Relationships serve many different purposes. Minimally, relationships should provide security, comfort and a sense of belonging.
But ideally, I think relationships should serve as a vehicle for each other’s emotional, psychological and spiritual growth. That is to say, there is a way to be with each other, to encourage and nurture each other in such a manner as to promote our development in these areas. A way to listen to and respect each other for what one thinks, feels and believes without trying to make the other be like us.
Now this may sound idealistic, and perhaps it is, if one means striving for something that is ideal. Or perhaps it seems unrealistic because in reality this is not what we do in our own relationships, nor did we see it demonstrated in our childhood (at least most of us didn’t). Or perhaps it seems simply strange and confusing because the idea of promoting and encouraging our psychological development is a notion that doesn’t even make sense.
But if that seems strange let me suggest what may sound like an even stranger notion. In my opinion, the only thing that truly provides a sense of well-being, that gives life a continual sense of purpose, meaningfulness, and direction is our psychological growth and ongoing development.
While the pursuit of happiness for most involves acquiring material possessions, consumable goods, and financial wealth, none of these will provide any lasting pleasure. If this is not already clear to you then it wouldn’t surprise me if you thought that what I was saying was nonsense or meaningless.
But if you have the emerging understanding that personal growth is the direction you want to head in and want to utilize your relationship to serve this purpose then we are in agreement about what we are doing here. Clearly my approach to relationships is not for everyone.
How to activate this growth and generate this within the relationship will be discussed in upcoming articles. On the one hand it is a remarkably simple process to learn. On the other it is incredibly difficult to practice for many, many, reasons which will also be presented.