I recently learned that two people I loved and admired (let’s call them Stan and Jo) were no longer together. After a few years of marriage, they called it quits. Both these people had spent years on a path of growth, inner healing and personal & spiritual development. Both had strong communication skills and a lot of awareness around authentic relating and building intimacy. So, the news about their breakup came as a shock.
If they couldn’t make it work, who of us can?!
But after an initial wave of shock and sadness, I actually felt happy and hopeful. Because a truly successful and healthy relationship is not measured by how long it lasts but by how aware and loving are people in it. And a big part of that awareness and loving is knowing when it’s time to stay, when it’s time to do the work, when it’s time to rest and when it’s time to leave. So instead of thinking that Stan and Jo’s relationship failed, I actually think that it was an incredibly successful one. And that both of them (and the people around them) got a lot out of their union.
I believe that as a part of our evolution as human beings, we’ll start to recognize old patterns and traditional views for what they are – obsolete ideas and repressive norms.
The institution of marriage isn’t any more sacred than the institution of divorce, or singlehood, or dating, or open relating, etc. Each one constitutes an option or a choice which is valid and healthy… as long as the decision we make about them is coming from a space of awareness, freedom and commitment to growth.
If the decision to stay in a relationship is motivated by religious guilt, fear, financial pressure, social expectations or worry about the kids, then the couple should seriously reconsider their commitment to each other. I’m not saying that they should necessarily separate but that they need to find better reasons to stay together.
These ‘better reasons’ can be different for different people.
It can be all about companionship, great sex, growth and healing, emotional support or common goals. But the decision should come from a place of free will and conscious awareness and not from a space of duty, obligation or moral norms upheld in your social environment.
I grew up in a Catholic family and the values and norms of the Catholic church were strongly imposed on my mind. But Catholic morality doesn’t feel authentic to me and I cannot accept it in my life. Promising someone that I’ll stand by them until death is something that I see as unhealthy and even potentially toxic.
But instead of that, why not stay together for as long as it serves both of us and makes us happy?
Why not stay together until we complete some kind of common goals that brought us together in the first place?
Why not stay together for as long as we both feel inspired to?
So this Valentine’s Day I wish all of us a celebration of relationships which are healthy, meaningful and full of conscious choices… even if they don’t last forever!
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