Previously, I would have thought that the ideal partner would be someone who had all my broken parts handled for herself. What I learned is that my ideal partner - based on my higher goal for myself as outlined above - needed to have three qualities; perhaps this is true for you, too.
Relationship-wise, JoAnn was about as broken as a person could be. She was sexually abused when she was four years old. From the time she was six, her parents routinely left her alone in the house for hours at a time, and she would lock herself in the bathroom to feel safe. JoAnn was raped by her brother's friend when she was 14. Soon after, she discovered that her father was cheating on her mother. When JoAnn was 19, her mother committed suicide. JoAnn became an alcoholic and a drug addict. She had a number of relationships with men, including two marriages, and every man she was with was unfaithful to her.
Little did I know on our first date that I was dating a woman with more landmines than the border between North and South Korea. And, to continue the metaphor, I was a guy stomping around in clown shoes. A shameless flirt. I had three other girlfriends out of state (they all knew about each other), and I had a habit of ogling women that was so unconscious, I had no idea how obvious it was.
I don't know what made me realize that JoAnn was the woman I needed to be with for the rest of my life, what made me take on that challenge, but I knew that to be with JoAnn, I was going to have to change. I was going to have to evolve into a level of consciousness that, in retrospect, I could not have anticipated back then.
Beyond having our basic survival needs met (shelter, food, clothes, health), what does make us happy? Here's a short list.
If we want to feel contented and fulfilled, that's where we need to put our energies. If we want to get there, we need to learn how to be present and grateful. If you can get there without doing any more work on yourself, you have my congratulations. For the majority of us, perhaps the purpose of having a relationship is to support our intent to work on ourselves. A new earth relationship gives us someone to push our buttons, so we'll have to do that work. A new earth relationship allows us to get the positive and negative feedback we need in order to true ourselves to a higher purpose. And a new earth relationship gives us a real partner to support us during the good and bad times.
Sometimes the thing we want so much is right in front of us, if we're willing to let ourselves see it. I think a lot of us struggle with this. I wrote the following for my partner, JoAnn, in the wake of such a struggle.
Copyright © 2009 William Weil
Excerpted from New Earth Relationships - a new book by William Weil about how to grow personally and together with your partner, but altering your consciousness about yourself, your partner, and the context of relationships. Feedback from early readers:
Also, you might try my Couples Relationship Consciousness Building website - it's free; it takes only a few minutes... allow yourself and your partner to get through three assignments before judging it!