Friday, November 21, 2008

A “Here and Now” Relationship!

One reader asked, “Is the ‘here and now’ creation between two individuals …. the same as a couple being equally yoked?” (“Living Lessons” November 2008”)

The foundation or structure
I believe that both of the concepts are vital to the creation of the ultimate relationship. However they are different. The concept of “equally yoked” speaks to the structure of a relationship while “here and now” describes the process that occurs within a relationship. The structure of the relationship promotes certain processes to occur, which in turn allows outcomes to be gained for both partners. Being equally yoked within the Judeo-Christian teaching about marriage refers to having shared spiritual beliefs. I would like to expand “equally yoked” to mean “shared core values” which I believe are essential to the structure of a fulfilling partnership.

Be Authentic
Core values remain the constant while preferences, tastes, interests and even personalities may change over a period of time. Author, Melissa Darnay said, “you can change a person’s socks, you can change their hair cut, but you can’t change their core values… or yours”. Shared core values allow a couple to make the various adjustments required by life in such a way that their relationship remains vital and exciting. These core values also allow each partner to be their authentic selves. Often having shared spiritual belief is interpreted by most as ‘shared or similar beliefs about something, ideas, or ‘God’, whereas shared core values are personal commitments which each partner actively incorporates into their actions, words and thoughts. One of my core values is personal growth. This core value fosters ongoing improvement and learning. This is applicable in all areas of my life, which includes my relationships. Without the value of personal growth, my relationship will become flat, stale and mediocre. Having this core value allows for the ‘here and now’ aspect of relationship. This is the place for intimacy and passion.

Remember the passion of new love? In this special experience each partner is in a place of growth and discovery (a core value) which fires and fuels great passion (here and now) and growing intimacy (outcome or results).

It takes more than common beliefs
It is extremely important that each partner be true to their core values. When one fails to do so, they become ‘unequally yoked’. Passion and intimacy fade and affection erodes into complacency and mediocrity. The resulting process of being in ‘here and now’ fades and is replaced by another, ‘then and there’. This place focuses on what was and what might be. ‘Here and now’ is being conscious and intentional while ‘then and there’ becomes the default where we live our unconscious relationship. ‘Then and there’ is controlled by guilt, shame, dread, anxiety and fear. Passion and intimacy fail to prosper in this environment. Couples may have shared beliefs about ‘things’ but not have an active commitment to those ‘things’. They would be considered to be ‘equally yoked’, but yet unfulfilled. They have a commitment based on beliefs about something, not beliefs in something – an expression of empty love.

Consummate love is comprised of commitment, passion and growing intimacy!

Action Steps –
• What are your core values – those values which guide your actions, thoughts and words?
• How do you express each of these values in your life? Work? Relationship?

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Reader Comments

"...My spouse and I have been married for 32 years and I've experienced our relationship from giggly in bed, to passionate in bed, to mad in bed to "sleeping" in bed...As we grow older the intimacy definition changes for me. Intimacy also for me is just sitting quietly, or driving for miles quietly or walking just hearing our footsteps crunch the leaves, holding hands. My usual struggle in intimacy is in my head - I have to intentionally stop my daily to do list, my past and future stuff and live in the present moment..." Pam

it's ... smaller things to celebrate that create the real passion

“We have found that passion ebbs and flows but we set a goal for our relationship a number of years ago that is working for us. At least every six months we do something that will create a lifetime memory. For us, we love to travel, so it's been pretty easy to find something big to do that will create that lifetime memory, but sometimes it's the finding of smaller things to celebrate that create the real passion.” Steve Rae

What'll arouse passion more than the feeling of being forgiven?

“The "typical beliefs that people have when the “fire” seems to have gone out of a relationship" I believe are a) that you feel your partner should have changed or should not have changed and b) that you feel you should change or that you should not have changed.

Acceptance of yourself and your partner leads to forgiveness. What'll arouse passion more than the feeling of being forgiven?” Brian Massey

A word from Russ Hardesty

The realm of relationship is mysterious; filled with magic, surprise, excitement, passion, intimacy, loss, disappointment and creativity. I am fortunate to have a life partner who is at once a mirror, teacher, lover, nurturer, student and companion. In this place of mystery, I continue to grow into a mature, loving and free man. I welcome feedback, suggestions, and comments – which is a gift to me! Thanks for joining the expedition! Russ