When partners recognise the requirement for balance in these two major areas of human need, intimacy and independence, closeness and separateness, a relationship has a sound base. It follows that a good relationship allows the persons involved to be totally themselves and totally present in intimacy. It is not always easy to manage the conflicting needs of closeness and space in the human psyche.
When it is working well a couple will feel able to totally let go into the relationship but not give themselves away when letting themselves into intimacy. This facilitates a move into their own wholeness as an individual and equally, moving into that wholeness in the intimacy of the couple. The “we” becomes “one” and moves between the two.
It may be a natural human tendency to struggle with this balance, holding on v’s letting go, holding back v’s giving all, but couples who take responsibility are really able to notice the part they play in withdrawing and withholding themselves from the relationship. They are able to rise to the challenge to both meet their partner as and where they are, and where their partner is, and they see their relationship as a means to growth.
We go through stages, the growth happens in the intimacy, the closeness, and then there is time for more focus on the individual growth. Then there is a coming back to the intimacy, almost like a harmonica. Couples may ask of themselves and each other: in what ways is my growth served and fed by the relationship, the intimacy, and by what I do for my individual growth? Balance between these two needs is essential for honouring the needs of individuals and relationship.
Couples with a high level of respect for each other can move between these competing needs fluidly. It is a balance between taking care of ourselves and loving ourselves and loving the other person. Responsibility entails asking what am I bringing to the other person? Am I just wanting to be filled up, completed, get my needs for approval and love met, or am I also about bringing love, respect and honour to the other person?
Managing conflict can be seen to be creative not problematic. By taking individual responsibility, each partner can look honestly at their habits and needs and look underneath to see what is perhaps less evident. For example, if one person is demanding or expecting approval from the other it can become overly onerous on the other partner. Another example is to look at the different upbringings of each partner and understand where the differences bring the challenge. Really getting to know where the other person is coming from on any issue, allowing them to be that way, and talking about it, creates a possibility for harmony and a coming together with respect, respect for the differences as well as the similarities.
When this attitude of honouring and appreciating one’s partner is evident in every aspect of the relationship, the experience of relationship can be seen as an adventure, indeed the greatest adventure there is!
If you would like some support with your relationships or creating greater happiness in your life, please contact me on 0403 814 477 for a free 10-minute consultation to discuss your needs.