Relationships - When Love Returns
Life throws all kind of challenges in our way and it can at times feel that our relationship begins to break down. Communication is hard to keep going without arguments or painful silences. Getting close in any way seems impossible, thoughts of blame and feelings of intense dislike drills a deep ravine between you. Turning the ravine into a springtime meadow can be an inspiring journey for both partners, a journey of discovery and a gradual creation of love and support.
In relationship counselling I see a fair amount of relationships that are at this stage of deciding whether to stay together or part.
When we in the first session begin to talk about the relationship it can be the first time they have looked at it as something they are part of but also exists by itself; when they are not together as a couple their legacy is there in the home or carried around with their partner. An emotional foot print is left which keeps the relationship alive while they are not physically together.
At some point in the early days of counselling we will talk about how they first met and it is here I often see the possibility of how the relationship is going to survive. Of course I am not able to predict the future nor do I put myself forward as a clairvoyant, but the way couples tell the story of how they got together often can indicate whether they both still have an emotional connection.
Turning the relationship around
The work can be hard and can present some challenging times. Once each partner begins to discover how the relationship went wrong, blame will disappear if each of them is able to take responsibility for their role in the situation. It takes strength to be able, without blame, to see the parts each played and to realise how the circumstances created the situation.
Recognising it will in itself be the turning point, opening up the space for the humility that each will need to begin to sow the seeds of trust, respect and intimacy that will grow in the privacy of their relationship.
The love that returns is unlike the feeling that was experienced when they first met; although initially it can feel as if a great risk is being taken, as trust is being rebuilt through openness and sincere and sensitive honesty, respect for one another will follow.
A loving sex life is often the last aspect of the relationship to develop. When couples first meet the infatuation both feel drives their sex life. As the relationship grows a loving sex life relies very much on the trust and respect between the two.
Mutual trust and respect tend to build a feeling of security out of which intimacy can return. At this stage intimacy can grow and become not only about sex, but about the warmth and the confidence each partner feels within the relationship.
Rebuilding the intimacy also relies on both being able to creatively develop the security and confidence.
The metaphor for the relationship being a meadow is about the delicate balance between too much or too little control. Trusting that your legacy will last until the next time you return and realising that too much control is likely to suffocate the beauty that has been created by the two people tending the meadow.
Intimate relationships were not meant to be easy, but nor were they meant to hurt. If there is a willingness on both parts to explore, take responsibility and creatively rebuild, then there can be a chance to create and maintain something beautiful.