Creating a loving relationship doesn't have to be as hard as you might think.
Most of us know that relationships can be very challenging. We generally enter a relationship with many unhealed wounds from childhood and these wounds easily get triggered in committed relationships.
Our wounds include both our fear of rejection and our fear of engulfment, and when these fears are activated, we generally go into old programmed ways of reacting, such as anger, blame, compliance, withdrawal, resistance, defensiveness, explaining, threatening, and so on.
You might have been programmed with many ways of trying to control your partner by making them responsible for your painful feelings.
Love gets eroded when we continue to act from our fears and the resulting controlling behavior. But it doesn't always have to be hard! Below are the essential keys to creating and maintaining a loving relationship.
Relationships thrive when both partners feel safe to be themselves and to discuss problems as they arise. Partners feel safe when they know they can rely on each other to be open and caring, even in the face of conflict.
Here are 4 pieces of relationship advice that you need in order to create this safe, open connected relationship space:
1. Cultivate an intention to learn about yourself and your partner.
We need to be able to rely on ourselves and each other in order to stay open to learning about our wounds and our resulting controlling protective behaviors.
There is nothing that grinds love down more than controlling behaviors, such as those mentioned above, or behavior that is intent on avoiding your feelings — ignoring your feelings, judging yourself and your partner, or turning to addictions to numb your feelings.
If you are currently not in a relationship, then take this time to learn to stay open with your own feelings and learn what they are telling you rather than continue to abandon yourself when you feel pain. Learning to stay open with yourself makes it much easier to stay open with your partner.
If you are currently in a relationship, do the same thing. Take time to learn to be present with your own feelings, with an intention to learn (these are steps one and two of Inner Bonding).
2. Practice focusing on kindness with yourself and your partner.
Just as being open to learning is essential in creating a safe relationship space, so is kindness. If you were not brought up with kindness and you've been judgmental with yourself and others rather than kind, then you need to keep the concept of kindness in the forefront of your mind.
Relationships flourish when loving yourself and your partner is your highest priority. For most people, protecting against pain has been their highest priority, so it takes much practice to successfully make love and kindness a higher priority than avoiding pain.
3. Develop your spiritual connection.
Relationships flounder when you make your partner your source of love. Your partner isn't supposed to be your higher power — you have your own higher power and this is your infinite source of love.
When your intent is to learn about loving yourself and your partner, and you're open to learning about this with a source of spiritual guidance, you will learn to fill yourself with enough love to share with your partner.
Trying to have control over getting love ruins relationships. Sharing love creates intimacy and connection with your partner.
4. Make relationship time a high priority.
One of the greatest experiences in life is the sharing of love, and this takes time. Learning, growing, intimacy, connection, and passion are the natural results of creating a safe, open, kind and loving relationship space, and all this takes times.
Spending connected time together relaxing, laughing, sharing, and cuddling are essential for creating a long-lasting, thriving loving relationship.
Is all this easy? It can be when love is your highest priority. When you fully accept that your reason for being on the planet is to evolve your soul in your ability to love, it becomes easier and easier to behave in these four loving ways.
Start learning to love yourself and heal your relationships with our free Inner Bonding course.
Join Dr. Margaret Paul for her 30-Day at-home Relationships Course: "Loving Relationships: A 30-Day at-Home Experience with Dr. Margaret Paul — For people who are partnered and people who want to be partnered."
This article was originally published at Inner Bonding. Reprinted with permission from the author.