How do we do relationship? It seems like humans love love. There is a desire to be coupled or connected to another person deeply on some level. And though we love love and being coupled, we seem to struggle with the difficulty of maintaining connection, intimacy, sexual connection, meaningful conversations, the spark that once brought them together, but somehow feeling it’s different now, our partner just doesn’t seem like the person we fell for and we just want them to do what we expect them to do. But things change, couples grow close and far apart, lives become too busy with the needs of other things, new interests are developed that their partner cannot related to, taking each other for granted happens unconsciously. Relationship is organic. It breathes, contracting and expanding, like all things alive. The question we must ask is if the living changes of the relationship help us grow, like the leaves that fall from the tree create the soil for the buds that come next year.
Things that are alive, change. We grow older, maybe we become parents, we become over worked, we become stressed, tired, retired, sad, ill, happy, crazy excited, too much, not enough, we are always shifting and the changes can be hard to bare, personally, as well as for our partner.
So how do we do this relationship thing? Well, many of us charge through, as we do with most changes in life. Not acknowledging it and in anticipation of when/if this one thing (you name it) happens that will bring some relief. Others hightail it out of there, hence our high separation and divorce rates. Some practice cohabitation or dating to keep things light and not get too attached. Others spend time in therapy or counseling, working hard to make the connection and understanding that will move them forward.
For those of us who have experienced long-term relationship, we know that it can be utterly crazy making. It invites us to experience all the ups and downs of emotional states in one tight container. Relationship brings up all our shadows and wounds while offer excitement and support a person to share our loving with (rather than being in love).
The high rate of separation and divorce and the quickness in which we are able to enter into relationship when that spark of love ignites, all have me thinking, what is going on here? We are doing it all to quickly now. And we charge through, we ignore areas of discomfort, unable to deal with them and we trudge on hoping to manage. In the changes have we become so quick to say “I am in love” or “I am done”? Not realizing that relationships fall and spark often and the aftereffect can be wild in all sorts of ways.
It is important is to acknowledge each change. Many rites of passage ceremonies occur alone, and I believe couples need rites of passage too. A process that allows each person in the couple to discover themselves, their interrelatedness to each other, their connection to the world around them, their human nature, to grow an understanding of our connection to the greater whole. Partnership rite of passages have the elements of most passages: noting the end of something that is no longer serving the relationship and movement into something new, solo and intentional time in nature, and the deep acknowledgement of gifts.
Without a doubt, humans have a need for love. This, and change, are a huge and vital part of our human nature. We are somehow significantly marked by the relationships we share with our intimate partners. So, weather you’re talking about divorce or marriage with your partner, it is always worth acknowledging the severance of one way of being with each other into the birth of a new way. Oaks Counsel offers a 10 session Partnership Passage for partners who want to acknowledge these ongoing shifts. And check out all the Adult Passage offerings on our website.