I wrote previously about the importance of conflict in a healthy, intimate, adult relationship.
Today I would like to offer some thoughts on the importance of our partner also being our adversary contrary to popular belief.
The common view is that a good relationship is a harmonious one. On balance, yes, we do want an intimate relationship to overall be one of harmony, growth, collaboration, companionship, intimacy, support and love. However, we all enter relationships with baggage.
Depending on age and life experience, we carry varying degrees of values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviours shaped by our upbringing, our past relationships, our needs and desires. Many of these make us the beautiful human being we have become, the one that our partner learned to love and chose to be with. Many, however, make us unskilful, disruptive and, sometimes, outright destructive, to ourselves and or the relationship.
It is normal to get triggered and activated by the things we experience in our intimate relationships. It is normal to see our partner being triggered and activated by things we do in the relationship.
While acceptance is important, it is not enough.
I strongly believe that our individual purpose is to fulfil our innate potential, and from a place of alignment, to be of service to our loved ones and the community. In this pursuit, we are always work-in-progress, and while it can progress organically, sometimes, it is important to be proactive about our development.
Our partners act as mirrors, often voluntarily or involuntarily highlighting the ways in which we are not skilful, the ways in which we sabotage ourselves or the relationship.
We have a wonderful opportunity to grow when we partner with someone who is willing to voice their views. Growing and conflict are intertwined and it is my belief that while we work on accepting our partner as they are, and become their best ally, we also must contribute to destroying the unskilful and false personas they carry, therefore also becoming their adversary.
Take as an example a partner who exhibits adult-child behaviours that have the potential to damage the relationship. It’s a very good thing for that person to be with a partner who won’t accept those damaging behaviours and is willing to voice the issues it creates. It gives the adult-child the opportunity to grow and the relationship to blossom.
Like most things, even with acceptance, we must contend with the earthly-transactional layer of existence we occupy, and aim for the right balance.
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