What Makes It Work?
Love relationships often go through different stages, and sometimes we think that if we don't feel the same things we felt in the beginning that something is wrong. That may not necessarily be true.
In the beginning of many relationships, there's a strong physical connection. We get excited to see each other. We feel a strong pull to that person when we're not together. We may even feel a bit euphoric when we are together. It seems perfect! We're sure we have found The One, and we're going to spend our lives together in this state of bliss.
Then there's the first serious disagreement or one of you does something the other doesn't expect. You may think "What happened? I thought you were The One? Obviously I was wrong! How could you think/do that?" Our dreams are shattered and we start to wonder if we should run before things get any further along.
This is the time when we start to see that we are two individuals in a relationship, rather than one being a mirror image of ourselves. Yay! Step One is reached. Now is when we become acutely aware that relationships require some attention, and dare I say it, work?
We are human beings, first and foremost. We are shaped by life experiences, interactions with others, and life in general. As a result, we are imperfect by nature. So now we have two imperfect beings trying to have a perfect relationship. How is that going to happen??? It doesn't.
What does happen, is that two imperfect beings come together, make a commitment to be fully present for each other for the rest of their lives, in all their flaws; to be a witness to each other's existence and support each other in their search to find happiness. Together.
The couples who achieve the most marital satisfaction often talk about the deepening levels of intimacy they've achieved over time. I'm not referring to intimacy in a sexual way, but in the deeper levels of vulnerability they feel. They can share and receive love, support and acceptance from their mates as they reveal more of themselves, their true inner desires and flaws to each other.
When you commit to each other during your wedding ceremony, you embark on a journey of Oneness. There should be no more consideration that this person might possibly leave if there's a difference in opinion or one of you changes. The foundation and bond is set. All that remains is how to move forward.
When a couple accepts that foundational premise, no one takes sides in a disagreement any longer. There may be two differing opinions, but all that needs to be done is find the common ground or mediated place where both can find acceptance and move forward together. Disagreements are no long confrontational, since the two of you are committed to finding happiness together.
Instead of "You never help with the housework and it drives me crazy. Can't you help instead of sitting in front of the TV all weekend long?" a couple now is heard saying "Hon, I need help. I'm feeling I need a little more support from you regarding the housework. How can we make that happen?" and the spouse responding "Babe, I need a little time to unwind and then I'm happy to dig in. Can we start cleaning as soon as this game is over?"
How do you and your partner communicate in your relationship? Could you use a little help learning a new way to build a deeper connection? I'm happy to help.
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Rev. Ronnie was ordained in 2010 as an interfaith minister through The New Seminary, located in New York City. She is available to perform ceremonies throughout the United States, aboard ship or in other countries.