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Through Thick And Thin

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WHAT MAKES A RELATIONSHIP WORK

When you think of relationships that work, really, really work, whose do you think of? Not just the ones that manage to stay together, but the ones that are ever growing and expanding, romantic and intimate. It's likely that not many come to mind.

What is it about that relationship that makes it endure through thick and thin? Because, thick and thin are going to happen. What it is it about a relationship that makes it last?

Those relationships that make it through the tests of time, that make it through the ups and down of life, from arguments, loss of jobs, money problems, teenagers, midlife crisis, health issues, and mothers-in-laws, to boot, are built on an integral strength that is based on real connection.

Real connection and chemistry look a lot alike, but they are not the same. And, yes, most often they will both be there. But there is a distinction between these qualities of love. Real connection is beyond chemistry. It is more like recognition. When you meet, it feels like you already know each other. Like you always have. You could be opposites in every way, culturally, religiously, philosophically, and still, that recognition is there.

Real connection can include chemistry but is not dependent on chemistry. Chemistry does not, of itself, equal connection -- or longevity. Without a heart connection it will be short-lived or forced. Sometimes we try to jam chemistry into the slot of real connection, and this can become a heavy woe. Trust that you will know the difference, because there is a difference, and you can feel it.

It's not something that will escape you, or that you might miss, or that is illusive. It's right there in the forefront - and very different than chemistry by itself. Real connection has a force to it, a rightness that is undeniable. It has a mandate about it. It's like a cosmic instruction: "You two are one." There is no doubt, there is no unsureness, and you will both know it.

From a spiritual perspective, real connection, is an authentic, undeniable, mutual connection built on real appreciation and respect for each other. Real connection is when we instinctively turn to each other, rather than to someone else. It is not a compromise or a settling. And, it's not that "I can't live without you," it's rather, "I don't want to live without you." It's a relationship where who you are when you are not even trying is exactly what your partner loves about you. And vice-versa!

Of course, this doesn't mean everything in every moment is perfect. It just means that at its heart, there is a real regard, even admiration for each other that is core to the relationship. It doesn't need to be manufactured or forced. It's just there. It's like a love safety net.

Relationships will test everything we are, individually, and as a couple. But they also can heal old wounds, and break our hearts open to deeper and more profound levels of love.

Ultimately, time really will tell. For real love will grow you, and show you what real togetherness is.

It's the little things, you know. The kindnesses, the forgivenesses. It is the mutual understanding and genuine affection for each other. It is being proud of each other, attracted to each, and at the end of the day, confiding in each other. It is about being able to truly be yourself, and that's WHY your partner loves you.

Our relationship can teach us how to love, right through our confusion or our doubt. We can love each other right through our feelings of unlovability or broken hearts. Out of love for each other our relationship can teach us how to be the most sensitive listener, the consummate lover, the most compassionate forgiver. And all these things are tested -- conversation by conversation, interaction by interaction. All built on the mindful, loving understanding, that by working through our disconnection, we are creating a deeper and more lasting connection. This connection then becomes strong -- really strong, bonded by trust, bonded by forgiveness. Your love becomes forged by experience like steel.

It is all those little moments of holding hands under the table at the restaurant, having secret communications where not a word is uttered... but the other one knows. This is real love, and this kind of love is worth waiting for if you don't have it, and building towards if you do.

Diana Lang is a spiritual teacher and author of
OPENING TO MEDITATION - www.DianaLang.com