There was a time in the history of humanity when relationships served the purpose of basic survival. There was no focus on how to interact in healthy ways, or how to grow together as a couple. That worked for centuries, but in today’s world, we seem to want more as our needs for love and connection continue to transform. We want fulfillment. We want relationships that last. The problem is that many of us struggle with knowing how to find and create relationships that fulfill us on the deepest levels, and we get stuck in unconscious relationships.
In an unconscious relationship, both partners are looking to fulfill their own needs, and to have their partner fulfill their needs. We essentially come into a relationship with years of baggage and expect that our partner will meet our needs and heal our wounds. And then, once we realize that our partner isn’t doing this, we create conflict, feel disappointment, and experience broken relationships. These types of relationships stifle our growth, and leave us feeling unfulfilled.
So what about creating a conscious relationship? What does this even mean? There are basically three types of relationships that span the spectrum of conscious connection:
Just The Basics
This type of relationship is where many people find plain ol’ satisfaction. You share your time together, you may be committed or married, you may connect as friends and companions, and have “sex”. There isn’t a lot of value placed on growing as individuals or as a couple. There may be conflict around meeting each others needs, or miscommunication because there isn’t a lot of focus on deepening or improving as individuals or as a couple. Problems are often blamed on each other, instead of looking at each person’s own contribution to an issue or conflict. Emotional intimacy is lacking.
Many people can stay in this type of relationship for decades and feel simply satisfied with just their basic needs being met. However, many people may feel a sense of dissatisfaction, frustration, and a lack of fulfillment in a relationship that doesn’t focus on growth. These relationships may go on for decades with two people simply existing as roommates or companions, but both feel unfulfilled or dissatisfied. Many simply end in a break up or divorce.
This is really the first step toward creating a more conscious relationship, where both partners are committed to their own personal growth. They may be doing therapy, reading self-help books, exploring their spirituality, and have a desire to better understand themselves and what they can offer to a relationship. They work to understand their feelings, behaviors, and reactions in the relationship, so they can feel happier as an individual, and therefore contribute to a healthier relationship.
Each partner metaphorically “looks in the mirror” to increase their self-awareness and recognition of their own patterns and reactions that are triggered by a partner, but are not the responsibility of the partner. They don’t blame each other. They vulnerably and compassionately take responsibility for their “stuff”. This type of self-focused work enhances the relationship and gives each partner more tools to communicate and connect more effectively.
The Sacred Dance
This is the highest level of a conscious relationship, where two people have done significant work on themselves, and can also commit to working on the relationship itself. They recognize that growth never stops, and they continue to do the work on themselves in the process of loving each other and tending to the relationship. The relationship becomes a third person in the relationship, and it is nurtured, cherished, and respected.
There is a conscious commitment to meeting the needs of the relationship, and not just the singular needs of each partner. There is a commitment to love, understanding, compassion, and connection. They welcome and encourage deepening vulnerability, knowing that this deep type of intimacy creates deep love, acceptance, and healing.
Sex becomes more than meeting a physical need. It becomes a union of two beings, in a sacred dance of deep connection and intimacy.
There is commitment to growth more than a commitment to the outcome of the relationship, as this couple realizes that sometimes growth means growing apart. They practice authenticity and honesty in the relationship, without fear that they will drive a partner away by expressing their true feelings, desires, strengths, and flaws.
Conscious relationships require work and a commitment to growth, but they can lead to the most beautiful, fulfilling connections between two partners. If you want to learn more about creating a conscious relationship in your life, listen to my interview with Christian de la Huerta on Destination Love here.