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“Are you one of those people who would rather be right than loved? Here’s the chance to choose differently.” –Jan Desai
I’m a statistic: twice divorced and almost ten years into my third marriage. If you’re a numbers person, the statistics are stacked against me.
In the U.S., fifty percent of first marriages end in divorce with 67 percent of second and 73 percent of third marriages ending in divorce.
It appears that happily ever after really doesn’t exist.
But this time around I’m committed to something different. I’ve learned a thing or two about navigating the bumpy roads of relationships and I wish to share my greatest discovery in ensuring that the statistics don’t get the best of me… or you!
It’s called conscious partnering.
Consciously Choosing Love
Marriage takes consistently saying yes to love, but not in the way you would think.
Without fail, each morning when you wake up beside your partner, you choose to say yes to love.
Regardless of the fight last night, the hurt feelings, the disappointment, the lack of sex, the forgotten promise, or the misunderstanding about finances… this conscious and generous “yes” allows love to grow strong and your partnership to flourish into the most transformative relationship possible.
Here’s what makes an awakened partnership different: Conscious partnering recognizes the true reason for coming together is to maximize your personal and spiritual growth. A conscious relationship is a portal into your own divinity.
Conscious Partnership is Loving Another as You Love Yourself
It starts and ends here. You can only love another to the degree in which you love yourself.
When you look in the mirror and can’t embrace the person looking back, and instead transfer the responsibility for loving you fully onto your partner, you’re in for very rough days indeed.
I had an endless litany of questions for my former partners, “Do you love me?” “How much do you love me?” “Am I pretty?” “Do you like my body?” “Am I smart?” “Will you still love me when I’m old and incontinent?” (Not kidding!)
This never-ending exercise in needing to be validated was exhausting, for both my partners and myself!. For my partners, it was exhausting to endlessly shoulder the full responsibility for all the love, and for me to constantly deny my own capacity for self-love.
If you want the healthiest and strongest relationship you can possibly have, you must integrate the neediness and start seeing yourself as the divine does… whole, complete, and a perfect reflection of the source that created you… especially in your incontinence.
Conscious Relationships Allow You to See Your Partner as They Truly Are
Are you envisioning your partner as your savior, some heroic knight in shining armor, or a meal ticket allowing you a false sense of security because you believe you need to be taken care of for the rest of your life?
Full disclosure here: My husband is a spiritual rock star in my eyes and therefore I did see him as a bit of a savior which meant, in the early days, I cut him no slack for showing up as anything other than saintly, godly, and all-knowing.
My work required that I surrender the fantasy and find peace with the truth that we are both wounded human beings looking for safety, healing, and wholeness. I had to let go of my narcissistic relationship tendencies and embrace the truth that my partner is on his own journey of self-discovery, and his bumps and mis-steps are a part of his own evolution.
And guess what? The more I was able to meet him in that place of vulnerability, the more deeply I could experience his divinity.
The Non-Negotiable: Honesty and Courage
Conscious relationships require great courage. Most importantly, they require complete openness and transparency, even if it’s not always easy. Creating the space – and the habit – of being honest with yourself and your partner will bring profound strength in times of difficulty.
This was a tough one for me as well. I loved being malleable. Whatever my partner wanted was good for me. My favorite response was “you choose.” I was so unconscious I wasn’t even aware I was ignoring my own needs, wants, and desires. This level of self-deceit was a land mine just waiting to be stepped on.
If honesty and courage are not your strong suit, that’s okay. I got there and so can you. Start small. Have the conversations about what’s important to you. From the movies you see to the amount of money you spend, to the values that you wish to create as a family, to what happens behind the bedroom doors. Be courageous and open about what is important to you. You are worthy of that.
In a conscious partnership, there’s give and take. There’s letting it be his way for a while and then asking for it to be your way. Conscious love is an adventure waiting to be uncovered. Have the courage to trust that you are constantly being moved into the deepest, most rewarding relationship possible.
The Pillars of a Healthy Partnership: Commitment, Consistency, and Transparency
We all have both conscious and unconscious elements in our relationships. Nobody's perfect. There’s always going to be messiness whenever passion and love are involved. It’s how you address that messiness and discomfort that makes all the difference.
When you can meet your partner on a daily basis with commitment and consistency despite the carnage that may be strewn about the landscape of your relationship, you are moving toward something miraculous.
Relationship is an energy. With commitment, consistency, and transparency you are constantly expanding into the higher vibrational resonance of love, and calling your partner into a like vibration. Think of a tuning fork that, once struck, will cause another other tuning fork to resonate at the same vibration.
My husband and I both agree that marriage is hard work. We’ve accepted the reality that great love has nothing to do with picking the right partner but instead by becoming the right partner. It takes commitment, discipline, and a daily willingness for personal growth and change. And it’s worth it.