by Donna Quesada: There must be more articles and books on the topic of relationships than on any other topic.
I’m not sure what grants expertise and authority on the subject, but if the model of eastern discipleship is any example when seeking guidance, you want council from one who’s “been through the fire”… who’s seen it all and fallen through every pothole.
That’s not to say everyone needs advice. We’ve all known or at least heard about those couples who got married right after high school, then stayed together forever, never had an argument and loved each other until the end. Bless them.
For the rest of us, some skills need to be put into place because relationships can be downright challenging. But it’s like that with anything… take singing, for example. How about those people who just open their mouth to sing and it’s like white doves gliding right out of their throats and up into the sky, swirling around the clouds like ribbons. The rest of us need lessons and technique.
Why should it be different with relationships? Someone who’s been through the fire can share from their own experience and save you the trouble of making the same mistakes. With that said, I don’t know if anyone can ever be an expert at relationships, since the very prospect of two changeable and complex psyches navigating each other, seems all but inconceivable. After all, sometimes we don’t even understand ourselves!
In the spirit of having been through the fire, I do have a couple of marriages and divorces to speak of. In the ancient teachings of Kundalini Yoga, it has always been said that marriage is the highest Yoga. After my last divorce, from a marriage that lasted 22 years, I came to understand just how true this is. And why does divorce bestow credibility? It’s like the Law of Attraction teachings… you have to know what you don’t want, in order to know what you do want.
The Kundalini writings go on to say that marriage “has the potential to be a carriage to take you to Infinity.” Marriage is seen as a sacred union in which two souls merge entirely. So much so, that this amalgamation is a bit like putting together two elements, like copper and zinc… the result is a whole new alloy – brass. Such is the married couple, no matter how distinct or unique they may be as individuals.
Here are the 10 tips that I have found to be the magical, golden keys to a healthy relationship.
1.The best opportunity to fix something is right then and there, in the moment. This one was inspired by the conversation I had with the wonderful Byron Katie. I listed this one first because it has always been challenging for me, as I am sometimes slow to react to things that I later understand to be triggers, or even… red flags. There was a time when I circled this one around in my head, wondering… how does that really work? But I have come to see the inherent wisdom in functioning in present time. It all circles around how we speak to one another… speaking in a loving way, in the here and now, and then letting it drop. If we’re holding on to something for a future discussion, we’re harboring ill feelings all the while… stewing and ruminating and letting it linger. When things are allowed to fester, they literally rot. If it’s not worth addressing in the moment, let it go.
2.This one naturally follows from the previous. Learn to speak up for yourself. I spent 22 years feeling too trepidatious to do so. And if speaking up causes too much trouble, that may be a red flag in itself. Anyway, whatever we can’t say freely now, will inevitably find its way out at some point… and in a more dramatic way. So, might as well say it!
3.Know that love is like hide and seek. Life happens. The love is always there, but the passion moves and swells in rhythm, like the waves in the sea… sometimes retreating in low tide for a bit, only to swell up again. And again and again. This is where faith and trust in your love come in. It’s a knowing. The business of life and its demands takes us over at times. We become preoccupied with the things we have to do as managers of our lives. But as long as we move about in a spirit of peace of understanding, the natural flow continues on.
4.You don’t need to tell your partner everything. Not every private thought, insecurity and fold in your internal landscape needs to be reported.
5.Support and applaud each other. Celebrate each other’s talents and accomplishments. Say it out loud. Say I love you and you’re wonderful often and mean it. I maintain that a competitive vibe between you is a red flag. You should feel absolute support from one another… Cheer each other on. Even when you don’t agree… let there be no need to prove yourself. It’s about what’s best, not about who’s idea it was or who knew it first, or who said it first. There’s no diminishment on anyone’s part, no matter who was wrong or right. It’s simply two minds working together for the best of everyone.
6.Say what your needs are. If you need to be spoken to differently, touched differently, supported differently… Say it. In a healthy relationship, you should feel free to express your needs and know that they will be met with acceptance and love.
7.Speak with love. Men and women are equally sensitive. It’s a common fallacy that men are somehow tougher emotionally, than women… not a chance. And so we have to be delicate with one another. While it’s a general truth that not taking things personally is a wise way to live, the bigger truth is that we are fragile beings. It is often said that actions speak louder than words, but because we are such sensitive beings, words matter. A lot. Compliment each other. Notice each other. Praise each other.
8.Accept each other as you are. Be patient with each other‘s shortcomings without any belittling.
9.Create a sacred feeling about your togetherness. In Yogic teachings, marriage is considered a “sacred space,” where the couple enters into a spiritual union and thus becomes ONE SOUL… which brings me to the next point.
10.We’ve all heard about the need to spend time alone together… to take a vacation… or, corny as it sounds, have a “date night.” It happens to be true. I never heard it so beautifully explained as when my teacher once spoke on the subject: “When we begin a relationship, our longing for each other holds us in a common orbit of frequency. As partners process life, it is easy for the orbits to diverge. Time together, without the pressure and responsibilities of daily life, allow a couple to return to a common orbit and frequency. Throughout life, a marriage continually needs to be nourished and harmonized.”