Relationships - Advanced Personal Growth

Successful relationships engender communication in ways that invite each partner to have value and voice.

relationships Couples

Take heart in what Tomo Geshe Rimpoche, a well-known Buddhist master once said, "Every human personality has its shortcomings, and so long as we are engaged in observing the imperfections of others we deprive ourselves of the opportunities of learning from them." 

Couples who are successful in their partnership make a point of communicating with each other in ways that invite each partner to have value and voice. Most importantly, the communication succeeds because each partner takes responsibility and speaks their truth, which strengthens their connection, but it requires regular nurturing.

Making It Work - Sometimes Takes Work

There is no substitute for the focused work involved in good relating; it requires commitment. Knowledge of your strengths and weaknesses are invaluable in making a partnership work. Successful connections are where both partners continually deepen their understanding of themselves, and each other.

Knowing your Enneagram personality type, and that of your partner is a great way to grow your desired outcome. A greater sense of ease, understanding and compassion can be experienced when one learns the underlying motivations of each personality type.

Most individuals were emotionally damaged during childhood, and thereby developed defense mechanisms to protect themselves. Most of us know being in partnership brings up our insecurities, and it is for this reason why relationships are referred to as an advanced path for personal growth.

Heart relationships

Relationships pave the way for deeper personal growth, but too often our resistance to that personal growth comes in the form of a defense. Couples stand a greater chance of success with the counsel of an experienced personal growth counselor. It's better to get help earlier before both partners are constantly on the defense.

Ironically, a relationship often begins with a great sense of awe, and "in-loveness." When we fall in love both partners have the feelings of being understood, seen, or felt, which translates into these wonderful feelings of being "in love." Given the fixations of our defense strategies, it doesn't take too long before both partners fall back into their old ruts of their personality type and suddenly things take on the opposite quality of love.

Loving Connections

Married couple relationships

For example, one day you are feeling a connection with your partner, it makes you feel good about yourself, and you have the sense of being in love. The next day, your partner makes an innocent gesture or comment and suddenly you feel the need to defend against that gesture or comment, and the love is in question.

The essential beauty and love you were experiencing from your partner the day before has not changed; it's still there. However, the innocent gesture or comment triggered an unhealed part of your past relationships (often parents), and your automatic response to that tenderness is defensiveness, which is resistance to grow beyond that hurt into a healthier connection.

Partnership struggles in part due to a cultural ignorance that believes "love" should be enough. The problem is culture doesn't know what "love" is, really. Most couples have based their connection on superficial aspects -- money, beauty, status of some kind, etc. Relationships are not to blame when based on such transient aspects such as these. Whole "love" is absolutely enough because it is based on loving the whole person, not just their money, or their body or their position in life.