Carista Luminare on the depths, challenges, and glories of a committed relationship.
The Depth of a Man
I was greeted this morning by a love note from my beloved. He had written an essay about love, and read it to me. Of his love for me, he said, “It is deep and profound, like the ocean."
I felt undulating waves of affection rise up through me as I heard his words. I embraced his tenderness, his love, and the depth and glory of him. Every woman wants to be loved this way!
He spoke of the uniqueness of our love – unlike any other. We share these feelings of profound depth in our lovership, the depth that comes from the deep commitment we’ve made to each other, to the relationship itself, and to use our relationship as a learning ground to grow and develop ourselves.
He also acknowledged, in a tender way, that he still feels love for women from his past, each of whom had their own unique feminine radiance. He said, “Love is not the same. Each love has its own quality, worthy of appreciation.”
Touched by his reflections, I asked myself, “What makes this man so sweet and special to me? Why did I choose him for my life partner after so many twists and turns with other men?” It’s because I feel safe to be OPEN to him, and he shares both his vulnerable insecurities and his greatest virtues with me.
The relationship dance has taken me into both the lightest and darkest sides of love. In some of my past partnerships, childhood wounds and traumas were triggered. In a few cases, new traumas were added! I saw how quickly our sudden reactions can close our hearts and separate us from each other. We often don’t even know what triggered us – we’re just suddely reacting to something the other said or did.
By carefully examining what happened, we can bring understanding and healing. We became closer, more intimate, more kind and loving to each other. With that understanding, we can open again to the feelings of love and trust.
We all know this roller coaster ride. Open and closed. Up and down. Over and over.
I pondered further: When we get so upset with each other, why can’t we respond in kindness, rather than react in brittle defensiveness? After all these years, I finally cracked the code how to stop the vicious cycle of endless processing – the one that keep us up until wee hours of the morning, yearning to be understood.
No one taught us how to love. “Loving 101” wasn’t offered in college – or in elementary school, when it would have been really useful! We learned what love is from our parents. For most of us, unfortunately, their version of love was mixed with their own confusion, anger, and pain. They didn't understand love, but they demonstrated to us (unconsciously) what love was supposed to look like. This set us up to unconsciously repeat their patterns in our later relationships. They didn’t know any better. It’s no wonder that we’re all so confused about love! (Continued on Page 2 ->)
The good news is that we can learn what healthy love is. We can uncover our patterns from the past, change them, and create new patterns that re-wire our neural circuits and deepen our relationship (or our future one).
For our heart to fully open, we need to be held with love. Every infant has specific needs that when fulfilled, make them feel secure and happy. Adults have exactly the same needs, including safety, kindness, and understanding. If our parents didn't hold us in a loving embrace, it’s difficult to hold another’s heart with tenderness.
The latest neuroscience shows that we can actually rewire our brains – we can learn to respond with love rather than fear or defensiveness. But to be successful in this transition, both partners must join together in the process of rewiring toward secure attachment. We can learn to love well. When our hearts open, magic happens. Attraction and passion go exponential!
I want a man who isn’t just attracted to my surface beauty (which is temporal). It can be hijacked by a bad mood, a menstrual cramp, a hot flash, or the sun's impact on my aging skin. Our shining radiance can be dulled by hard work, or a sleep-deprived night, or worry, anxiety, or a work deadline.
Men: I’m sorry, but we can't always be the perfect Love Goddess for you. We have moods, and we have unfulfilled needs. Learn to love us anyway, in all of our shifting glory. We are the wind, the ocean, the ever-changing weather. Your love must transcend your own needs at times. Love us for the fullness we are.
Sisters: Own the fullness of who you are. You might have been taught to become an idealized version of yourself, like a beauty queen, an animated Disney character, or a TV actress portraying the perfect wife. But we are much more than those 2-dimensional cartoons.
What a “deep man” wants is our flowing river of femininity. He is able to navigate the rapids of our fluid emotion as well as the calm waters. He, in turn, is willing to reveal his vulnerable heart as much as we do ours. Understand your patterns. Rewire your brain. Go deep, and have fun!