Like yoga, our relationships require us to be intentional and to stretch beyond ourselves. Why would we ever venture outside the limits of our personal comfort zones unless love actually demanded this of us? In fact, the hidden gift in relationships is the emotional and spiritual growth they can offer us.
For instance, a person who is normally impatient and finds it difficult to listen to their partner speak without interrupting will be continually frustrated, frustrate her partner as well, and possibly risk the loss of the entire relationship. If, however, her intention is to have love in her life and to build a strong, satisfying relationship, she can see this as an opportunity to do something differently.
Instead of responding in her usually impatient way, she can see her frustration as the rub in the relationship that signals a choice. Her desire to improve the relationship can move her beyond herself and her usual habits. She can intentionally stretch her ability to control herself and wait until the end of his sentences. She can get better at actively listening to her partner and help him feel better understood and validated. . . .and she will increase her chances of receiving the same for herself. In this way, she can single-handedly increase the level of intimacy between them! Her increased patience and self-control can easily transfer to her communication patterns in all her relationships, and it will also enhance her personal sense of empowerment and self-esteem.
Another example might be a situation where both partners have reached an impasse and have withdrawn, without talking, to opposite sides of an argument. Both people can stay stuck, allowing themselves to feel hurt and victimized. However, once again, they have a choice. Fueled by their intention to reconnect and actively love the other, they can chose to move past their anger and fear by plugging into their humility and courage. . . and to reach out to each other. This act will not only be self-empowering, but at the same time, empowers the relationship itself. Their developing and increasing levels of humility and courage help unstick them from faulty patterns of engagement and keep their relationship dynamics open and fluid.
In both scenarios, the levels of patience, self-control, courage,and humility are developed in response to the tension created within the relationship. As in yoga, our intention needs to be conscious, ie.what do we most want from our relationships? If we intend to continually protect our love and raise the bar on our level of connectedness, then we need to direct our breath, our awareness and our behavior towards wherever the relationship is stuck. What can we personally do differently to consciously and consistently contribute towards moving our relationship forward? As a result, the relationship not only becomes stronger, but the partner who does the stretching feels personally empowered as well as becomes a source of inspiration for their partner to do the same