The Relationship Fix That Will Surprise You

by Ken Blackman  Oct 16, 2013

This is part 2 of an article on Spherical Relating. Be sure to read part 1 about conventional relationships, how they operate and why they tend to fail.

New compass points for thriving, resilient, sustainable, growing relationships:

Passion

We will need to be willing to travel downward into the depths, immersing ourselves deeply in the turbulent sea of emotions that pleasure-based relationships work so hard to smooth out—lust, heartbreak, obsession, jealousy, shame, romance, fighting, seduction, break-ups, reconciliation, etc. Because it's here that we find the key to reclaiming and igniting our passion. So rather than suppress and avoid these, we utilize them for their true value. It is here that we find a crucible hot enough to burn away all of the barriers that stand in the way of the passion we so desperately seek.

Purpose

We will need to rise above the inward-gazing focus of the two of us as the final point and purpose of our relationship, and expand to turn our attention to something bigger than ourselves. Traveling upward toward higher purpose, greater inclusion, and more involved contribution we will experience deep, lasting fulfillment that no amount of pleasure-based experience will ever match. We may already know this on a personal level without recognizing its importance for our relationship. By turning to stand side-by-side in shared purpose, the relationship acquires the raison d'être it needs to continue to thrive and grow.

Spherical destinations

Where do the vertical compass points get us? Brené Brown has famously said, "You cannot selectively numb emotion." When we stuff down anger, when we use food or television or shopping to escape from the intensity of grief or jealousy or shame, we’re also dulling our ability to feel joy, gratitude, happiness, reverence. We come into intimate relationship with another human being in order to feel deeply, to feel something that no other area of life gives us. So we either turn the volume down, or we take the brakes off and expand our capacity to feel, to be passionate.

Aversive and attractive passion aren’t opposites, passion is just passion. It’s raw power.

Relationship by definition requires leaving the confines of our own self-contained universe and expanding to include another: seeing and feeling them, inviting them in. Here lies compassion. Here we can find purpose, here our life gains meaning. Here we experience connection. And the relationship takes life, transcending the individual partners. I becomes we.

Eventually though, the relationship needs something outside of itself to connect to, to exist for. Otherwise it dies the same slow death the isolated individual does. Many couples find a deep sense of fulfillment raising children that breathes new life and sustainability into the relationship. Others connect with their community, go into business together or take on a cause they both believe in. What we do know is that the greater the purpose—the bigger the circle of love they cast—the more the relationship thrives.