Relationship as a Spiritual Path
Updated: Jul 3, 2020
Is love a feeling? Is it something you want, give, take? How is it that arranged marriages have similar success rates to marriages where partners freely choose one another?
Less than a hundred years ago, our culture dictated specific roles to its genders: Women were domestics, creating a home, “helping” the husband, feeding and socializing the husband and the kids; fully responsible for creating and maintaining the couple’s social and community life. The man in the partnership had to provide for the family, with a job, a career, and an annual budget for maintaining his family in an agreed upon fashion. He also sometimes had to do the heavy lifting. Everyone knew his/her role and responsibilities and the tasks that went with them.
As stultifying as that might have been to some, it was stabilizing and reassuring for others. Even today some couples find themselves gravitating to fairly traditional roles because they are most comfortable there. But since the 1960s our culture has been undergoing a radical transformation in the way people partner. It’s likely we are choosing our own mates. It’s likely that we’ve enjoyed some exciting and fun times as an adult before coupling. It’s likely that we’ve enjoyed our single-ness and partnering is another step in our life journey.
I’ve always believed that there are many ways to fulfillment. Not everyone thrives in partnership or through parenting. We’re all different in so many ways and our culture has (finally!) permitted thinking about relationships creatively. There are stay- at -home dads and CEO moms. There are two-mom and single -mom families. There are two-dad and single- dad families. And, there are those who thrive in the peace and quiet of living alone.
On the whole, it seems that most people want a a partner at some point in their lives- someone to share with, depend on, love; We expect that person to be a lover; a confidante; a best friend. We expect to love and be loved by that partner for life - which might be 80 years. It’s a lot to expect.
You and your partner are two different people: You have lived different lives, you likely have different temperaments. And even if neither of you ever changed one bit, it would take lifetimes to know the Other. It goes without saying that both of you are likely to change quite a bit over your lifetimes, and the challenge is being open to those changes, and in meeting them with curiosity and trust in one another.
Coupled love is a spiritual path. I have often referred to marriage as a path of fire. Lifetime partnerships will stir up all your fears as you become vulnerable with one another. Love is a great purifier. If you let it, it will burn away everything but love. Your partner is also your teacher.
Some of the things you and your partner will learn in working with me:
Learning about one's self, and the Other
Cultivating strengths in the relationship
Forgiving what your partner isn’t
Transforming the Other into the Beloved