Sharla told me about a book she read once that talks about the maturing of relationships. It covers four stages of depth in a relationship and most couples stay at a level two, where they know each other well, but the doors of weakness stay closed, and they just remain in static contentedness. But the couples who open doors of weakness, aware of limitations and points of resistance between them, climb to a higher rung of unity. And then those who actually work on ripping out the roots of lifelong negative habit, and do it in a way that's with each other and not against each other, move to the deepest stage of maturity. That takes such an amount of courage and vulnerability and faith and my gosh, humility. A quote from the book-
More recently, the need to integrate our spiritual and intimate lives, rather than maintaining separate spheres and relationships on autopilot, has become increasingly apparent. Given the high rates of infidelity and divorce, it would seem that the possibilities of freedom through intimacy have not been explored in much depth. Too often we pull away when relationships become difficult, missing out on the rewards of connecting more profoundly.
The passage from immature to mature monogamy is not only a journey of ripening intimacy with a partner, but also a journey into and through zones of ourselves that may be very difficult to accept and integrate with the rest of our being … how to navigate the thickets of reactivity, conflict, shame, anger, fear, and doubt, but how to understand them in a new light so that a deeper level of relating to oneself and one’s partner becomes possible, opening new levels of trust, commitment, and love. (Transformation Through Intimacy)
The last few weeks, Ryan and I have been taking hands and opening more inner doors to The Self. Because what happens when a relationship keeps maturing? Doors keep opening along the discovery route. I'm like, "yeah peer around, come to know me - NO, NOT DOOR 87! Go back to door 12 and admire that one, I just need to do some quick house cleaning here for a second."
But in the pursuit of deeper intimacy, relationships must extract such impurities if they wish to be as intimate and close as both Ryan and I desire ours to be. To which, we each give honest awareness to what is impeding our highest level of connection with each other, and then bear the vulnerability and pain of severing away ingrained habits. It is a process of exposing oneself and being reborn. Only it is within the bonds of incredible love and safety. The place I have found most satisfying to render personal development.
And Ryan's love and willingness to improve is unwavering. That man does not budge in his commitment to me, no matter the messiness behind my Door 87. When I asked him how he maintains such incredible resolution, he told me two quotes from two of his favorite books, "you must always 'confront the brutal facts but never lose faith.'" (Good to Great). And "for what you really want, you must 'persevere without exception.'" (The Seven Decisions).
I feel so in control and happy with all my open doors, as well as all of Ryan's. I'm sure there are ever more doors to discover in each of us. But I feel so proud of the priority I made long ago on constantly improving myself, even if I still had dark doors I couldn't understand yet, because I've never been afraid of owning personal housecleaning if some needs to be done. And now, I'm very happy to be inside of such relationship that is the same. One that is so deep and pure and full of unconditional love.
"...Can the purpose of a relationship be to trigger our wounds? In a way, yes, because that is how healing happens; darkness must be exposed before it can be transformed. The purpose of an intimate relationship is not that it be a place where we can hide from our weaknesses, but rather where we can safely let them go. It takes strength of character to truly delve into the mystery of an intimate relationship, because it takes the strength to endure a kind of psychic surgery, an emotional and psychological and even spiritual initiation into the higher Self. Only then can we know an enchantment that lasts.
Marianne Williamson (The Mystical Power of Intimate Relationships)
"...all the people I’ve ever deeply admired are profoundly honest about their own weaknesses. They have identified their core sin."
-David Brooks (one of my favorite authors)
Upward and onward,
The beautiful apple blossoms blooming outside my bedroom window. Perfect representation of being reborn and becoming.