I trust we have all had all sorts of ups and downs in our romantic relationships. I know I have! On some level, I think we all need to go through relationships that are clearly what we DO NOT want, before we can know what we DO want. Through my own relationship journey, I have discovered 4 pillars of healthy relationships that I thought I would share with you all.
I am not talking about remembering to thank your partner for cleaning the bathroom or taking out the trash. Though it does start there and I will tell you why. Remembering to thank your partner for the little things sends the message, “I notice you. I notice how you contribute to making our lives better and I am grateful.”
The gratitude I am talking about though, is the gratitude that comes from your bones. It’s the gratitude that we feel in our cells when we truly acknowledge how deeply grateful we feel for the presence of this human in our lives. It is the gratitude of going to sleep with a contentedness and comfort of your Love beside you, even on the days when you have conflict, or the intensity of life or the world got you down.
Gratitude can take us far; it is a form of healthy communication. Offering affection for no reason is a form of healthy communication. Our bodies speak volumes when our words fail. Be willing to listen and speak from the heart. Be willing to listen with an open heart and capacity to self-reflect if your partner offers reflections or information that is hard to receive. Be willing to offer reflections that might be hard to receive. This is where you get to make a choice; to grow or to stay the same.
Be gentle with yourself and your partner in the hard moments. Be able to express and receive anger without taking it personally. Remember we are all having this human experience and respond to it differently due to our unique backgrounds and histories. If your partner does not deal with internal or external conflict in the same way that you do, it does not mean anything about who you are or what your value as a human is.
If you feel truly met by your partner, with the understanding that no one is going to meet you the way you desire all of the time, that is the place from which we can determine what we can and what we cannot tolerate. If we feel safe to be the full expression of ourselves, then we have more tolerance for the little things that might otherwise annoy us. Like if your partner leaves the toilet seat up, it might not matter as much if you feel emotionally safe expressing your truth and your raw vulnerability, or if you feel seen and loved unconditionally in your light AND your shadow places, and if you feel that gratitude in your bones for how your partner shows up in your life.
Tolerance can also be our barometer. If you notice little things that generally do not bother you when you are in your juicy relationship flow, are starting to bother you, it might be an indicator that something else is underneath your agitation. You can use your own changing tolerance level as a pathway to knowing yourself better, and knowing what you need and what to ask for.
The messages I received about sex growing up are that sex is for procreation, and that it is a dangerous act in which we can contract disease if we are not careful. I still hear the message, “Abstinence is the only safe sex,” running through my mind. No one ever told me that most people have sex because it is pleasurable.
I realize more and more everyday that connecting to ourselves through pleasure either with ourselves, with another, or multiple others, is a pathway to our most authentic self-expression. Sexual expression is an expression of creative life force energy. We can channel that energy to create a baby, art, love or anything else your wild creative mind can imagine.
I say Great Sex, but it might be more accurate to say, Loving Kinesthetic Connection. It is not that the act of penetration must be groundbreaking every time, as much as it feels important for love and sensuality to be expression in a physical way.
This feels important because non-verbal communication can be so much more powerful than verbal communication at times, and expressing love through conscious touch and sexuality keeps a dialogue ever in flow. Because many of us live with shame inside of us around our sexuality, it can be risky to share our deepest sexual desires and fantasies to our partners. We might be afraid of rejection or judgment. This is an invitation to take that risk and see if you can cultivate more love and intimacy through the vulnerability of sharing your longings.