man and not as someone broken or less worthy (self-esteem).
What will help my relationship grow?
Relationships are dynamic, fluid and gardenesque in that they need to be constantly nurtured and worked. Here are a few tips I share that have helped me greatly in building my relationship:
- Communicate, communicate, communicate
- Take full responsibility for how you feel and express it; always and at all times
- No silent treatment. If you go there, refer to the first two bullets
- Practice the art of listening like your life depends on it
- Know where you are going in your life and take action
- Make a commitment to your relationship, then stick to it
We bring our stuff into all that we do in our lives; including how we relate with others. Making a commitment to be in a relationship means being present, real and vulnerable. It also means bringing oneself fully into the interaction so to recognize the parts of ourselves that can be challenging in relationship. No one is perfect, so give each other the room to make mistakes. It is after all a grand experiment with infinite possibilities.
Lastly, just remember to breath.