I once heard the statement “your marriage will only be as healthy as the least healthy partner.” AND “what is yours, is now ours.” Your baggage is now mine and visa versa! Does that hit home for you?! That can either be good news or not so good news/sucky news!
I have been in a few relationships, especially during my dating spree of about four years after I was divorced. I was around thirty years old and I had done plenty of personal growth. In fact I had spent a few years teaching a personal growth course entitled “Understanding Yourself and Others.” It was through the Dreikurs Relationship Centers International. UYO was a weekend course that started Friday night at 7 pm and lasted about 33 hours, ending around 10 pm on Sunday night. I often taught with my ex-husband! We taught a small group of 25 people and it was incredible what we were able to accomplish during that time. People often walked out completely different. They were freer from their past which had drifted unknowingly into their present lives.
So I was no stranger to the world of personal growth. I also had a son who was about 3 years old and I knew that any long term relationship was not just for myself, but for this little one too. Plenty of good guys came into my life, a few whacky ones also. A couple of them might have been fine husbands but when I thought about any of them as a stepfather to my son, none passed that important test.
Until I met Tom. We had been friends for a few years and when he finally met Dominic for the first time in a Mexican restaurant in Boulder, he brought him a Batman toy. Dominic was 3 years old. He still remembers that. Check mark for thoughtfulness and consideration of the most important man in my life at that time, Dominic! Next check mark came in the personal growth category. Tom had spent years with Landmark Education, the evolved EST of the 80’s. He loved introspection and was open to continual evolution in that realm.
Fast forward sixteen years later. Tom is the most amazing father/stepfather/husband that I could have imagined. But here’s the deal. I went into the relationship with my eyes wide open. And I had done a lot of work on myself previous to our marriage. Sixteen years together has not come without challenges, as you can imagine and some of you know. But what I have learned is that the first gift that you give to a relationship is the pursuit of your healthy self. You need to clear out past relationships (ex’s, mother’s, father’s, uncle’s, etc) so that they aren’t in the space of the current relationship. There is no space for holding back or withholding. Don’t keep a scorecard. And ask yourself “what are my issues UNDER the issues?” Everything you ARE (consciously and unconsciously) you bring into the space of the relationship between the two of you. One thing that Tom has often said is that “it is not what you give in a relationship, but it is what you are willing to give up.” Meaning: ARE THE DIRTY SOCKS ON THE FLOOR, AND THE TOILET SEAT UP really worth getting into a stink over (no pun intended!). Give it a couple of hours and see if it’s still a deal breaker. Probably not.
It is my belief that the work never stops if you really want a powerful and spiritual journey together. One plus one does not equal two in a relationship, the third side of the triangle is the relationship itself. Water it, love it, sing to it. A great relationship is a miracle that is created, not bestowed. It is SO worth it.
let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray. -Rumi
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