“Two souls with but a single thought, two hearts that beat as one” – John Keats
Early next month I am getting married, so it seemed appropriate to explore what it really means to form such a committed relationship to another person. This is my second time around and I do believe I have learnt a great deal from the painful experience of the divorce I went through ten years ago. In fact it was the learning from that experience that caused me to create my website and this newsletter. Nevertheless, as my big day approaches I find myself getting nervous. It is these fears that I want to look at and see what lies underneath them.
As I ‘lean into’ the fear I can sense that I am afraid of failing once again in marriage. On the surface are all the practical details of bringing two families and homes together with a lot of children to support, but deeper there is something else that is much harder to grasp. In retrospect I can see that my first marriage failed because I wasn’t being authentic – I was living a controlled and controlling existence. I was trying to love from the head rather than the heart. This time around I seem to be much more aware of that trap and do my best to keep my heart open, but I am still afraid that I will close down again and lose my connection with my partner. At a deeper level of my mind I doubt that I can maintain the feelings of love that I have at the moment through the challenges and changes that we must all face as we grow older. Perhaps it is a lot to ask of any of us to love one person, come what may.
That is the fearful, ego-based part of my mind speaking, but I do know it is important to acknowledge our fears and bring our feelings into the open. Left hidden in our minds they eat away at our happiness and the quality of our relationships. I also know that the way through this doubt is to commit to our partners over and over again. I am blessed with a wonderful fiancée – she has everything a man could ever dream for in a woman and she shares my desire for self and spiritual development. Of course she has her own fears and needs and it is these that I am called to help her with – not by trying to fix all her problems but by not judging her and helping her to find her own healing. This goes way beyond psychology and is, I believe, the essence of love. It is about me being able to see the ’true her’ beneath any pain or negativity that she carries. It is about me seeing the grace, innocence and beauty that lies within her – at the good times and also when things are more difficult.
I also know (and this is the hard bit!) that what stops me from seeing only love in my partner is my own insecurities and negative self-beliefs. A relationship is always going to throw up challenges and I am going to commit to my partner and my own healing and development. That means being truly accountable for what I create in the relationship.
When I was much younger I used to think that love was something I had to be given – that I had to get from somebody else. Now I know that love just is – it’s who we are – if only we could get rid of the barriers that stop it showing up in our lives. I am convinced that we come together with our partners to make that healing journey possible. Any fear that I am feeling as the wedding approaches is my fear of taking the steps that I need to on that journey. Ultimately it is a fear of having it all... of love itself. I must remember this today, next week and throughout our marriage.
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