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One of the most powerful motivators for many to become involved in spiritual activities is to find their "soul-mate." The conviction is that each one of us has a true spiritual partner for this life and our spiritual destiny. Whether you believe this or not, we all have the potential to make a romantic relationship into a spiritual partnership. Some believe that this should be a fairly easy process. If it were, there would be an exponential number of spiritual partnerships in our society. There are a number of questions to ask oneself in determining whether we’re in or prepared for a spiritual partnership. Let's take each of these key questions as a means of developing our plan for creating a spiritual romantic partnership in this life. All-together, answering these questions will help fulfill the spiritual principle: each of us creates relationships based on our attitude and orientation in relationships.
From Life Struggles....to Living by Spirit
Creating a Spiritual Romantic Partnership
By Jef Bartow
Our first question is: How well do your intimate relationships fulfill your emotional needs and need for time together? To answer this question, we first have to define what are our emotional needs. For some, it may mean that our partner must be empathetic and/or sympathetic to our life struggles. It can also be that our partner fulfills our need for caring, loving, support and appreciation. For many, time together is an indicator of emotional relatedness. Unfortunately, the quantity of time usually does not correspond to the quality of time together. It is far better to interact two or three times a week in a loving and spiritual manner than to live together based on typical human standards. A good spiritual exercise for those in long-term relationships is to create and least one weekly activity that does not include your partner. Create this activity so that it and those involved will help fulfill your emotional needs. This is an excellent way of taking steps to resolve co-dependency that characterizes many relationships. A good long-term spiritual goal is to create a partnership based on inter-independence. Is your sexual relationship loving, caring and fun? Although there are periods on the spiritual Path when we need to be celibate, sex is not incompatible with spiritual attainment. Like most every thing in spiritual growth, the key is our attitude, orientation and behaviors. A great first step in spiritualizing sex is qualifying our sex life based on love, care and enjoyment. And most importantly, it's how you approach it and make it that way. For us males, this usually means to resist equating sex with love. Love and sex are two different energies that express differently whether mentally, imaginatively, emotionally, instinctually or physically. Many expressions of love and care are not sexual at all. We need love, care and sex energy in our lovemaking. For many females, sometimes there is a need to let go of the emotional issues of the day to make lovemaking more exciting, fun and mutually beneficial. Many men will say that all sex is good, but over the years sex usually becomes contaminated by other issues in the relationship and any lack of meaning in our lives. Mutually beneficial sex requires both partners to work on this part of the relationship, just like every other part of a spiritual romantic partnership. Do you still have communication issues? Freud hit on a powerful tool in looking at ourselves on the spiritual Path. Our "Freudian slips" are always indicators of how our subconscious is not consistent with our conscious attitude. Identifying communication issues in a relationship is a powerful step in identifying relationship issues that are not being addressed. And the key to using communication to evaluate our relationships is not by learning to better understanding what was said, but the way it was said and what energy was communicated in the process. Another important question to ask ourselves is: Does our partner support our spiritual aspirations? The vast majority of relationships that we begin without a clear mutual understanding of our spiritual commitment will fail to become a spiritual partnership. Also, in almost every case when only one partner makes substantial changes focused on spiritualizing their life, the romantic relationship will sooner or later end. This is not bad. It is a reality that the spiritual Path requires an extra-human attitude and orientation. Spiritually climbing your Mount Everest is difficult. Almost every aspect of your life will change in the process. Our last key question in creating a spiritual romantic partnership is: Do you have a process to resolve issues? The resistance to answering this question is the assumption that when in a spiritual relationship, our spiritual commitment will take care of the issues. Unfortunately, human nature gets in the way by motivating us either to get our way through confrontation or by avoiding the issue. Resolving issues will rarely work on its own and usually requires a specific commitment and technique that can be objectively applied. This is why we need a spiritual contract with our partner. For most of us, we expect to receive a covenant from God based on our spiritual commitment. In the same way, we need to make a spiritual covenant with our partner in creating a spiritual partnership. A good spiritual contract will include a definition of our needs and our wants. Categories of needs include: time together/alone, emotional fulfillment, communication, spiritual support, intimacy and sex and daily/weekly responsibilities, to name a few. From a thorough reflection and definition of both needs and wants, loving and caring communication and negotiation can then take place until each partner can fully commit to the contract. In the process, many wants will need to disappear or be revised. In many cases, genuine needs may have to be resolved through other relationships. In all cases, the contract will need to be periodically reviewed to assure that it represents the current and mutual commitment of each partner. One of the most difficult aspects of the spiritual Path is the reality that every part of our human nature will be transformed in becoming our potential spiritual Beingness. Creating a spiritual romantic partnership from personality to personality is a great way to externalize our commitment in creating a spiritualizing partnership with our God Within. For those of you currently in a long-term romantic relationship, use each of these questions to evaluate this key relationship. Otherwise and additionally, use your past romantic relationships to evaluate how they have prepared you for a spiritual partnership. The best indication of our future performance in a relationship is based on our past performance in relationships. If our past relationships have typically been human oriented, creating a spiritual partnership will require a completely different attitude and orientation.