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How to Keep Your Spiritual Wits About You in a Romantic Relationship

    Romantic love is not for the weak of heart. It is exhilarating and terrifying all at the same time. It is here that we hopefully have our most emotionally and sexually intimate moments with another human being. It is here that our most painful emotional wounds eventually surface in order to be exorcised. And it is here that we most deeply get to know ourselves.

    There are millions of books out there on different ways to attract your soul mate and how to make them not run for the hills once he/she gets there. I�ve read them in my search for that elusive key to unlock the mysteries of romance, and I will tell you that manipulation and control never create a meaningful and lasting relationship, and they certainly will not bring you peace. So what does?

    Well, I am still not so sure. Actually, this article is a compilation of my experience of what works and what doesn't work in the world of love, at least for me. Love is a tough nut to crack. There are always new mountains to climb and valleys to transverse. It�s a never-ending learning process.

    I do not believe that there is an exact recipe for success for romantic relationships that fits every human being, as we are all very different. But, I do believe that there are several key factors that help keep human beings centered when they are brave enough to enter into a relationship.

    In no particular order, I present them to you below:

    ~Practice Self-Acceptance~ Nobody is perfect. As human beings we have many different pieces that make up the entire puzzle of who we are. It is imperative that we explore the different aspects of our personalities: the good, the bad, and the ugly, in order to come to understand and have compassion for ourselves, so we can fully experience real love.

    Relationships are the great mirrors to our souls. Our "stuff" will always be reflected back to us through our intimate partners. Soul mates push buttons. If there are things about ourselves that we do not accept, we cannot expect our intimate partners to accept them either. It�s spiritually impossible. There are so many rewards that come with self-acceptance, one of them being less emotional walls to scale in a relationship, which means there will be much more positive energy circulating within the partnership.

    ~Focus on Your Essence~ There is a lot of pressure in society today to look and be a certain way. Having the body of a Victoria Secret�s model, a big paycheck, a high-class car, designer clothes, etc�are not the things of which an authentic relationship are built. They might be attractive and enticing, but they have no long-term staying power if you want the real thing.

    We fall in love with each other�s essence. Your essence is an intangible item that is not of this world. It is very powerful and at it�s core, always beautiful. It is your soul.

    When you focus on your essence, you begin to realize that you don�t have to be or look a certain way, or have the best toys, to be the most magnetic person in the room. When you focus on your essence you are less likely to forget who you are, as many of us do, when you begin to fall in love with someone. This keeps the dynamics of the relationship much more interesting and positive. You don't lose you.

    ~Think Open Hand/Open Heart~ In simple terms: do not try to control your partner or the outcome of the relationship. This is tough, as we all have a picture in our minds of the way we think things are "supposed" to be, and can get pretty nasty and insecure when they start looking differently.

    Control is a major issue in many relationships. It is very scary to take your hands off the wheel when you have an emotional investment in a relationship, but it is imperative to do so. Trying to control your relationship will most likely elicit the exact opposite response of what you would like to happen in the first place. Intuitively we know this, yet we do it anyway. We just can�t seem to help ourselves, but we must! I am speaking from experience. This is where my wounds surface with a vengeance.

    When I find myself wallowing in this dark place now, I tell myself to think "open hand/open heart." This means no clutching, emotionally or physically.

    I visualize the essence of the relationship as a room and in this room is a door and several windows. In an unhealthy relationship, the doors and the windows are closed tightly. No air is circulating, and eventually the people in the room (relationship) either emotionally die or break one of the windows to run for the hills in order to be free.

    A healthy relationship keeps the doors and windows wide open. Plenty of air is circulating and no one feels trapped. Relationships thrive in this environment. Keep your doors and windows open. If the person is meant to be in your life, all the open doors and windows in the world, will not make them leave. Trust that truth.

    ~Have Other Passions Besides Him/Her~ Nothing will suck the life out of romance then having no other interests in this world other then your mate.

    Get a hobby! Do the things you love to do. By nurturing yourself, you will have more to give your partner. Learn to play golf, play your favorite sport, write a book, take up tennis, go back to school, or read a new book. Just do something other then focusing on the relationship. In other words, get a life!

    ~Go for Friendship�See his/her Soul~ Sexual chemistry is an amazing phenomenon as far as I am concerned. It is wonderful, fabulous, incredibly important, and all those sorts of things, but it will not sustain a relationship forever.

    Love changes over time. The initial hot passion you might feel for a person at the beginning of a relationship will mellow out over time and be replaced by something much more magnificent.

    Being true friends with your intimate partner enriches all facets of the relationship, including sex. When you look at your partner, try to see beyond the physical and peer into his/her soul. Connect with them on a soul level, and you will find that communication will flow more freely, and the trust level between you will increase. Most importantly you will build your relationship on the most solid foundation that exists in the universe today...friendship.

    ~Love Lives Inside Of You! Nothing Outside Yourself Will Bring You Happiness~ You and only you are responsible for your happiness. Many times we unconsciously seek a romantic relationship to fill the empty spaces in our lives and hearts. This never works. In fact, we end up setting ourselves up for major disappointment when we come from this empty place.

    No one, no matter how wonderful they are, can meet all of our expectations at every moment of every day. It is impossible. So what are we to do?

    Stop looking for love in all the wrong places! Love lives inside of you. If you rely on yourself to fill the empty spaces, you will take a lot of pressure off of your spouse, which in turn can only enhance the relationship.

    Fill the empty spaces in your heart. Love yourself. Accept yourself. Comfort yourself. Be what you are seeking to find. Be whole on your own, and then share that wholeness with your partner.

    ~Live in the Moment~ Hold a vision for your relationship, but be flexible. When you are spending time with your partner�spend time with your partner. Many times we allow our minds to be off in the distant uncertain future somewhere, wondering what is going to happen with the relationship six months, one year or five years from now, instead of enjoying the present moment. This frame of mind breeds insecurity, In the song All the Way, one of my favorite Frank Sinatra tunes, Frank sings, "who knows where the road may lead us, only a fool would say." Listen to Frank. Don't worry about where the road may lead, just be present for the trip.

    We must have faith that the universe knows what it is doing. Let go and enjoy the journey, knowing that wherever you end up will be the perfect place.

    ~Walk Through Your Wounds When They Surface~ There is nothing like an intimate relationship to push your hot buttons. A true mate will bring your issues to the surface for sure. As uncomfortable as this is, it is actually a wonderful thing. If fact, if you are with someone, that doesn�t make your insecurities rise to the surface from time to time, I�d be concerned. It�s not natural. People say that love should be easy, but let�s face it, it is not easy by any stretch of the imagination.

    When these wounded moments arrive, as they surely will, try to see the situation as an opportunity to release the things that have held you back in the past. Name what you are feeling when your wounds surface. Fear of vulnerability, fear of intimacy, fear of rejection, and fear of abandonment, come up for most of us at one time or another. This is part of being human and nothing that we should be avoiding. If we avoid processing the feelings, we will never get past them.

    Once you know what the wound is, walk right through it. Walk through your fear of being close to someone. Just acknowledge it�s presence and keep on moving forward. Don�t shrink back from the uncomfortable emotions. Once you allow yourself to walk through the wounds, you will see that you are strong enough to endure them, and they will lose their power over you.

    ~Practice the Golden Rule~ How many times did we hear from our parents when we were growing up recite the Golden Rule? "Do unto others, as you would like to have done to you." Makes sense doesn�t it? But yet we do not always practice it, particularly when it comes to our romantic partners.

    Think about the other person. Think about their feelings, their history, their wounds, and their visions, besides your own. Do things in the spirit of love, forgiveness, and understanding.

    ~Get A Daily Dose Of Spirit~ In the past, I�ve been most likely to throw my spiritual values out the window when I got romantically involved with someone. I wanted to do it my way, not God�s way. His way after all, might mean the relationship wouldn�t fit the mold of what I thought it should be.

    I�ve learned to do things differently recently. My spiritual life comes first. This key helps all the other key principles mentioned above work in sync together. Believing in a power that is bigger then yourself and believing that this universe is perfect, no matter how terrible it may look at times, will help make inner peace a regular part of your daily experience. Peace will prevail in life and relationships, instead of fear. Definitely something exciting to strive for. Conclusion:

    Whew! Love sure is challenging. In fact, many of us may wonder if it is worth it at times, especially after most of us have experienced painful breakups and/or divorces at one time or another. It is difficult enough to navigate around our own emotions & experiences, none the less navigate around someone else's. But as the saying goes, "good things never come easy", and love is the best of all things.

    Connections with other human beings, particularly our most intimate of relationships, is the true substance of life. In the end, it is what really matters. I don�t' believe we are born into this world just to run scared from love, wear nice clothes, and pay our bills on time. There's just got to be more.

    We are meant to experience the fullness of life, including romantic relationships, and we are born wired with the ability to do so. Believe in your ability to navigate the challenging terrains of romantic relationships. We all just need to find the courage to swim in the mystery of it all, to let go, and to love.

    � Kerry Cannava


    Embracing Your Spirit