The Key to Happy Relationships

The Key to Happy Relationships

Discovering yourself through your relationships

Couple-in-Globe-Cropped-imaWhen you look back at the relationships in your life and imagine them as catalysts for self –reflection, and, thus, for knowledge and understanding, do you have a clear vision of the lessons of each one?

Primary to the depth of connection of each relationship are the values and balance at your core when they most align and when you are most committed to them.

Thus, with knowledge and understanding you gain clarity of lessons each relationship teaches if you pay attention. I always encourage clients to look at the way each relationship connects to their values and balance at their core depth and how committed and aligned they are with these values.

Values tend to fall into different categories depending on the area of life affected. Thus, consider values in: the daily world, in the workplace, and in your schedule; in your spiritual life such as meditation, belief in the divine, and consciousness; in your emotional life in terms of how needs get met by those closest to you and how you react and feel; and how you manage your physical health and body, including sleep, eating, exercise, and stamina.

Since relationships begin at the moment of conception and continue until the moment of death. Research shows that being in a committed relationship has numerous well-documented health benefits including: increasing longevity, lowering stress, being healthier, and feeling richer. Nevertheless, many marriages and other committed relationships end in divorce. Thus, I put a lot of emphasis on relationships as a catalyst for self-reflection that bring knowledge and understanding to daily life.

Early relationships, as well as family patterns, influence how you perceive yourself and how you then bring your awareness and behavior into a love relationship. What are the kinds of things that may have made you feel love as a child? Maybe, your parents recognized your intelligence by things they talked about with you, they may have taken actions that were thoughtful by anticipating some of your needs, they may have reassured you at times you felt insecure or fearful, they may have complimented you when you did things they valued.

On the other hand, they may have ignored some of your vulnerabilities, interests, or been too busy to pay attention to your subtle needs. And, it is possible that their sensibilities and perceptions were not well matched with yours.

Once you begin a committed relationship some patterns are likely to emerge that need mastery and awareness to move beyond them. For example, on a daily basis you and your partner may have different ideas about how to do things. How do you like to organize your home, what kind of taste in movies, literature, or restaurants do you have? Does your mate agree with these in the world kinds of pursuits? How do you like to plan your time? Do you and your partner find balance and resolution that honors and is in sync with each of your goals, tastes, and social interests?

Do you compromise to go along or do you make your views known and reach a balance that is comfortable for both of you? There is no right balance or way to construct your day, just what is most balanced for you and if that is different for your mate, there might be conflict and struggle. Being transparently honest about your preference in a relationship and your sensibilities is essential to its longevity.

Do you make choices coming from the place inside you of “knowing” your highest spiritual path, and do you have the courage to stand up for it? This component is often the key to success in a relationship. Without courage to stand by your true self you compromise more than your daily comfort, you compromise your inner self-esteem and erode it away. Often I find in couples that their relationship is no longer connecting them at this deep love level and their self-esteem has suffered because they place judgment and blame on themselves and the relationship. Instead of taking this view, consider that individuals are each on their own path toward fulfillment and often paths diverge.

Life always has challenges and pain often demanding hard, challenging choices. When confronted by these circumstances, do you and your partner find support and ways of handling these situations in ways that honor both of you?

Different styles of emotional reactivity often cause problems in a relationship. How do you handle emotions? When confronted with a situation that is energetically right, how determined and emotional do you become? Do you stay calm and focused so you find an internal path to manifest what seems the best outcome to the situation or do you get emotionally reactive, express frustration, stress, and blame circumstances rather than looking inward for solutions? Do you think and feel “outside the box?” Do you remain the adult when stressed or revert to your younger frustrated self?

Ideally, emotionally, you both need to hold firm to your depth of knowing and work listening carefully to each other with a sense of presence until the other person feels heard and understood. Using roadblocks to communication generally activates past unfinished responses and results in misunderstandings and/or miscommunications about needs and values. Patience here is the key as well as determination.

What kind of care do you take of yourself physically? Are you meticulous in terms of listening to your body’s sensitivities and needs and do you need time and space to tune in to yourself, or do you push your body to its limits without recognizing consequences in daily life and in the way your emotions impact your body? When both partners pay close heed to their physical needs and wellbeing, they are more likely to remain attracted and sexual long term. Sex is a key ingredient to lasting relationships so staying in sync and attuned to the needs and desires of your partner is very important. Remain vigilant of your body and of your partner’s attraction, and remain alert to shifts in your dynamic with your partner so your sexuality remains in balance and harmony.

I know from my own experiences that despite loving someone, paths may diverge and when they do, it takes great courage to move on to a new path. Fear of loss, of making a mistake, of leaving a life that has “worked” in many ways always come into play, but by having the courage to take a leap of faith in a higher guiding purpose and trusting that balance and alignment on all levels of ones being must be present to feel truly fulfilled is worth it. I left my first marriage when I was 29; I loved my husband but our relationship had given us both what we needed as growing adults and no longer served us congruently. I had the courage to set us both free. I had two young children, no paying job, and I lived in a city with no family around. I was terrified. Yet, I knew deep within myself that both my husband and I deserved to live without stress and with joy. And we were on different paths with different values.

Several years ago, I was at a family event where my ex-husband and his current family were present. As I observed the scene before me, I was filled with enormous gratitude for the courage and path we had taken despite its challenges. I recognized that without the courage to change our lives, at the time we did, neither one of us would have found the soul mates we both currently enjoy long term relationships with.

Young love is joyful, but true soul love, with all components and congruency in a relationship is a divine gift to be nurtured and sought for it is the essence of life itself. There is no more important gift to have in life.