When we married and made the commitment to serve each other in becoming more aware and having deeper contact with the Divine, we did not have any clear idea of how to do so. It is only now, looking back over more than 30 years of practice that we can assess what was necessary and what helped. Although there are practices that we can describe, the most fundamental requirement is for both partners to have the right attitude. We did not realise it at the time, but our attitudes were forged in our engagements with therapy, groups, and Enlightenment Intensives. The end result was that we both:
(a) always prioritised wanting to know the truth in any situation between us. This included wanting to know if it was right for us to remain in relationship. Independently we both recognised that if it wasn’t right for us to be together then the sooner we knew this the better. So we whole heartedly subscribed to the notion that “the truth shall set you free’.
(b) had a profound belief that more awareness of ourselves was always beneficial, even if in the short term it might be embarrassing or shameful. We also knew that our relationship would always benefit from each step taken by one of us, and that the benefit would be realised quicker the sooner we shared the increased awareness.
(c) recognised that everything that happened to us could be used to increase our awareness. So rather than remaining critical of other people or complaining about how we had been victimised, we converted any problem into an opportunity to learn.
As well as fostering these attitudes our engagement with Intensives also gave us direct knowledge of ourselves and a greater sense of existence. We both participated in an Intensive in London early in our relationship and both had an experience of ourselves that helped break some of the trips between us. Knowing who you are, separate from mind, body and personality is extremely helpful in relinquishing trips (a longer explanation is available here). It was also essential for me to gain a view of existence that was greater than simply material existence i.e. some transcendent awareness, what I now refer to as the Divine.
Looking back we have often realised the significance of knowing who we are and of having the attitude described above. Indeed the rest of what we regard as our practice on the Relationship Path is set out in the Principles section of the website. The Principles were assembled and written out explicitly to explain to others what it was that we did to create and maintain our relationship. My experience has been that couples will find something useful amongst the Principles, but it is different for each couple.
There are three general issues that I wish to emphasise here
The first is the importance of acceptance, of yourself and of your partner. There is a later section explaining this at length, and a danger involved. If there are aspects of your partner of which you are critical then use the Criticalness Exercise. If you find it hard to accept yourself then undertake some negotiations or ask your wise man for advice.
The second general issue is that of spending enough quality time together. This is particularly hard if one or both of you are leading busy lives. When Eva and I were very busy we noticed that for the first three days of a holiday we would be arguing and short with each other. It was only after we had slowed down and shed a layer of stress that we were able to start relating in depth. The only way to develop your relationship, to go deeper and to have more love, is to have longer periods of uninterrupted quality time together.
Finally I want to emphasise the importance of talking together – and by this I mean talking a lot. When people ask Eva “what is the secret of your relationship?” she often answers “No secrets”. By this she means that we continuously share everything that happens to us together. In our retired lifestyle we probably talk together a minimum of 4 hours a day, more usually six to eight hours. As a result we have a profound understanding of each other – and are continually encouraging each other to be more real, taking risks, complimenting each other and expressing our appreciation of each other. It is in this process of continuous sharing that our relationship deepens and the love and acceptance between us grows.
There are other facets of our relationship that contribute to its maintenance, for example the ways in which we help each other physically using massages and a process known as zero-balancing. But the stuff central to developing the relationship is that outlined above.