Never in the history of mankind has so much been expected of love relationships as today.
In the past the union between a man and a woman provided economic security, social prestige, children and family.We currently also expect love, desire, companionship, and that our partner be our best friend, confidant and passionate lover.How can a relationship survive under the weight of so many expectations?
We live in a society where postings on social networks drive us to compare our day to day with people that seem happier than us; where the pursuit of happiness is mostly guided by the media and the urge for instant gratification. Even finding a new partner is made enticing by internet dating.
In the modern couple intimacy is considered the merging of two individuals to create a new monolithic entity, where transparency is a right, not a privilege earned. The need to connect with ourselves maintaining some healthy psychological distance is hardly ever taken into consideration.
In our efforts to connect and be seen we lose sight of the independence of the other person. This can become very threatening if we are pouring our sense of existential loneliness on our partner. In a conscious relationship we know that there is no assurance that we won’t be left, this should be an incentive to behave in an attractive way and maintain the seduction through time.
A vibrant sexuality is also expected, without taking into account such important things like how desire is linked to self-esteem, to deserve, to our ability and that of our partners to give, receive, take and reject. Why would our life be different in the bedroom than in the outside world?
Very rarely do we hear anything about commitment, tolerance, and respect for the other’s personal space. Or the value of a shared life where we raise children together, burry parents, create a home, overcome financial difficulties and sometimes even life threatening diseases.
The future of love relationships seem to be based on flexibility, in replacing the traditional model by one who takes difficulties as an opportunity for growth and transformation. When a conflict arises very few times we take the opportunity to ask what is happening to me, more often we quickly blame somebody else or the circumstances.Why not instead try to express the best of us, being aware, compassionate, wise, brave, and owners of our behavior.Then the relationship becomes a journey of personal growth, which can deepen the connection with ourselves and our loved one while expanding the sense of who we are.
In Chinese medicine love relationships are linked to the fire element and its officers, mainly the heart and pericardium. The energy of the pericardium unifies the spiritual love that resides in the heart with the sexual energy governed by the liver and kidneys. A healthy intimacy is based on the proper functioning of these energies; they also regulate boundaries and the relationship of the heart with the outside world.
Our true nature resides in our heart, by getting to know it we can experiment real intimacy with others.
Esther Perel. A More Perfect Union, The Sun Magazine, December 2013
John Welwood, Journey of the Heart
Lonny Jarrett, LAc. Nourishing Destiny
Leon Hammer, MD.Dragon Rises & Red Bird Flies