Sustaining Healthy Growth In Relationships

May 28, 2010
Anne Rice

Maui Vision Magazine – Dec-Jan ’09

Of any quality or state of being, integrity is the most essential in long-term relationships. Without it, the soil of the relationship is unable to sustain healthy growth and renewed life after seasons of challenge. When the ground of relationship has been tilled and fed nutrients, the ability to grow a rich, fulfilling, long-lasting relationship is virtually guaranteed. The problem is that the one basic element within this foundation of integrity is something that might not sound as exciting as terms like “manifestation!” and “co-creation of divine relationship!” However, it really is the same thing on a grassroots level.

Unfortunately for those looking for the “never a dull moment” approach, it wont provide the compulsive drama of a good argument filled with blame and finger pointing! However, it is a vital ingredient to relationships and spiritual growth and absolutely essential if we are to find depth in communication. So, as dull as the term sounds, and as un-fun as you might imagine it to be, the one essential ingredient to sustaining healthy relationships is:  “Self-Responsibility”.

Believe it or not, the actual act of self-responsibility is a very fresh approach. I have found it to be, as the basis for my marriage and close friendships, such an enlivening, deepening and intimate way of relating. There are no limits to the joy and love and play that spontaneously take over when there is nothing to hide. What could be more exciting than stepping out of an old cycle and seeing it through new eyes? What’s more enlivening than finding liberation from our emotional habits? What’s more joyful than seeing each other so deeply that the conflicts easily find their place as just symptoms alerting us of a way to get closer?

The symptoms that present themselves can feel cumbersome at first, until we find the way to deeper connection through them. They often express themselves as patterns of withdrawing, dominating or submitting with many variations of the three. Even though many on the path have reached great spiritual heights and become intuitive, loving, high minded people, most of us can still get snagged by the blame, judgment and negativity that come from these patterns.

These very human reactions can exist in tandem with a very loving, spiritual nature. It’s not something to judge, but to be aware of, love ourselves through and use to deepen into the garden of our hearts. We have both humanity and divinity. The more we bridge the two, the more integrated and connected we can become.

How is this done? By honestly and compassionately, from the truth of our love for each other, choosing to look at how each unknowingly contributes to the pattern of conflict. From your committment to each other, choose not to stop in blame and instead to get to the heart of the issue. From the ego, it might appear that the other is fully to blame. We’ve all seen things this way. How much time, in the history of humanity has been spent proving innocent victimhood in any given situation? This impulse creates the divide in relationships (and between warring countries).

The moment of conflict is ripe and rich, the soil that is ready for planting. Going deep inside, being completely self honest and humble is the first stage of new growth.  Introspection over reaction = deeper connection. The basic truth is that both people in the relationship play a part, either subtle or overt. When we hold ourselves accountable, drawing attention inward and refraining from blame, we embark on the real work of disentangling our egos from the inside.

We can start by gently asking ourselves:

  1. How am I inviting this kind of insult or neglect into my life?
  2. What did I do that was not respectful or conscious?
  3. How is this situation mirroring how I treat myself and, especially, what I believe about myself?
  4. And finally, what form of love do I need to open to for healing?

When both partners get to the bottom of their own patterns, there is more room for love and respect. Over time, with humble, loving attention, relationship patterns begin to dissolve. The ongoing commitment to self honesty eventually leads to self-containment, or integrity. A whole, contained state of being exudes love, releases separation and bridges hearts. This brings life to the garden of your relationship in ways that are surprising, enriching and nourishing to you both. The humble beginnings of tilled earth and tiny seeds will grow into the vibrant abundance of color that is ready to bloom in your relationship, when you look inside rather than out. It’s worth the time and commitment!