What happens in love relationships is not an accident or the other person’s fault.
Lest you think that my soulmate-earthmate relationship with my husband Dr. Craig Weiner is always perfect and devoid of any conflict, think again.
Last week I was driving back from a client’s home on the main drag of the island where we live. As I passed the hardware store I noticed that the car that had not come to a complete stop in front of me was none other than my husband’s. I have a relatively new car and that might have explained why he hadn’t noticed it was me. Instead of using my car phone to ring him up, I just got behind him and followed him back to our town. Synchronistic events like this one happen to us all the time and with a smile on my face thinking he’d notice me eventually, I just kept following him.
In the 5 miles between the hardware store and our town Craig rolled through a total of 3 more stop signs. Mind you these weren’t barreling through an intersection without looking traffic infractions, but more like the sort of thing many people do – he’d slow down enough to look around but not come to a complete stop. This is very different from how I approach a stop sign. In my mind I need to apply the brakes until I stop completely before moving ahead. I don’t remember now if that’s a result of having been ticketed in my early twenties or because that’s the way I learned to drive.
Craig eventually turned into our town and went a different direction to get home. At this point I stopped following him and went home. As I sat there waiting for him to come home I felt a slight upset about his driving. It wasn’t really intense but it grabbed my attention. The next thing I did was ask myself how I am like that, how do I do things in a careless manner maybe not so much with driving. The answer came immediately, I also am at times a distracted driver. I was able to see the humor and by the time Craig got home the incident on the road home was nothing more than a funny story.
What happens to upset you about your partner’s behavior, words or actions is never an accident. Every struggle in all relationships is an opportunity to deepen intimacy. I read a study a while back (I’ll cite it properly once I find it again) that surveyed three different types of 30 year marriages : one in which the partners had been friends first, another where the partners had dated a long time before they committed, and a group of people who had immediately fallen in love. The group that had immediately fallen in love were the ones that the study found were still intimate, felt deeply connected, and reported the highest degree of marital satisfaction.
Another fact about this last group was that these weren’t the folks that disagreed the least! These couple did indeed argue and disagree however the biggest difference was that when they disagreed they worked through it- they didn’t run away, they didn’t leave the room, they didn’t attack or lash out against the other person. It turns out that working through a problem is the juice that’s needed for further intimacy and connection. What happens in a love relationship is not an accident or the other person’s fault. Your ability to take full responsibility will facilitate your partner being able to do the same. The knowledge that you create your own reality and that there’s no one to blame for what shows up in it can be frightening but also very empowering.
Here are ways to use these moments to heal yourself and deepen your relationships:
- List the things you don’t like about your partner
- Tap on them and be specific about events where they behaved that way
- List how you are like that in some way
- Tap on loving yourself in spite of not liking that part of you
The more you can identify what’s in your own shadow or dark side and take full responsibility for that, the less you’ll see that in other people. When that happens you’ll be truly free from the loss of personal and soul level power that comes with blaming – shaming. And your relationships will improve.