The Heart of Relationship: 5 Ultimate Truths For Understanding the Couple Relationship
The Heart of Relationship delineates five essential truths that underlie all couplehood: the inescapable fact of struggling and suffering, the fundamental cause of struggle and suffering, and the three evolutionary steps out of struggle and suffering. These three steps are awareness, self-care, and the twin capacity for personal power and selflessness.
Straight-forward, elegant, and entertaining, The Heart of Relationship is based on almost twenty years of the author’s work with couples and thirty years of his own marriage.
“A delightful, profoundly sage, practical book that will help any couple find their way.” Hal Stone, Ph.D. and Sidra Stone, Ph.D., authors of Embracing Your Selves.
From the Book:
Everyone struggles with relationships. Struggle and suffering are an integral part of being a couple. This is the first truth of love. If you are just beginning a couple relationship, you and your partner hopefully enjoy respect, kindness, generosity, a sharing of intimacy that is both verbal and physical, a spirit of discovery, passionate mutual interest, and altogether a great aliveness. Hopefully, you and your partner share conversations from the heart about your fears and dreams, a heated sexuality, and leisure and social activities in common, whether they be cooking, dancing, gardening, or reading together. For most of us, passion and connection are relatively easy in the beginning because the obstacles from the bottom of our psychological sea have yet to surface.
However if you are like most people, as your journey of relationship truly gets under way, something will slowly happen to you. The change is usually so gradual it may not be noticed at first. What causes the change will be even less noticed. But at some point you will probably wake up and realize something is very off. You may look at your beloved and find that their physical being, which was once so pleasing, is now less appealing. Certain previously insignificant habits will begin to annoy you. It may be the way your partner dresses, speaks, eats, or even breathes. Then their whole personality may begin to bother you: the way they are too emotional, or unemotional; the way they are overly responsible or irresponsible; the way they make, or don’t, make love.
Gradually, you may no longer want to share with them what is most personal to you – or find they no longer share with you. Personal, caring, tender conversation becomes increasingly difficult, love-making less frequent and less enjoyable, and the life begins to ebb from the relationship.
The early days are so wonderful partly because new lovers are so eager to please each other, but in the process the tendency is for each to disregard his or her own needs. This is exactly what my wife and I did when we were first dating. At the same time, like many partners, we also pushed the other too far, disregarding the other’s needs.
A few snapshots:
- I want to spend the day alone; she wants to be with old friends. Instead of telling each other this, we spend the day together. At the end of the day, neither of us feel satisfied.
- She likes to eat vegetarian. I like to eat steak. To be amenable, I switch to broccoli and tofu. This does not make me a happy camper.