In today's society, a successful relationship is usually defined by marriage, kids, a white picket fence and living happily ever after. Little girls dream of meeting their Prince Charming, getting married and nesting in a home of their very own. But is this really success? With the divorce rate at about 40 - 50 percent and the rate of marriages continuing to fall, I wonder if we're missing the point here.
For years, I was in an on and off relationship with someone I deeply loved and cared for, but the relationship never progressed to marriage. During those years of dating, people would say that we must not be "meant to be" or we wouldn't be so on and off. For a while I even bought into this theory. But what if we were "meant to be" -- just not in the sense that is accepted in today's society? Maybe we were never meant to live together or get married. Maybe our relationship was meant for our personal mental, emotional and spiritual growth.
I will admit that when the relationship finally ended for good I did go through the anger and disappointment and the "I want to egg your house, slash your tires and kick you in the nuts" feelings. Come on! We've all been there, right? Right? Yes, I did come to my senses and didn't actually do these things. But the pain of feeling abandoned, lost and alone was there -- rearing its ugly head so strong, I had no choice but to look within mySELF. Why was I feeling this way? What inside mySELF needed to be healed?
After the blinding hurt and anger subsided, I was able to look at the relationship from a higher perspective. I believe we all come to earth with a sacred spiritual contract to learn our lessons -- and a lot of those lessons come through intimate relationships. And I can tell you one thing for sure -- this relationship stretched, twisted and shifted me into an entirely different person. I'm much stronger, less dependent, more loving, forgiving, compassionate and creative than I was before the relationship. It forced me to find mySELF and be true to who I AM -- never losing my identity in the process. I experienced the true sense of "projection" as I accused him of having walls up against intimacy when I realized I too had these same walls. Surprise! I hate when that "projection thing" happens! I soooo wanted to blame HIM!
Sometimes when we finally "get it" and learn what we're supposed to learn, the relationship will be "spiritually" complete and end. This particular relationship never progressed to marriage, but I consider it "spiritually" successful because I learned so much from it.
This is not to say that for a lot of people, marriage isn't the answer for THEM. But is it the answer for everyone?
Dr. Gary Zukav, author of The Seat of the Soul, talks about how the human race is evolving and how what we have known as "marriage" -- a contract between a man and a woman where the role of the man is to provide and the role of the woman is to nurture is changing. Men are becoming more sensitive and nurturing, and women are becoming more independent and able to provide for themselves. Therefore, as Dr. Zukav states in his interview with Oprah on "Super Soul Sunday" the new relationship (or marriage is you choose to make it "legal") is a spiritual partnership where souls come together in order to grow spiritually. This theory resonates with my soul. What do you think?
I think it's time to start thinking outside the "relationship box." To look at each and every relationship as a reflection of who we are inside. More spiritual growth can be made by being in a relationship than in any other way. Love inspires us to look within ourSELVES and change for the better.
While divorce and break-ups are very painful and may drive you to the metaphorical looney-bin, maybe instead of remaining bitter, angry and resentful, it's time to look at how the relationship was a gift to our spiritual growth. What did you learn from the partnership about yourSELF that you can carry forward with you (or happily leave behind!) to the next relationship?
I challenge everyone who is still holding onto the bitterness and resentment of a break-up to not only forgive the other person involved, but to forgive themselves. It wasn't an accident that you were in each other's lives. Be grateful for the happy times and for the challenges that enabled you to grow. And MOVE FORWARD. There's another contracted spiritual relationship waiting for you around the corner. That's what I'm gonna do. (If I can just find the right corner...)
If you learned something, grew mentally, spiritually and emotionally from the relationship and can look back with love, gratitude, forgiveness and compassion -- I consider THAT a successful relationship!
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