To the ego, a good relationship is one in which another person basically behaves the way we want them to and never presses our buttons, never violates our comfort zones. But if a relationship exists to support our growth, then in many ways it exists to do just those things; force us out of our limited tolerance and inability to love unconditionally.
- Marianne Williamson
Hello beautiful goddess
Our significant other and our interactions with them can be some of the most pleasurable or torturous experiences of our lives. In the past few weeks, several clients have been at a cross roads whether to end their relationships or not. It's a terribly unsettling and confusing headspace to be in, and obtaining objective advice from loved ones can be difficult. As I believe in complete transparency in who I am, as a teacher and coach, I feel confident enough to say that I have been in this position several times in my own marriage and relate with my community of women completely.
When I first met my husband, it was the best month of my life. Never had I been treated with such sincerity, shown so much commitment or felt sexier in my body. That initial courtship period is what has inspired some of the greatest art, music, literature and film of all time. However, to sustain that level of excitement and interest takes real work and dedication. We can fall into the trap of believing that this feeling will never fade, or that it is solely up to our partner to sustain it.
I would never want to portray the image that we have the perfect marriage. That I wake up to breakfast in bed with petals scattered on the sheets 365 mornings a year, or that our passions and interest are 100% aligned to the point where I feel like we're the same soul in two different bodies. The truth is, we argue - sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. He would love to swap places with Bear Grylls, and trek through the wildest jungle, foraging for food - I can think of nothing worse. I would love to lounge around the salt water pool at a health retreat in Bali, writing the book of a lifetime and soul searching for truth - he can think of nothing worse.
But I came to see that it was our differences that help to keep things in balance and flow. The book 'The Mastery of Love' by Don Miguel Ruiz, was instrumental in helping me to realise that my George of the Jungle was not an extension of me, or a reflection of who I am as a person. "Once you accept yourself just the way you are, the next step is to accept your partner. If you decide to be with a person, don't try to change anything about them. Just like your dog or cat, let them be who they are. They have the right to be who they are; they have a right to be free. When you inhibit your partner's freedom, you inhibit your own because you have to be there to see what your partner is doing or not doing. And if you love yourself so much, you are never going to give up your personal freedom."
If true acceptance of your partner is not something you're finding possible, then I invite you to reflect on whether your partner encourages you to grow as a person, without inhibiting your personal freedom. Do they support you in the vision you have for your own life - be it career, health, finance etc? I completely agree with Marianne Williamson's thoughts in the quote at the top of this post. If your partner is testing you into true growth, rather than numbness and mediocrity, then there may be more to your relationship than you realise. This is one of the top reasons why I chose to stay with my husband. From the very beginning of my work through The Nourishing Goddess, he has always been my number one cheerleader, and not let me give up when it all seemed to hard. He selflessly helps me to set up for events, and is completely understanding when I am away hosting retreats or work with clients via Skype late into the night. The fact that going to a yoga class together is his idea of hell on earth kind of pales into comparison with that level of support.
Now I am definitely not saying that if your partner is 'testing' you with physical abuse or through infidelity, that it is worth the fight. Personally, these are two very hard rules for me in a relationship. These do not count as support towards growth in any way at all. But outside of these parameters, a relationship where you test each other can create such an opportunity for change, both as individuals and as a couple.
Sometimes it can be all too easy to throw in the towel, and search for the greener grass. In my own life and through my work, I am yet to come across the 'perfect' couple or a pair who I would like to swap places with. As nice as roses and jewellery can be, true support and encouragement of who you are and where you'd like evolve to are worth their weight in gold. But if you're not receiving that, then that's a pretty good indication of someone who may not actually have your best interests at heart.
Have a question on relationships? Been through a testing time in yours? I would love to hear from you in the comments below. Please also share this post with any sister who would benefit from some soul reflection on love.
Thank you so much for reading this week’s Monday Meditation.
In love and gratitude