Poet Adrienne Rich defined love this way:
“An honorable human relationship – that is, one in which two people have the right to use the word “love” – is a process… delicate… and often terrifying to both persons involved, a process of refining the truths they can tell each other. It is important to do this because it breaks down human self-delusion and isolation. It is important to do this because in doing so we do justice to our own complexity. It is important to do this because we can count on so few people to go that hard way with us.”
Can you and your partner count on each other to go the “hard way” together?
To go the way of participating in a process that refines, deepens, and reveals the truth?
Not Yet There
If you are not yet there with your partner, take heart. All of this requires courage and practice and a deep commitment to creating intimacy.
It can be done. And like all other creative processes, it takes blood, sweat, and tears.
For many of us, we first have to experience that place of so much pain, loneliness, and heartache that our hearts have nothing left to do but open.
Transformation Like the Lotus
Like the lotus that only blooms from the dark, murkiness of the mud, transformation within ourselves and within our relationships is born from the dark murkiness of our deepest experiences of abandonment, disappointment, and disillusionment.
I will tell you this, the poet Adrienne Rich was right: It is the process of sharing truths with our partner that finally prevents us all from living in self-delusion and isolation.
Now isn’t that a wonderful thought to ponder?
Self Delusion Creates Isolation
As we express our truest selves within intimate relationships, warts and all, self-delusion cannot survive.
We cannot lie to ourselves about who we are and create an authentic, intimate relationship at the same time.
Self-delusion prevents connection.
When we move away from deluding ourselves about who we truly are and instead move toward our full, imperfect human-ness there is nothing left but true connection, shared experience, and the potential for the richness of intimacy.
We find our truest selves in our own imperfection. We create authentic connection as we reveal our truths to each other.
So essentially it is the desire to create a genuinely intimate relationship, that leads us to first facing ourselves. Our work is not just facing ourselves, but also learning to love what we discover.
And as we do this, we move into creating a rich intimacy with others.
I became a couples therapist because I believe in this process of transformation.
I have witnessed couples moving from self-delusion and isolation to self-awareness, honesty, accountability, and connection.
I have witnessed the power of humans accepting themselves with tender compassion.
I have witnessed the power of humans embracing the real-ness of their partner’s imperfections.
I have witnessed couples rejecting the myth that “happily ever after” happens passively and magically. Instead, they move toward accepting the reality that true, deep, and abiding love grows in contexts of intention, effort, authenticity, vulnerability, and honoring the real, messy, life experiences.
The Heart of My Work
The heart of my work is helping couples “refine the truths they tell each other” so that they create a relationship that thrives.
If you would like to read more about my work please… download my ebook: Transform Your Relationship: 6 Core Practices to Create A Healthy Marriage.
You can even begin this process now by asking yourself:
Transforming even the most distressed relationship starts with:
Focusing on the Wrong Things
We so often go about trying to fix our marriage by focusing on our partner; on all the things our partner does “wrong” or the things they do that we do not like.
The more we focus on the things that are “wrong”, the more we will find them. So much so that any positives become invisible and soon we only see the negatives.
If each partner is committed to being their best self, living their best life, and being the best partner they can be, there is no need to perseverate on what the other may or may not do.
As adults, each person is responsible for themselves. Growth comes from learning how to work on the things each of us brings to a relationship that may result in distress, hurt, pain and mistrust.
And trusting that your partner will do the same.
Are you ready to shift to a whole new approach in order to transform your relationship?
The core of this process is:
In my ebook: Transform Your Relationship: 6 Core Practices to Create A Healthy Marriage, I talk about 6 core practices that you can do that support the larger process described above.
In my book, each of these practices is outlined to help you develop a life practice that supports a marriage that thrives.
The practices are:
Each of these practices will create a relationship that supports “going the hard way” and embraces the complexity of relationships.
The time is now to begin the process of transformation within your intimate relationship.
You don’t have to know more, or have accomplished more, or feel braver than you are.
All it requires is a desire to live an authentic life.
All it requires is the willingness to accept your whole self, flaws and all.
All it requires is the acceptance that true love grows from two imperfect people feeling safe enough to be themselves while simultaneously working on being their best selves.
I believe that the human capacity for growth, healing, and transformation is unlimited.
Peace in the Journey,