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The Search For Happiness And A Perfect Relationship
Throughout history, human beings have desired and searched for two things, happiness and a perfect relationship. There is an old truth, “You cannot search for what, you have not already had or known.” In other words, our search is motivated by a deep subconscious memory of the original, perfect and eternal relationship with our Friend, Guide and Parent, the One remembered as God, Allah, Ishwar, Jehovah, etc. It is only when our relationship with this Being is restored that we can experience true happiness or bliss. Bliss is the deepest spiritual happiness we can experience. It is experienced only when we are free of all attachment, when we no longer misidentify with anything physical and when our inner mental state is not dependent on anything or anyone.
At its highest level, our relationship with God is pure and non-dependent, and therefore blissful. Deep within the soul, there is a memory of the bliss of this perfect union and it is the deepest motivation in our search for the perfect relationship, for the perfect happiness. However, instead of seeking at the level of spirit, we seek at the level of mind (personality) and body. We search in those around us for the perfect partner – our soul mate. It is not incorrect to have worldly relationships, but there needs to be a deep realization inside each one of us that our true soul mate, is the One with whom we can have an ever-lasting, eternal relationship, the One with whom we have the deepest eternal bond (over a period of many births), the One from whom we will experience everlasting, eternal, unconditional attainments.
One of the difficulties faced in intimate relationships is that opposites attract. We are often fascinated by personal traits or background characteristics in our potential partner that we, ourselves, do not possess. It is not unusual, for example, for an only child to marry someone from a large family because she is attracted to the excitement and seeming closeness of her partner’s large family.
At the same time, he is attracted to her quiet and apparently peaceful family. It may not be long before she is accusing his family of being overwhelming and he is describing her family as too withdrawn. This is the point at which it is important to stop and recall what brought the partners together. With understanding, self-awareness, and a good measure of humor, each is more able to see the advantages and disadvantages of their own as well as their partner’s traits and circumstances.
Women and men also need to be equals in their relationship. A good marriage is not built upon the foundation of one partner feeling like a child and the other feeling like a parent. Only when partners relate as peers is it possible to experience mutual respect, sharing, support for each other, and the ability to disagree without the threat of losing the relationship. With that type of underpinning, the marriage will thrive.
Marriage is, no doubt, hard work, perhaps the most difficult thing some of us will ever do. When the honeymoon phase of our relationship is over, we experience that our partner no longer makes us happy. The romantic ideal we’ve held our partner to crumbles into a real relationship between real people with hopes and fears, wisdom and neuroses, needs and expectations. At this point we have three choices: we can break up; we can live together with resentment and little intimacy; or we can use the relationship as a means of growth and transformation. When we choose growth, we have the opportunity to transform the “garbage” of our relationship into compost. We can learn from the difficulties, keeping ourselves open to possibilities and pain, our partner, and ourselves.
Our intimate relationships are like plants. They need sunshine and rain and good soil. They need work. When pain and difficulties arise we can touch into our commitment and willingly feel our emotional weather. We can remain open to the winds and rains, as well as the sunshine and sweet breezes of the relationship. It takes tremendous courage to stop and simply feel the pain that arises, to let it wash over us like a wave. When we do this, it is not as bad as we anticipated. And like all weather, it passes.
Cultivating this larger awareness of the emotional storm allows us to notice the transient nature of conflict. Through this process we can learn to own and heal our pain, and glean some wisdom from it. It is a courageous and generous endeavor to not blame our partner for our unhappiness or not fulfilling our ideal.
Being present and honest with ourselves will provide space for understanding and growth. There is tremendous reward for stretching ourselves to open, taking responsibility for our side of the story, and transforming our negative habits into acts of integrity. The reward is that our plant begins to flower. Love returns and blossoms. Joy and lightness dawn with a newfound workability.
Boundaries around the individual and the couple sustain the health of a relationship. This means having individual time and couple time. In successful partnerships, boundaries are created to determine when, where, and to what extent other people are a part the life of the individual and of the couple. Boundaries (with negotiated flexibility) are important for establishing and maintaining intimacy in a relationship.
Finally, intimacy is the foundation for the development of lasting bonds in a relationship. While sexual and physical connections are important, they are not the only kind of intimacy in a relationship. Emotional, spiritual, aesthetic, and recreational aspects of life are also areas in which intimacy grows. Without these, sexual intimacy is purely physical and unlikely to sustain a relationship over the long-term.
The following suggestions may help couples to think about the challenges they face within their own relationships and inspire new approaches to old problems thus nurturing your relationship:
- See the reality of your partner (and of yourself), not a fantasy of perfection.
- Treat your partner like a friend. Be considerate and respectful. Laugh at their jokes and listen to their stories. Lighten up together and be kind to one another.
- Stay in the present. Deal with what is happening now; you don’t have to dredge up old baggage.
- The giving and receiving of unconditional love is not to be taken for granted. Certain aspects of love are earned.
- Give what you want. If you want more love, offer love. If you want more affection, offer affection. If you want more intimacy, create an intimate environment.
- Not every attack is personal. Avoid overdramatizing.
- Be more concerned with loving and being loved, caring and being cared about than being right. Many right people are very lonely!
- Sit down with your spouse and each make a list of what makes you feel loved and cared for. Exchange lists. Study your partner’s list and make a commitment to do some of those things.
- See the situation from the other person’s perspective. Forgo blaming or judging.
- Say as much as you can to each other. The more that remains unspoken, the greater the risk for problems.
- Nurture a sense of humor. It is difficult for us to be defensive when we can laugh at ourselves!
- Acknowledge your partner for something every day. This could be something little or significant about what they do, who they are or how they look.
- Spend quality time together. If you have small children and not much alone time, extend yourself and make that time precious.
- Study what “works” between you and do more of that. Do not keep repeating the same negative patterns.
- Apologize. In every conflict you play a part. Be responsible for it.
- Honor your partner’s freedom. Wish them well as they do things separate from you. Celebrate your differences. Chances are, you do not want to be in a relationship with someone exactly like you!
- Do not react. When your partner gives you negative feedback, reply that you will think about it – and do.
See a counselor when you run into difficulties or want more from your relationship. All relationships run into hard times. Counseling is a wonderful way to give your relationship time and nurturing. Even one or two sessions can be a great benefit. Also know that shifts in the relationship can occur with only one person in counseling.
Trust is a very important factor for all relationships. When trust is broken,it is the end of the relationship. Lack of trust leads to suspicion, suspicion generates anger, anger causes enmity and enmity may result in separation.
A telephone operator told me that one day she received a phone call. She answered, “Public Utilities Board.” There was silence. She repeated, “PUB.”There was still no answer. When she was going to cut off the line, she Heard a lady’s voice, “Oh, so this is PUB. Sorry, I got the number from my Husband’s pocket but I do not know whose number it is.”
Without mutual trust, just imagine what will happen to the couple if the telephone operator answered with just “hello” instead of “PUB”.
NO POINTING FINGERS
A man asked his father-in-law, “Many people praised you for a successful marriage. Could you please share with me your secret?”
The father-in-law answered in a smile, “Never criticize your wife for her shortcomings or when she does something wrong. Always bear in mind that because of her shortcomings and weaknesses, she could not find a better husband than you.”
We all look forward to being loved and respected. Many people are afraid of losing face. Generally, when a person makes a mistake, he would look around to find a scapegoat to point the finger at. This is the start of a war. We should always remember that when we point one finger at a person, the other four fingers are pointing at ourselves.
If we forgive the others, others will ignore our mistake too.
CREATING PERFECT RELATIONSHIPS?
A person visited the government matchmaker for marriage, SDU, and requested “I am looking for a spouse. Please help me to find a suitable one.” The SDU officer said, “Your requirements, please.” “Oh, good looking, polite, humorous , sporty, knowledgeable, good in singing and dancing. Willing to accompany me the whole day at home during my leisure hour, if I don’t go out. Telling me interesting stories when I need companion for conversation and be silent when I want to rest.” The officer listened carefully and replied, “I understand you need television.”
There is a saying that a perfect match can only be found between a blind wife and a deaf husband ,because the blind wife cannot see the faults of the husband and the deaf husband cannot hear the nagging of the wife. Many couples are blind and deaf at the courting stage and dream of perpetual perfect relationship. Unfortunately, when the excitement of love wears off, they wake up and discover that marriage is not a bed of roses. The nightmare begins.
Many relationships fail because one party tries to overpower another, or demands too much. People in love tend to think that love will conquer all and their spouses will change the bad habits after marriage. Actually, this is not the case. There is a Chinese saying which carries the meaning that “It is easier to reshape a mountain or a river than a person’s character.”
It is not easy to change. Thus, having high expectation on changing the spouse character will cause disappointment and unpleasantness.
It would be less painful to change ourselves and lower our expectations. .
RIGHT SPEECH !!!
There is a Chinese saying which carries the meaning that “A speech will either prosper or ruin a nation.” Many relationships break off because of wrong speech. When a couple is too close with each other, we always forget mutual respect and courtesy. We may say anything without considering if it would hurt the other party.
A friend and her millionaire husband visited their construction site. A worker who wore a helmet saw her and shouted, “Hi, Emily! Remember me? We used to date in the secondary school.” On the way home, her millionaire husband teased her, “Luckily you married me. Otherwise you will be the wife of a construction worker.” She answered ,”You should appreciate that you married me. Otherwise, he will be the millionaire and not you.”
Frequently exchanging these remarks plants the seed for a bad relationship. It’s like a broken egg – cannot be reversed.
Different people have different perception. One man’s meat could be another man’s poison. A couple bought a donkey from the market. On the way home, a boy commented, “Very stupid. Why neither of them ride on the donkey? “Upon hearing that, the husband let the wife ride on the donkey. He walked besides them. Later, an old man saw it and commented, “The husband is the head of family. How can the wife ride on the donkey while the husband is on foot?” Hearing this, the wife quickly got down and let the husband ride on the donkey.
Further on the way home, they met an old Lady. She commented, “How can the man ride on the donkey but let the wife walk. He is no gentleman.” The husband thus quickly asked the wife to join him on the donkey. Then, they met a young man. He commented, “Poor donkey, how can you hold up the weight of two persons. They are cruel to you.” Hearing that, the husband and wife immediately climbed down from the donkey and carried it on their shoulders..
It seems to be the only choice left. Later, on a narrow bridge, the donkey was frightened and struggled. They lost their balance and fell into the river. You can never have everyone praise you, nor will everyone condemn you. Never in the past, not at present, and never will be in the future.
Thus, do not be too bothered by others words if our conscience is clear..
This is a true story which happened in the States. A man came out of his home to admire his new truck. To his puzzlement, his three-year-old son was happily hammering dents into the shiny paint of the truck. The man ran to his son, knocked him away, hammered the little boy’s hands into pulp as punishment. When the father calmed down, he rushed his son to the hospital.
Although the doctor tried desperately to save the crushed bones, he finally had to amputate the fingers from both the boy’s hands. When the boy woke up from the surgery & saw his bandaged stubs, he innocently said, ” Daddy,I’m sorry about your truck.” Then he asked, “but when are my fingers going to grow back?” The father went home & committed suicide.
Think about this story the next time someone steps on your feet or u wish to take revenge. Think first before u lose your patience with someone u love. Trucks can be repaired.. Broken bones & hurt feelings often can’t. Too often we fail to recognize the difference between the person and the performance. We forget that forgiveness is greater than revenge.
People make mistakes. We are allowed to make mistakes. But the actions we take while in a rage will haunt us forever.