Many of us in our lives end up in situations that we hadn’t expected. We find ourselves just planted in a life and we might even wonder, “How did I get here?”
This is not uncommon, especially in relationships. We enter the relationship with the highest of expectations. And it might sound like, “I love this person. They love me. We are so happy. I have never felt like this before.”
This is a wonderful feeling. The problem comes when it changes and then we wonder what we were thinking. “Was it really so great I didn’t notice things about my mate that I should have seen? Did I miss some of these important cues?”
When we are in a relationship and we get our feelings hurt we often forget that the person who hurt us is one we love. We might even see them as the enemy because they did something to us and it made us feel bad.
But what if we had the ability to remember all of the good qualities in the person that we fell in love with? Wouldn’t that make it a lot easier for us to return to our connection with them instead of hating them for what they did?
Yes, I know this is a big stretch for many people, but here is the thing. Most of the time when our feelings get hurt it is not intentional. We might make it into a war, but the beginning misunderstanding is usually just something that didn’t feel good.
Many of us seek love from another person. That kind of explains why we couple. We look for the right kind of mate so we can feel good about ourselves. This is very human. But the more I learn about myself and other people, the more I understand that when we are fully ourselves, and only ourselves, that is when we can feel love.
Let me explain. When we find our partners we feel complete in some way, as if we have been missing something and after finding them we now feel whole. But if we always need to feel this feeling with our person, when we don’t feel it, we might start to feel less than—like we lost something important.
It’s not often that we get a chance to observe a successful couple in action. And when we do see one, we might not even notice it. I had the chance to be in the presence of such a couple and this is what I witnessed.
I was at a conference led by two people who have been a couple for many years. What struck me is that they clearly love each other. It was so soft and tender in certain moments, I was really amazed by it.
I started to think about what we all want in our relationships. We want to feel safe, and happy, and taken care of. I think that’s about it. But often we go about trying to get these things by telling our partner what is wrong.
It’s funny to think of not being good at “living” life. All of us, as humans, pride ourselves at being effective. Every one of us does things to the best of our ability. And yet, many relationships are not satisfying to the people in them. And many people wonder why being in a relationship is so hard.
Well, there are good reasons for relationship challenges. For starters, where did you learn how to be in a relationship? Maybe you saw some movies or watched other people. Maybe you saw examples of what not to do and vowed to do something different. Or perhaps you had examples that you thought were good but they are not proving to work in your current relationship.
Many of us try to get rid of some thoughts and focus on others—perhaps more positive ones. And if you have tried this then you know how very hard this can be. All of us have wished our minds would just let go of some of the things it thinks about.
But how many of us are truly successful at it? We can’t do it by force. But lately I have noticed something quite remarkable. Here is how it happened. My husband has been cutting carbs to reduce weight. He has become very devoted to this new way of eating.
I have seen him withhold foods before, but there is something different about this time. He is very focused and dedicated. So when my workout trainer who also knows my husband said to me, “Your husband is really talking more.” The following memory arrived.
All of us have a young part that never grows up. In psychological terms it is called the “id”. It’s the part of our experience being human that remains a seven year old and always wants ice cream. You know that authentic joyful part that screams for happiness without hesitation.
We all have it, but many of us have put this organic, beautiful, spontaneous part away so we can be the adult that we must be for our life. Now, this is important too. We can’t be a kid all the time and I am sure many of us know people who are still children even at older ages.
Most of us in a relationship often focus on what we are not getting. We might remember the early days with our partner when everything felt so perfect, but now things are not the same.
This is very common with couples. All of us stay intoxicated with our new mate in the beginning. And as time moves on we start to feel that all-over love feeling slipping away. Then we might even question if we are with the right person.
I had this idea recently and it came to me while walking my dog. She is an old girl, a small white little one. I was noticing as we were just wandering down the sidewalk that we were in sync. Both of us were stride by stride.
And that’s when it hit me, we have cultivated this ease at walking together by doing the same thing over and over again. And in that moment when I was noticing it, it felt like the best thing in the world. Just the two of us, just us.
Then I flashed to other habits that I enjoy in my life, and I immediately thought of the time I spend in the morning with my husband, just sitting in our den, reading the newspaper, drinking tea or coffee and just being.
I know this couple. They are friends of mine. I have known them for many years. A while back the husband came down with a severe condition. It required a lot of rest and a procedure.
He is healthy now. He is fine. And he felt something about his wife that helped him be happy again too.