“Don’t get too comfortable with who you are at any given time – you may miss the opportunity to become who you want to be.” – Jon Bon Jovi
The same can be applied to relationships. If you’re too comfortable in your relationship, you may miss the opportunity to become who you want to be. You know you’re in a comfortable relationship if there’s an absence of intellectual, physical, emotional, and spiritual stimulation. Has your relationship become a bad habit?
The way we build an enlightening relationship is a three step process:
We spend time knowing our personal values, life goals, and passions;
We spend time discussing each other’s deepest aspects of the self;
We each reflect on whether our partner not only respects our values, life goals, and passions, but adds and complements them with their own being.
Therefore, being compatible with each other is not enough (ask 50% of married Canadians). For us, an enlightening relationship is one where we, by virtue of who we are, help each other get to where we want to be in life on an intellectual, physical, emotional, and spiritual level. We’ve even agreed that the day our dynamic doesn’t help each other achieve our missions, we SPLIT UP. If we didn’t, then we would be wasting time and life.
To illustrate our three step theory:
Lindsey has a new academic interest in Women Studies and David in Student Services. We knew our relationship was enlightening on the intellectual level because our dynamic helped us to deepen our knowledge about our personal fields of interests.
For example, when Lindsey would come home and discuss theory from her Women Studies class, David’s own passions led him to naturally and actively participate in the conversation instead of just smiling and nodding (which happens a lot in comfortable relationships), therefore advancing our intellectual growth towards our goals. If we did not mesh this way, it would have been really easy for each of us to become intellectually stagnant.
Similarly, on a physical, emotional, and spiritual level, we try to find each other’s weaknesses and offer tools to improve. We know we are in an enlightening relationship when we act as a catalyst for positive change in each other. Being compatible is nice, but being an agent of change for each other is what we’re looking for.
Being a change agent for each other is very different from the standard view of a relationship. It’s not enough to share similar interests, to be compatible, and to respect each other’s values. It’s about genuinely living the other person’s growth.
Genuinely living the other person’s growth is important, because it means that it comes from a natural inclination and not from an expectation or an idea of what you should be doing to keep each other satisfied. IE: If David did not genuinely develop or have a pre-existing interest in Women Studies concepts, Lindsey would have to bounce. If Lindsey wasn’t naturally already into or genuinely developing an interest in fitness, then David would have to dip.
NOTE: we think mutual interests can be developed to the point that it supports mutual growthonly when the interest comes from intrinsic motivation. Non-genuine mutual interest, we believe, leads to temporary pleasures.
So take the time to reflect on yourself and whether your relationship is helping you get where you want to be. If it’s not, consider moving on – we’ve almost done it. Have any similar experiences? Let us know on our Relationship Zen Facebook group!