In order to experience the kind of peace filled and passionate relationships we describe, it is necessary to go through a transformation. But what do we mean by this kind of transformation and how do you get there?
It is an experience that, however subtly, actually changes your viewpoint. Unlike many methods that involve extended processes, it is experienced as happening quickly, almost instantaneously, and creates a sense of something totally new. It seems magical in its essence of “now you do it, now you don’t.” We are not really speaking of magic, however, but something which is more familiar to most of us than we think.
You’ve surely had the experience of puzzling over a crossword clue, then suddenly getting it – and after that, it’s obvious and stays obvious. You can’t erase the letters and forget the answer. Your understanding of life, the world and yourself proceeds like that, too. Once you learn to swim or walk or ride a bike, there’s no going back. And it’s the same for relationships. The lessons you learn about how to treat people endure.
We, Maude and Phil, live a conflict-free relationship which starts by applying one simple idea – that we don’t try to control each other in any way – and the freedom that this gives to each of us creates a completely different quality of relationship. (Of course, this only works when your core values match both in actions and words.)
You can have this too, as soon as you grok the idea. In other words, you must understand it viscerally, not just intellectually. We’re not denying the truths of psychotherapy, that we have all been bent out of shape by the travails of our lives, and we must dig into the past to understand and straighten it out. But it is also the case that what is past is past. The facts of your present behavior are more important than the reasons for it, and that is the place to start. Being present is the exit door from your past.
The most critical component of a transformed relationship is that it is rooted in the present. The present is what is actually happening in the moments being lived, and is being experienced for what it actually is, as opposed to a rerun of a previous experience, be it in an old relationship, something that happened as a child, or any other occurrence which is not the exchange of the present moment.
To experience this kind of presence, requires a number of factors. The most important of these is a sense of safety within the relationship. To feel completely safe within your relationship, both partners have to be dedicated to full acceptance of the other person as a complete and separate individual. This kind of full acceptance comes with a commitment and intention to support each other and further each other’s growth. It is the kind of acceptance that allows the replacement of fear with peace, confidence, and most of all love.
Being present in your relationship requires:
- matching core values
- no attempts at control by either partner
- a sense of safety within the relationship
- exchanging fear for love
- acceptance of each other
- full support of each partner’s growth and well-being
Even when all the important factors are there, there is still one component that is critical to experiencing this kind of transformation and living in the present that we are discussing. The simple truth is that in order to transform your relationship, you need to transform yourself. As Connie Chapman says in her workshop Transforming Your Relationship, “ultimately, everything we are learning about our relationships with others, is happening for the purpose of helping us learn about ourselves.” When two partners are both willing to undergo a true transformation, then amazing things become possible.