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What is Peace in a Relationship and How Can it Change the World?

Montage of peace blogsMAUDE: Our basic theme is sharing ways to create and practice peaceful relating. We believe that this is a practice that can change the world. Why do we think this and how it can be accomplished?

We recently spent some delightful time with dear friends, a couple with a peaceful harmonious relationship. If you asked them if they are changing the world, they would laugh (merrily), but have no idea what you meant. And yet they are.

What does this look like from the outside? How does it feel?

Being with them is a balm to the soul. They get their highs from having fun together, laughing and adventuring; from supporting each other’s individual paths, as well as their journey together. There is a feeling of calm and relaxation in the way they interact. It is not all fun and games, but it is filled with love, respect and the honoring of each other’s separate unique individuality.

What is not there, is any of the energy of dominance and power. There is no sense of tension, no push-pull for being right, nor any attempt at one of them directing the other. There is no sense of contempt or ridicule, putting one another down or struggling to have one’s way. In fact, there is no sense of struggle at all.

They have consciously chosen this path of peace and are rewarded for that choice with the joy it brings. Admittedly, this is not for everyone. Some people prefer tension, highs and lows, ups and downs, and they feel more alive through this sense of wrestling and antagonism with each other.

Those who do choose this path, and make their very way of relating to others a path to peace, become ambassadors for change in the world. When you are living peacefully and creating harmony, your existence brings peace into reality.

This can be done by individuals. It does not require being in a partnership, or even having the cooperation of others who you relate to. You become a dynamic force of love and peace by consciously choosing that path. Once you embark down this road, challenges will come your way. And each challenge will show you ever more clearly that it is yours to choose this path and yours alone to walk it.

PHIL: You’ve probably read about John Gottman’s work where he watched couples discuss a problem for 15 minutes, and from that, he could predict with 95% accuracy whether they would be separated within five years. The status of a couple continuously radiates out into the world and is visible if you pay attention.

Consider Maude’s description of our friends. Do you know anyone like them? Is this how you want to be in the world? It’s easy to say that things are different for you, that they don’t have your struggles with money or health or work or whatever it might be, but I doubt that this couple is peaceful because they are holding a get out of jail free card. Lots of people have tortured lives despite their privileged position. (See “The White Lotus”; we’ve just started watching season two.)

So do you want to have a relationship like the couple Maude described?

If you want to be like that, you have to act like that. This may take some effort at first; change doesn’t happen spontaneously, see Newton’s First Law: an object will not change its motion unless a force acts on it.

It is hard to notice your own irritation. That eye-rolling, impatience, snarkiness and condescension seem so appropriate. You have to catch yourself and ask “Is this the kind of relationship that I want, or do I want a peaceful one?”

Such a relationship does not have a power imbalance, because it has equality built into it. Letting go of the need to control is difficult because that is how we keep afloat in the world, but in a peaceful relationship, love and caring are not in short supply and there is no need for struggle and dominance.

Change doesn’t need a Grand Project to take place; it can come about from various small beginnings. So it is something that you can choose to do, and as Maude says and Gottman shows, that peace will radiate out into the world.

Photo credit: Andy Samasarena
Photo note: Montage of our blogs by Phil

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Successful Relationship Reading Corner


Books on shelfThis week, we asked what is peace in a relationship and how can it change the world? We're pleased to offer a number of recommendations on attitudes and actions to take.

9 Simple Ways To Create A More Peaceful Life "Living in peace is about living harmoniously with yourself, others, and all sentient beings around you. Living in peace is both an outward and an inward process. Outwardly, it’s a way of life in which we respect and love each other in spite of our cultural, religious, and political differences. Inwardly, we all need to search our hearts and minds and understand the fear that causes the impulse for violence. In continuing to ignore the rage within, the storm outside will never subside."

The Golden Rule: The Path Way to Human Right and World Peace "We are living at critical moment in our history, a time when humanity must choose its future. Our world is experiencing a fundamental global crisis: a crisis in global economy, global climate change, global degradation of values, and respect to all human right and life forms. This entire global crisis is a crisis which we all share in common. It is not only a problem of a certain country or region but it is a problem of all humanity. To solve this global problem we need a global solution. Each and every one of us needs to be part of the solution by taking our own personal action as the world can only change when we change ourselves. If everyone does his or her part, together we can accomplish our common dream which is a better and peaceful world in which all humankind can live in peace and harmony along with nature and all other living beings."

10 Ways to Spread Peace and Kindness "...your influence upon others around you; how what you put out into the world takes root in others and spreads. This phenomenon is called social contagion. Basically your emotions and behavior are picked up by others and can be imitated, felt, or copied. We have all had the experience of being lifted up by someone’s positive energy or weighed down by someone’s complaints or hostility. As social beings, we feel and are influenced by the energy of those around us. So, this causes me to ask, “what energy are you putting out into the world?” What influence are you having on someone else’s mood or day?"

Spreading peace one relationship at a time
Phil and Maude
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