- I am capable of living without you even though I would prefer not to.
In contradiction to the words of this popular tune “I can’t live, if living is without you” the best relationships are not based on desperation.
If one is desperate for the other he/she believes that one’s lover will make life better for him and in fact make her life worth living. That expectation does not fuel an adult connection it fuels an infant’s dreams. The only time that one person can meet all our needs is when we are nursing as a baby totally dependent on our mother. In this relationship one is an adult and one is a baby. I hope that does not describe your marriage.
When we take responsibility to meet our own needs as well as a healthy mother would, then and only then, are we ready to contribute to someone else’s life. When we speak our own truth and take responsibility for our choices only then can our spouse know us. Two people who are meeting their own needs and are not dependent on each other will make good partners. They know how to take care of themselves and at the same time realize that their life would be more interesting if they shared it with each another.
The partners that are incapable of standing on their own feet spend countless hours attempting to get their mate to take care of something that is not their responsibility, the other mate’s life. The tug of war and control tactics that come out of that mindset are guaranteed to kill love.
- My love for you, will not stay static, it will change.
How we enjoy the comfort zone that is created when we first fall in love. It’s as if we have finally found someone who is the male or female version of “us.” The next stage is differentiation. That is signaled when we begin to run into each other’s uniqueness, their differences. That is when the question becomes will we try to force our mate to go back to “the way they were” or will we learn how to love a real human not a fantasy of our making?
The reality is that each partner is always changing. We age, we learn, we find new interests and drop some we had before, we form new friendships, we have children, some lose children, we encounter illness, and we experience failure as well as success.
Each marriage has to adapt to the changes in each other that life’s surprises bring. There will be times that obligation may feel stronger than attraction. Times when we are called on to give more than we will receive. Then there will be times where we have to learn to receive because, for some reason, we find ourselves less able to give. There will be times of intense busyness and times of relaxation and rest. Through all the ups and downs of life we bond and we find new things to love about the other.
Martha Beck writes, “Like running water, changing love finds it’s way past obstacles. Freezing it in place makes it fragile, rigid, and all too likely to shatter.”
- You are not everything that I need.
Every healthy relationship makes space for each other’s individuality and interests. After a husband/wife has been renewed through their separate activities, they come together and share each other’s experiences. That way our separate experiences are enjoyed twice: once by us and once with our partner. Time apart can actually be used to enrich our together time.
As a Marriage and Family therapist I am saddened when I see how threatened many are when their spouse takes up new hobbies or reconnects with old friends. Some act as if that is abandonment. They are terrified that if their spouse is not with them, they probably will be doing something that would hurt them. Often that speaks more about one’s past than about one’s spouse.
Mutually supporting each other’s personal growth strengthens a couple’s connection. Certainly each couple has to negotiate the amount of separateness that works for their “us.” Selfishness does not create love.
Human beings are designed to live in groups. God exists in relationship, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The result of that synergy is love, creativity and power. Our relationships can only benefit from the mentors we choose, the new learning that we embrace, the new friends we connect with, and the new experiences that we encounter.
Love must never resemble a spider’s natural tendencies when encountering a fly. It must not capture the beloved, wrap them so tight that they can’t breathe and then drain the very nourishment out of their mate. Possessiveness and exploitation must be called control and not love. Do you like to be imprisoned? I don’t think so.
True love sets the other free. They are given freedom. Yes our mate can hurt us by his/her separate choices. Yet love cannot exist without freedom. Only we get to choose whether we use our freedom to enrich our togetherness or whether, through our freedom, we destroy our connection.
I need you but I need others too. As one mate said to the other, “Our relationship is not enough to make me happy. If I believed that it was and acted that way with you I would stunt my soul and destroy my love for you. You would be less the person God intended you to be and your soul would be stunted too. I love you too much to imprison you. I set you free to be the man/woman you were meant to be.”
Until our next Conscious Lover’s Blog…