Yellow, red, pink, white, peach; the rose garden is full of colour. Air is fragrance-filled. A couple meet to enjoy the garden. They smoothly saunter between beds, engaging in quiet conversation. Occasionally the woman stops to admire a particular colour and scent. Beds resonate with buzzing, as bees and flies flit between abundant petals. A solitary white butterfly flits playfully as petals, disturbed by a passing bee, fall gently to earth.
Your Calling Helps You Understand Relationships
If marriages are to remain light and playful, then it is necessary that both partners are totally committed to loving one another. I believe that if men and women could learn to really love one another all the world's problems would be solved. I realise this is a sweeping statement, but it underlines the importance of relationships, not only for our own purposes, but also for the world at large.
The family and the home are the foundation of life and human civilisation. If we are able to learn about love in the home and family, then we will have love in abundance to give to our businesses, charities and friends and to the whole of life. Unfortunately relationships are often a source of discord and friction, rather than love and understanding.
Inner guidance prompts us to love unconditionally and with dogged determination. Unconditional love loves before waiting to be loved. When we love unconditionally we pour out our love in all directions, to the hurt, the needy, the difficult and the lonely. Our partner helps us to love unconditionally. This is because our partner is at times hurt, needy, difficult and lonely. Do we stop loving them when they are like this? Not a bit. That is when we dig deep and are determined to love. We need to be able to express our love with understanding and sensitivity; otherwise our love may not have the healing effect we desire. Fortunately inner guidance is there to help.
A healthy relationship has two states - harmony and conflict. Healthy relationships are always growing. They grow when the couple share their love and they grow through conflict, because with sensitive communication and a willingness to learn, matters are eventually resolved. Unfortunately most relationships do not have this pattern. Most relationships alternate between conflict and truce. When there is conflict, matters are not resolved and a truce develops. However the outstanding issues have not gone away, because they were never resolved, and they continue to influence the relationship. If the outstanding issues continue unresolved and lack of resolution gives rise to resentment and bitterness, then it is increasingly difficult to maintain the truce. Stresses and strains appear and in extreme cases the truce breaks down and divorce results.
This need not happen.
For a relationship to succeed two things are necessary. Firstly both partners need to be able to grow and learn from the good times together and from the inevitable conflicts. Learning from conflict restores harmony and strengthens the relationship. Secondly both partners need to honour their inner guidance.
"How can my inner guide help me in my relationship?" I hear you ask.
In a relationship there will inevitably be conflict. Conflict results when two partners are struggling to understand a problem that faces them. Conflict situations need love, patience sensitivity and determination, otherwise frustration can develop and communication degenerate. Before communication becomes harsh or insensitive we can gain help by saying,
"I need time to think this over."
This is the time for us to withdraw from the conflict situation to a quiet place on our own, where we can sense our inner guidance, learn from our insight and conscience and be inspired to find creative solutions.
Of course in a busy household the children may need to be fed and the laundry done. In this case we could say,
"I need time to think this over. I would like to think about what we have said this evening when I have some peace and quiet. Can I talk to you about these matters again tomorrow?"
Then in the evening we could find a quiet place to be on our own, perhaps run a hot bath, and take time to listen to our inner guidance. We can use one of the six approaches outlined earlier, (relaxation, questions, contemplation, talking, meditation and the release of pain). If there are unresolved negative emotions like anger, and resentment, these need to be expressed harmlessly outside the relationship.
Of course we can also talk to friends, consult a book on relationships or seek help from a counsellor, but our final guide should always be our own inner counsellor. Our external counsellor could be wrong. The book could be badly written. Our friend could be giving poor advice. Only our inner guide knows the perfect answer to our situation. Our job is to create the time, space and loving attitude so that we are able to listen to its gentle inner promptings.
Once our guidance has become clear, we are then free to return to our partner and communicate what we have learned with love, sensitivity and persistence. We may need to do this many times before we recreate harmony in a newly strengthened relationship. Our relationship has begun to grow, and so have we. (See Your Healing From A Broken Relationship.)
When I was 29 I met an attractive young woman at a night-class. I got to know her and eventually plucked up my courage and asked her out. There was an indefinable something that drew me to her.
We started dating. Although I found her an attractive person, there was a side to her nature that was remote and difficult. She seemed to be alienated from life. She had ongoing conflicts at work and with her parents. She was not a happy person. I never felt really close to her. She was angry and defensive and kept me at a distance. I didn't know the real person.
I sensed that my partner had never been really loved. I felt called to give to her unconditionally. Consequently I was the person who gave way most often when there were differences. I was the person who was the most flexible and the most giving, although on some key issues that were important to me I stubbornly held my ground even though I felt controlled and manipulated. When she hurt me with her harsh words, I let her see that I had been wounded by expressing my feelings. After going out for two months I planned a week's holiday break in a caravan in Donegal in the northwest of Ireland.
On that holiday we spent some intimate times together. Towards the end of the holiday she began to open up to me. I began to see the real person. She told me of her hopes and fears and her despair at the emptiness of her life. We discussed her situation together. I sensed she was taking a real risk telling me these things. I suspected she had never talked to anyone else this way. I saw her vulnerability. Her beauty was revealed. I felt a great love for her. However I sensed that this was only a short relationship. I knew it was not to be a prolonged love affair. I understood from my insight that to have a prolonged love affair I needed a partnership where the giving was much more balanced.
After five days she wanted to return early from the holiday. We left the caravan and drove home to Belfast. Two weeks later she told me she had been given a job abroad. Shortly afterwards she was gone. I never heard from her again.
When I love I give and I receive. Anger and frustration have no place in my love. When I am angry and frustrated it is because I am rigid and dogmatic about getting what I want and need. When I wish to gain something for myself through my relationship I am flexible about what I can achieve and how and when I can achieve it, while at the same time being dogged and determined. This flexibility enables me to be patient and kind. My dogged determination enables me to get my needs met.
We live in a harsh and cruel world. Anger and frustration are everywhere. Maybe our boss is angry or maybe our partner is angry and frustrated. Yet as long as this person chooses to be with us it is important that we love them. This is unconditional love. They may try to control us or manipulate us. Our task is to offer up our kind but determined love again and again even if it is rejected or abused.
Unconditional love is about offering ourselves as kind and determined people in a harsh and cruel world. Such persistent, gentle love is needed because it is so healing of both others and us. Because I have experienced healing I find I can offer up this precious healing love to everyone everywhere.
Giving simply pours out of me in a cornucopia of offerings, presents, gifts, surprises and general helpfulness. This outpouring of love enables me to attract a loving relationship and many caring friendships. I find as I do this others may respond to my love and generosity in unloving, uncaring ways.
I can find myself the target of their anger, bitterness, frustration, resentment, anxiety, and jealousy but I remain kind and determined. It is my possession of this kindness and determination in the face of rampant negative emotion, and my ability to stick to my own calling despite all manipulations, that enables love to work healing miracles. Because I am sticking to my calling it draws the other closer to their calling despite all protests.
This kind of sensitivity will help us understand our relationship. We will feel guided in what to say and when to say it. We will know when to stand-up for our viewpoint, when to yield, how to find creative compromises and solutions and when it is appropriate for a relationship to end.
Through my calling to date this woman I was learning from my insight about the type of relationship that did not work for me and consequently was becoming clearer about what a loving relationship was really like. I went on to have more successful and balanced relationships after this experience. That is the power of the call in helping us understand ourselves and love our partner.
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