Home Archive Prev Next

Do You Want a Peaceful Relationship? Yes, You Can Have One!

Phil and MaudePHIL: Maude and I have been together for 16 years; my half-dozen previous relationships lasted no more than three. I described this to Maude on our second date, and she thought to herself that was because I hadn’t met her.

There is a huge amount of truth in this. Read our blogs and books for why. Yet had we met 30 years earlier, we both think it would not have been the same story.

I am of two minds as to how to explain this. I consistently failed to make the transition from the drugged state of being in love to a regular relationship. I thought relationships should have the passion of 1940s black and white Hollywood movies. I wanted brains and beauty without blemishes, and when I did not find that, I left. I lacked commitment, I was told many times. I see now what a great big hole I had in me that no other person could fill, and every separation was immensely painful because my neediness was again fully exposed.

And yet there was a marriage in all this, and a real commitment there, enough to make me move 5,000 miles from one of the great cities of the world and not yearn to go back. The union fell to pieces for a number of reasons, yet it stands in contrast to my other involvements.

I draw several conclusions from this history. A hole like the one that was in me and that I have seen in many other people is corrosive in relationships but can heal with time. For me, I think that time, therapy and zen all helped to make me comfortable with myself. As this self-acceptance developed, I was able to change my focus from what was missing to what was present, and by changing what I looked at, my reality changed, too. It is also likely that the passage of time has quieted the hormones rampaging through my arteries and demanding attention. Lastly, as Maude thought, I hadn’t yet met her. I think that by then, I had reached a point of acceptance, and meeting an equal spirit has allowed the creation of peace on earth.

MAUDE: My story is quite different than Phil’s. I was in three longer relationships before coming together with him: 5 years, 26 years (a marriage) and 12 years. Perhaps I stayed too long by a few years, but in general, these were all committed deep relationships.

My parents’ relationship was a strong influence on my understanding of what it meant to be together. Theirs was a passionate and loving relationship. I still describe how they were as being “madly in love with one another.” There were disagreements but not really arguments. They believed in not holding onto anger, and were intensely committed and loyal to one another and to my brother and me. There was a deep acceptance and a strong trust in each of us.

I sallied forth into the world totally assuming that all people related in this way to one another and that all partnerships were like this. I found out rather quickly that it was in fact quite different. Yet., this belief in how it could be, should be, lingered deep within me and I sought always to bring that energy into all my relations.

I was never comfortable with arguing and fighting with my partners as a way of clearing things up or coming to agreements. Of course, I had my buttons and when pushed enough I would strike back eventually. I remember often trying to explain that each of us was different but that did not have to be a cause for conflict. I wasn’t very good at putting it into words, especially because it seemed most partners had no experience to really understand what I meant, having rarely or never been treated that way.

No matter what happened, I always believed that this strange energy of fighting and arguing and getting angry didn’t come from me. I thought that if I met someone who didn’t bring that kind of energy into the relationship, then it wouldn’t be there. And guess what?! It turns out that’s true. Phil is that person. We have been together 16 years and have never (sorry but really true!) had an argument. We disagree and we work together to find mutual solutions when we do, but there have never been issues that cause feelings of anger, estrangement and separation.

This is not an unattainable goal. It is available to most who desire it in their relationships. There are ways to find acceptance, respect and mutuality of decisions and solutions. We write about them in our blogs and books. If you want to have this kind of being together, you can!

Photo credit: Andy Samarasena, Studio SB

Keep those comments coming! Click here to post them on the bottom of the blog. 
 Headphone iconClick here to listen to Phil reading this blog.

March 29 Community Voices Salon

Carpinteria Arts Center is putting on a Community Voices Salon each month. Here's a benefit of Covid-19 -- you don't have to live locally to attend! Have some fun and lighten things up.

Join virtually to enjoy music & spoken word by local writers, poets & singer/songwriters.

Flyer for Community Voices Salon

Successful Relationship Reading Corner


Books on shelfThis week, we wrote about our differing personal journeys toward being in a peaceful relationship. Here are some articles that discuss different aspects of approaching such a relationship.

How to Find Peace in Challenging Relationships "Practice Acceptance – there is nothing more freeing than being who you are. There is nothing more peaceful than accepting people for exactly who they are. Peace exists in acceptance of the moment, the person, the circumstance. Perhaps there is a relationship that you are currently struggling with. Are you wishing things were different? Are you trying to control an outcome or change something about the person? What would happen if you created space for acceptance in that relationship?"

The Secret to Peaceful Relationships "There was a time when it was very easy for me to be disappointed by other people. I can’t tell you how many times I would feel angry or let down when someone failed to do what I wanted them to do or what they agreed they would do. I would sometimes be filled with strong, uncomfortable feelings in these situations. In addition, as you might imagine, this propensity brought friction into my friendships and other relationships as I even complained to these unwitting perpetrators that they shouldn’t have done what they did."

13 Steps to Better Relationships...and Peace of Mind "Sometimes you need to know that good people have your back when things go wrong. Good relationships can bring peace of mind, not to mention longer life, companionship, health, happiness, and a host of other benefits. At our core, we are social creatures who need each other. Even meditating monks do it—congregate in communities, that is."

Spreading peace one relationship at a time
Phil and Maude
Read our blogs at PhilAndMaude.
Like us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter and Instagram
Email us at philandmaude@philandmaude.com
If you are interested in newsletters you've missed, see our archive.
Do you know anyone who would enjoy this newsletter? Tell them to sign up at http://philandmaude.com/howtwo/.