We receive about a thousand emails a month from people who are looking for answers to various relationship questions. Most of them break down into four main categories: money, sex, communication, parenting. A minority of the questions range over other issues such as commitment, recovering from a break-up and other specific concerns. A recent email asked a more general question that we all can benefit from thinking about: “In your experience, what one thing can people do to make a relationship work?”
We wrote back a brief answer, but promised to provide a more detailed answer here in our blog. Here it is…
One of the most important, if not THE most important, thing people can do is summarized in what we call The First Principle of conscious relationships:
Relationships thrive when each partner commits to total union with the other person and total creative expression as an individual.
Here’s why that’s so important. Human beings all have two strong primal relationship needs: connection with others and self-development as an individual. Ideally, we create relationships in which we can experience union with the other person, and freedom to grow as individuals. When either of those needs are thwarted, unhappiness grows. When those needs are met, harmony grows.
Here’s what we suggest to honor those two powerful needs: Make a heartfelt commitment to the other person that you’re willing to go beyond all your ego-defenses to full unity. At the same time, make a commitment to going all the way with your creative expression and your development as an individual. Make a pact with your partner that says essentially, “This relationship is a place where we can be close to each other AND grow fully as individuals.”