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Tolerating long-term partnership

Intimacy has many movements.
Intimacy has many movements.
Tumbler, Unknown

The mechanism of long-term partnership is oiled by many solvents but the most lucrative is unconditional loving tolerance.

Unconditional loving and tolerance seems at first glance an unlikely blend of soluble mixes concerning our expressions and intentions, yet, they go hand in hand; and more importantly, heart to heart. Tolerance is something that comes from the depths of the heart, coated with patience and a rewarding opening for understanding. When we unconditionally love, we are willing to wait for something greater to arise then what may be happening in that moment. We find spacious opportunities to allow for growth and not immediate reaction to discomfort or disappointment with our partner. Yes, some acts are harder to accept and stand-by as they unfold, but love is what has gotten us to this place and love is surely the main component that will keep us there. Love has to be, enough.

When we first start to desire a relationship we are searching for a person that completes something inside of us. We sense life could be richer and more exciting with a highly compatible companion. What we miss is that we are missing nothing. If we feel we are going to generate some magical person that takes away all our sorrows, we are immediately in trouble. We have to learn how to sustain our own happiness and take responsibility for it, first and foremost.

We could take the amount of arguments and frustrating thought storms in nearly half by remembering we have no control; we have choices. Long-term partnership is a decision that is invested through a steadfast commitment and holding on to bonds that yield trust and fortitude.

We are going to use the acronym WAIT to describe the layers and complexities of unconditional loving tolerance.

  • W – Willingness
  • A - Allowing
  • I - Interdependence
  • T - Transcendence

Willingness to try, fail, fall apart and find each other again is the malleable substance that can feel like a chore sometimes, but with some practice, one may find they enjoy the relationship more effusively. We can get stuck in our ways, probably one reason we were single for so long, and lose opportunities to grow into a richer and livelier person. Commitment to long-term partnership, like a marriage, changes the movement of both partners as their roles of boyfriend and girlfriend transform into protector and nurturer. It is like a switch is flipped and even if you have been living together for a few years, the wedding vows create a new energy that attracts something so powerful one does not even see it coming. Everything we thought we knew of this person becomes a different vision filled with invisible loud voices: ghosts of our parents.

Watching how our parents treated each other by either being greeted by a kiss or a grunt; who helped in the kitchen or in the yard; which one or who mostly paid the mounting house bills; who came home for dinner every night; who called and said they would be late, becomes a foundation for building our own interior castles with each other. In turn, we do what our parents have done, even if we know they have failed, as we are programmed so deep to follow these dugout pathways from cellular membrane to skin. The willingness comes into play as we have to agree that we are doing our best to create a home not a house together and there is not just one ruler – we are co-creative artists. Sometimes the painting will turn out messy and others we may fight about what medium to use but it will always be a picture that the two will own and recognize; even if no other observer can figure it out what the heck is going on.

“Progress is finding a good place to stop.” Alan Watts

Allowing…this is a big one. We need to be able to be self-confident, self-aware and have cultivated self-love. This is a component in the relationship that gets addressed again in interdependency, but here it is expressed by finding a balance of power and faith. We have to allow for trust, circumstance and congruency to flow and not be restricted by fear.

Everyone has a library of disappointments and illusions that we can tap into, check out and reread. We have volumes of pain and irritation in the Stacks section of our interior library that echo like little narrators when we let them. Like Harry Potter with the talking photos, these memories keep a dialogue and create scripts we subconsciously use to get what we want or to be in continued bondage to what we don’t want.

Allowing takes the pressure out of controlling. Control is an illusion that creates mini-web like crystalline structures to trap our bait into feeling stuck and without power so we ultimately get what we want. Soft or hard manipulations happen as we tug and pull on each other’s hot buttons, something we should reserve for the bedroom. Once one is filled with little confidence, one can fall into a sticky poison and be in a state of: Should I stay or Should I go?

Control is dismantled by the presence of unconditional loving tolerance. Allowing gives movement to stuck negative energy which has come from a patterning of fights which has fostered disastrous illusions. When we realize it is not about winning as it is more about understanding, we can allow for the gift of the challenge to make both stronger by recognizing our squawking as personal demands and softening our preferences to listen to the real dis-ease in the relationship. Allowing someone to speak while listening with compassion is a skill long-term partners have addressed again, and again. We have to allow for all shades of our partner to emerge from their canvas so we can re-blend into a suitable compatible couple color.

Mastering a skill physically, mentally or in trade takes time and incredible effort, why should relationships be any different? They are not…

Unconditional loving tolerance provides a permeable and movable energetic net so that distributive power can volley our concerns, wants and desires while being served, not intentionally spiked.

“To be conscious of another is to be conscious of what one is not.” Jean Paul Sartre

Interdependence is formed through integration of experience, the highest external guidance system we have to derive real knowledge from. When we get to interdependence, we can see the word is transitioning our relationship to understanding me, more than we.

We are together but separate and still have full meaning.

This stage in relationship weaves in and out and much more so after about 10 years in relationship. The “who am I” piece to life happens whether you are single or in partnership. However, in partnership, we are attached to our relationship and all its characteristics and styles, so much so we lose some bits of what it was that brought us together.

What is truly passionate for us as individuals will show up in our lives, one way or another - encouraging growth or destruction. Allowing for interdependence to cultivate will enliven each partner into being more of who they really are. The reflection of the mirror - the two partners who have worked so hard to see each other in as one - broadens and beacons toward a different angle. Our goal during this period is to not be jealous, or take things in a personal matter; the shift is happening whether we like it or not, bring back that skill of willingness and allowing we have become Masters of and has brought us thus far. Reaching deep and in different directions are the instructions here.

Many times couples will start to take vacations from each other, trying to rediscover life and make sure they have not forgotten anything. Age creeps up and makes waves to even the youngest of minds. This time in life can be known as a mid-life crisis and can take a real negative swing with adulterous affairs, wild spending sprees and intentional abandonment.

From an unconditional loving tolerant perspective, this time of discovery can be rewarding and create a much more autonomous state of being for both individuals. A child-like innocence can emerge which will bring about joy and new energy to a well-tested and proven worthy relationship.

“The years teach much which the days never knew.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Transcendence is the breakdown of any barriers that keep us from being a unique soul lent from God for just a short while in the body and with our Earth-Mate. Transcendence is a translucent verb-like word that keeps unconditional loving tolerance in motion. The most unconditionally loving source is God. Leaning on our faith as an internal guidance system provides an environment for love to prosper and mature. Towards the Golden Years, we realize we have been lighting the way in a co-creative meld of partnership, and a belief that we were brought here for a pertinent reason through those long storms, blazing sunshine and prickly stillness. The accumulation of historic events and freeze-frame moments that become ingrained memories are the stories we now tell to others as to how the relationship evolved. It is not about remembering what we lacked or blaming the other for some distant dream that still has not manifested; it is about love and realizing that love was enough.

The divine transformation of getting to know who we really are is a dynamic process of faith and commitment in long-term partnership. Unconditional loving tolerance propels us through the swift currents of the unknown and the uncomfortable. Allowing one to be, have tantrums and tirades, is just one aspect of accepting the other in relationship. Coddling the desires and passions of life’s treasures together and apart, while practicing letting go of attachments to expectation, will arise a willingness to sacrifice and surrender through all seasons, years, even decades. Trust breeds for more time as the space in-between two can remain clear while the other works to attend to past wounds and internal cleansing causing interdependence to be formed and sculpted. What a masterpiece love creates.

As time moves quickly, we move swiftly; garnering our beliefs in the invisible force that is known as love from the unconditionally loving tolerant selves - us.