Approached with reverence and awareness, there are few things as potent and immediate as your intimate relationship for illuminating your shadows and pushing you towards growth.
Our intimate relationships offer a beautiful microcosm to our relationship with life itself. There’s an inherent resistance in the interdependent energies of co-creation. There’s a denial of the dynamic, ever-shifting nature that relationship presents. And there’s a fear in opening up fully to the gifts that this fire is here to offer.
For men, especially, there’s a seductive safety in solitude and artificially-maintained independence. A fear of giving up a sense of perceived control and direction.
In this, the simplicity of the single man is alluring. The zero-latency period between decision and inspired action is both compelling and energetically more expansive than the contraction of compromise that most relationships normalize and default towards.
For when decisions become shared — or worse, filtered through layers of permission and compromise, it deadens the initial desire and disempowers our sense of mission and purpose.
This is the subtley-emasculating experience of the common man. Asking for “permission” to join his brothers on a week-long hiking expedition in Alaska. Going to the gym on a Sunday morning instead of spending time with a cup of oolong tea and a Scrabble board. Decisions become binary, deflating, and guilt-laden.
It’s what had me self-sabotaging countless relationships for a good part of my adult life. For these flames are fierce and utterly unaccommodating to any fragment of self that would insist on holding onto an artificial sense of control and independence.
Yet lost in this, is that she, and life herself, doesn’t actually want or crave your compromise. These are merely cheap substitutes for what she truly yearns for.
Rather, she desires and craves your uncompromising love and reverence which you’ve yet to put on full display. For when you continuously straddle the line between longing for the single life — while “settling” for the soft comforts of a committed relationship, you’ve half-assed your way into a vapid, half-hearted affair.
The transience of a one night stand often brings more reverence and sacredness than a so-called ‘committed” relationship. Yet culturally, we reward and value decades of fake smiles and suppressed pain more than the two-week tussle that expands our hearts beyond the safe borders we’ve spent our lives hiding behind.
True relationship is a passport to this exhilarating, heart-pounding encounter with deeper truth and personal revelation. But like any wild adventure, there’s very little room for a false sense of tranquility and safety.
What must be understood is that relationships are always mutually supportive, yet rarely in the ways we’d expect or hope for. But even in their friction, they always spark a fire and shine light on something worth examining.
Relationships, like nothing else, will coax out our fears, attachments and insecurities, while providing us with the fertile ground for practicing genuine compassion, intimacy and connection.
A relationship can’t be considered a “failure” when it reaches its conclusion. It can only be considered a failure when the chasm of your heart hasn’t been filled with the inner-learnings it was there to offer.
Understand that all relationships end. There is a natural conclusion, that of course, can be forcibly delayed. But when we measure the success of a relationship in “years spent” instead of “growth inspired”, we foolishly miss the point.
Endurance, suppression of pain, and stunting of one’s growth in the name of forced continuity may earn you a shitty fiftieth anniversary party at your local banquet hall. But the trade-off is insurmountable.
The true purpose of relationship isn’t artificial harmony or self-masochistic suffering. Relationships, in their fullest expression, are powerful containers for healing, revelation, and awakening.
This is what ultimately gets revealed once we confront and dissolve the shadows guarding this most precious gift.