When two worlds meet, they touch, they kiss, and we find that love is not only felt in the hearts, it is known by the hands also. Soul kisses soul on the lips, and of their love a third soul is born: the soul of the relationship.
There is you, there is me, and then – there is the relationship – the emotional and spiritual wild land, the soil upon which we walk as lovers and partners, and we need to feed it, nurture it, nourish it. It has its own needs, and cycles, like the cycles of each land in nature; there are time of quietness, and there are times of action.
And throughout the years, we still explore and re-explore one another, for there will always be parts of ourselves and our lovers that will remain somewhat wild and unknown – but that’s a humility we need to treasure. We can’t assume we know it all even after many years of living together under the same. Our own inner worlds change continuously, and there are always new shades to discover in one another like art. We need to re-learn, re-explore, and re-discover the kissing, the holding and the caring – how we need to be loved and kissed and supported not in the way we always were, but in the way we need to right now. And sometimes, we also need to be willing to re-learn how to make fire of sticks.
Silence, Respect, Sharing
To build a connect to anything or anyone, and to have a relationship sustained in the long run, we need three elements: silence, respect and sharing.
These are also the lessons that relationships teach us, and this is their higher purpose as they are a way for us to deepen into understanding and compassion, to grow and become hopefully better people, and to settle into a more harmonious union with all around us.
Relationships teach us silence. Silence enables us to listen and to experience the relationship as it truly is. It enables us to know when to speak and act for the greatest benefit. Relationships also teach us respect for other lives, and to only take that, which is truly needed. Relationships also teach us sharing. They teach us how to live in the world with one another.
Silence allows us to listen. Through intentional listening, we open ourselves to allow another’s inner world to unveil so that we can hopefully understand it. And even if we can’t understand it, we will at least be more open to it, and attentive to it. Paying attention is the most important ingredient to love. Often times in relationships people give to their partner not what their partner truly needs to feel supported, but what they themselves want in turn or what they think the other needs. We need to be willing to listen, and learn to listen, and learn to hear what the other actually needs. Listening is a skill, it’s an art. It’s a humility to receive even that which challenges our own narratives, and respond with compassion. Silence allows for an opening, and it is an opportunity for a deepening.
Silence also allows us to learn patience. Patience is the mark of truest love. Patience opens the soul of matter. And along the wild lands that we walk, we need a patience and kindness of rhythm. We often learn most in life through silence than in books – in the tending to and caring for another person. Devotion is the veil through the which awareness shows its beautiful face.
Next comes respect, and without respect you cannot have a truly intimate and long lasting relationship. Silence is the openness and willingness for another to speak to us, and respect is what builds the trust so that they will open to us and speak to us. Essentially, respect is about trust, and intimacy is based upon trust.
There are four main things that will always lead to the end of relationships, and these are: 1. indifference (being self centered and losing interest to put in the effort), 2. neglect (everything gets priority except your partner), 3. aggression or violence (or any form of abuse including verbal and emotional, all of which essentially stem from disrespect), and 4. contempt (negating, devaluing, treating someone as less than, worthless or not deserving of affection, and deserving your scorn, vengeance and being resentful towards them).
As you can see, all of these begin from a space of disrespect. Once we lose respect for another’s feelings, emotions, perspectives, essence of being, and privacy of them and the relationship – we open the door to behaviours which are harmful. We may begin to be dishonest, disloyal, unfaithful, self-centered, resentful, passive and lazy, prideful, and on and on and on. You can’t come back from betraying someone’s heart and trust in you.
Respect requires of us a level of self-awareness, responsibility and self-accountability; as well as integrity. It is a willingness to put in the effort, and a responsibility to protect another’s heart and the privacy of their world, and the privacy of the relationship and our home. Respect is about trust. Without trust, there is nothing.
And then comes the third element – sharing. Once we are open to them and their heart, and they are open to ours, we begin to build the bridge of connection. That bridge is what joins us, and it should be strengthened and sustained by love, trust and fidelity. As any bridge, it needs tending to consistently, otherwise cracks will eventually break it.
The bridge essentially connects your hearts together, and paves the path for deeper intimacy and true bonding. Sharing also carries within itself gratitude. When we are grateful for one another, we show appreciation and don’t take each other for granted. Courting and romancing each other should never stop just because you’ve tied the knots.
Sharing is also about inter-exchange, because all relationships are based upon inter-dependence. We all need to feel needed by our partner, and we all need to feel like we can offer them something, which will make their life or day better, even if it is a small gesture or making them laugh. Love is often in the every day gestures and words along the circling staircases of ordinary life. No gesture is too small, and no human is too high to not be able to kneel and help another person or animal. Sometimes the greatest love stories start from the seemingly smallest of gestures.
Love is not a stone, love is like bread – it needs to be made and remade each morning, made anew.
Sharing is communication as well, and it is emotional sharing. To have a stable relationship you need to provide one another with stability, which is emotional stability also – there is no place for doubts on intentions, nor doubts on how you feel; there is no place for questions like “does he like me or not, what are his intentions” – relationships are about clarity, and intimacy is built upon vulnerability and willingness to open your heart to another person.
It is also about knowing that you can rely on your partner, and essentially – trust them with your life. When you feel sad, down, sick – can they be there for you? Do they protect your voice and home of heart? Do they stand up for you in front of other people? Do they have your back? How do they care for you, support you, hold you? Relationships are a two way street you’ve heard many times before – and this is what the bridge is – it is the connection between your worlds, in order to build a common world, a home, a hearth with loving fires that will warm you.
And through hands sharing, hand reaching towards another’s hand, hand knowing how to hold on holding strong, we build the bridge of love that becomes us.
For more of my writings, browse through my Art of Love.
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Cover art by Ron Hicks.