Cultivating a Profound Love for Your Partner
Gary Zukav, spiritual teacher and author, makes a clear distinction between romantic partnership and spiritual partnership, as most people approach and perceive love through the lens of romantic partnership, which is a union formed on the basis of security, commonalities, and the perpetuation of a karmic loop or unconscious patterns from childhood. On the other hand, spiritual partnership is founded on the idea that two people come together to further the evolution of their consciousness, meaning, to grow spiritually and become aware of their unconscious patterns for the purpose of healing and transmuting them. Under this model, a person is able to cultivate a deep partnership which honors the individual spirit of both partners in such a way that spurs a great spiritual and personal transformation.
Here are some practical ways you can cultivate a profound love for your partner, which will, in turn, transform your relationship and deepen your connection:
1.Choose to see the best in him.
No one is perfect. Everyone has negative traits that you can point out in judgment, but this only leads to conflict, resentment, and a growing distance between you and your partner. People are dirty, disorganized, controlling, childish, and selfish. That's just part of life. The key is to pay more attention to your partner's gifts, positive traits, and what make you love him.
In the very moment that you're annoyed, or in the middle of conflict, that's the last moment that you want to think about how he brings you coffee every morning, or makes you smile by sending you those cute puppy memes while you're at work, but that's the exact time to remember those specifics.
As you focus more and more on your partner's positive traits and learn to bite your tongue when you want to point out that his dirty socks are on the floor, you'll see that he responds in a more loving and trusting manner, because he feels so deeply loved and appreciated by you.
Our minds are constantly replaying past experiences. It can feel like it's impossible to let go of hurtful memories, as it is in our nature to want to protect ourselves. Under the guise of safety and protection, we cling to the past with the illusion that it will prevent future pain. However, that's an incorrect perception. If you really want to deepen the connection you have with your partner, be willing to let go of past hurts and move forward. Every time you bring up a past grievance, it creates distance in the relationship. Refusing to forgive your partner by bringing up the past is a surefire way to push him away. It takes a spiritually mature person to be able to forgive and let go. With just a little bit of willingness to drop your resentment and heal, you open your heart to more love and a deeper connection with your partner.
3.Embrace his unconscious behavior and negative patterns.
Everyone has deep wounds that stem from childhood experiences or past trauma that have led to unconscious behavior or negative patterns. When a person's emotional body is triggered, that is the exact moment they will fall into negative patterns.
For example, if your partner's mother left at an early age, he might have unconscious issues with abandonment that triggers negative patterns. He may act out in jealousy, or get clingy when you say you have to leave for a business trip. It would be easy to become angry in response and want to push him away. However, it would be more helpful to ask him how he feels (emotionally, as well as in his body), and to see that his jealousy is a call for love. Once you recognize that, you might be able to demonstrate your love for him in another way while still going on the business trip. You might offer to Skype with him every night, or plan to see him more when you return. You could tell him that you understand his feelings, and in a calm manner, you could express your point of view without yelling or becoming frustrated.
All unconscious behavior stems from deep pains that we have felt in the past, and once that is grasped, it is easier to embrace our partner's negative patterns with love, as we can identify their wounds and help them to heal, rather than creating more conflict and grievances.
4.Be willing to let go of your scripts.
We all have scripts: ways we believe our partner should behave and blueprints that we hold in our minds. When our partner fulfills our scripts, we express love, and when he doesn't we withhold love and withdraw. We treat people the way we would treat a dog we were housebreaking.
The key to loving your partner profoundly is to recognize your scripts and release them.
For example, my partner, Tim, had a script that I would always be chatty and bubbly. However, there are moments when, because I am tired, pensive, or don't feel well, I can become quiet. At times, this can frustrate him, and despite my explaining that I'm tired (not in a bad mood), his script is that I show up to every situation with level-10 energy. He has identified this script, and in the midst of conflict, has said that he is willing to release it and let me be as quiet as I like without asking me to change in order for him to be happy. A healthy relationship is one in which both partners accept responsibility for their own happiness and don't ask the other to change.
In order to love someone profoundly, you will have to respond differently to situations. The very moment you want to nag your partner is the exact moment to give him a hug. The instant you want to yell is when you want to take a moment to breathe, take a walk, and come back to share your feelings and open up to your partner's perspective. When you are willing to break your patterns and respond to your partner in new ways, your connection will deepen and your relationship will transform.