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We are changing. So it makes sense that our relationships are changing too. Perhaps it’s time to reassess what a relationship is and how it works. Maybe it’s time to shift the relationship paradigm. That is, to redefine what a relationship is and what we expect from them. Three years ago, Sally* separated from her husband of 20 years. They share two children. They found it more beneficial to live together, but not be together and it’s working for them.
I once read that there were 48 different types of family structures, so at what point did the nuclear family become the ideal? Of course it would be wonderful if children could grow up in a loving, supportive environment with their biological parents, but the reality is that family is more than just biology. The amazing children that are coming out of gay parentage, divorce and the fact that we don’t even question children of mixed racial heritage anymore is a testament to how far we as a society have changed the paradigm around relationships. It is changing and has been changing for some time now.
For many years I kept looking for the married-with-children-and-living-in-the-suburbs without ever questioning if it was what I wanted. I never asked WHY I wanted this paradigm, I guess I had been sold the perfect family through the media images of love, romance and white picket fences. I suppose also the influence of the Christian beliefs about marriage established many of our traditions that we associate with love and marriage in English-based countries. In many cultures marriage traditionally was seen as contract, often between families over land. In-fact, my marriage in Egypt, I paid for my own dowry! There was still a financial contract and it was lust-driven and animalistic and not conscious in any way.
But now, I look at that ideal I had and think how very droll and boring that must be to be in a life with no challenges, no spiritual growth and just going through the motions! I’m sure that some people experience this paradigm and are very happy with it and I’m more than happy for them, but I’m glad I chose the tough path. I have experienced what I needed to and I’m okay with that. I have experienced an emotionally abusive relationship, I have experienced a heartbreak that I thought that I would die from and I have single-handedly raised three amazing daughters while working, studying and holding myself together – at times not being able to feed us. For all of these experiences, I wouldn’t change a thing. I am stronger. I am powerful and I am a wild woman. I know who I am and what I want now in relationship…and I want a co-consciously created connection with another human being. Perhaps that’s what I’ve always wanted. Jeff Brown says it best when he calls it a Loveship, where there is a “shared willingness to become conscious.”
I think the keys to this new paradigm for me is that a sense that my partner is my best friend who I want to have mind-blowing sex with and touch at every available opportunity! I have called this new paradigm The Relationship Pot and it is a live work in progress for me. The Relationship Pot came about because of the realisation of the importance of each of the individuals in a relationship and what each can bring to and take from the relationship. The basic premise is that there are three relationships in every relationship; the individuals’ relationship with themselves, their passions, dreams and life, the partners’ relationship with themselves, their passions, dreams and life and an acknowledgement of each other’s need for autonomy and nurturing that and the Relationship Pot itself which has an equal amount going in and out of it by each partner.
There is no room in the Relationship Pot for children, families of birth, other people’s opinions about your relationship, careers or money – they are other relationships that the individual (you and your partner) have with others. The Relationship Pot is solely for the two people within the relationship with at its core the soul connection between the partners. It consists of such things as shared interests, honesty, loyalty, absolute trust, communication, caring, unconditional love, attention, affection, sexuality, time (alone time, together time and family time), allowingness and other things that you and your partner negotiate. There will be nothing missing from the relationship. It is all there. Each partner will be allowed autonomy and this is nurtured from each partner and each partner has a freedom within the relationship to be themselves.
We use too many words to describe what is essentially indescribable, at the end of the day we are souls interacting with feeling. I want a relationship that transcends any stereotype or box that we want to classify it into. But that’s the best bit; we can define our relationship however we want. We can live together, or we choose not to, we can get married in the traditional sense, or we may choose not to. Those details are truly insignificant. What is significant is the fact that we connect with each other on all levels, that we give each other space for autonomy and passions/interests, that we come together in love and honour each other’s soul’s development and growth with compassion, patience and support; to be that best friend who is always there, to walk the path together and helping one another to grow and evolve.
The keys to success with the Relationship Pot:
1. Allow each other’s autonomy and celebrate it. If your partner has an interest that doesn’t work for you, by all means have a go, but be honest if it doesn’t work for you. Similarly support their interests, it makes life much more interesting if you are not with each other 24/7.
2. Contribute what you can and value and treasure your partner’s contributions – whatever they are. Gratitude is the key to attracting more of what you want.
3. Focus issues on the Pot, not the other person. That is, address the behaviour or the problem, not the person. If your partner is struggling, be there for them. You don’t have to solve their problems and if they can’t be there for you for whatever reason, be strong enough to rely on yourself and your own divinity, hold strong in who you are.
So, to help you, I’ve put together some questions to help you co-consciously create a relationship for you.
1. Who am I and what are my dreams, passions?
2. What can I contribute to the relationship pot, what skills, qualities do I have?
3. What does my partner contribute and how can I value my partner’s contributions more?
4. What vision do I have for the pot?
5. What dreams do I have that I want to share with my partner?
6. What dreams of his/hers am I willing to share and be part of?
If my partner and I ever choose to have a commitment ceremony as a part of our soul’s growth, this quote by Kahlil Gibran sums up how I feel about relationships in the new paradigm:
“But let there be spaces in your togetherness
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another but make not a bond of love,
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.”
Relationships are not holding onto someone for so long that you suffocate them or you yourself die a little inside by not being authentically you. It’s about appreciation and acceptance. I’ll leave it to Osho to finish:
“If you love a flower, don’t pick it up. Because if you pick it up it dies and ceases to be what you love. So if you love a flower, let it be. Love is not about possession. Love is about appreciation.”
In love, as always.
Note: I should trademark “The Relationship Pot”, but the reality is, this was published on August 28, 2015 on alyssacurtayne.com and it was a concept given by spirit, so it belongs to all of us.
©2015 Alyssa Curtayne
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