Growth In Relationships

Growth in relationships is inevitable.  It it doesn't happen, the relationship can grow stale and even fall apart. 


Every relationship we have is a vehicle for growth and change.  The little "Challenges" and arguments give you the opportunity to explore areas of your life and yourself, where you can address old wounds and emotional beliefs that no longer serve you.  By doing this, you're given the opportunity for growth and healing.

If you don't grow, there's a risk any relationship will eventually end. When someone isn't able to move beyond past emotional hurts, resentment builds up.  This resentment, over time, erodes any relationship.  As a means to endure, and as a survival mechanism, we tend to shut down our emotions.  But when you do, you also shut down your ability to feel joy and love as well.

Growth in Marriage = Growth in Self

All we grow up, we're presented with difficulties and challenges.  It's part of life and the maturation process. These difficulties cause us to make decisions about other people and life in general. The decisions are made in an effort to keep us safe.  "This person is safe.  That person is scary", etc.   As a species, we're meant to survive. These decisions help us know and identify situations or people who can be threatening to us.   We then go about trying to avoid future encounters with someone or something that represents a similar danger.
The problem with these decisions, is they're usually made at a young age - before we have the ability to apply logical thinking. Logical thinking hasn't developed at an early age.  When we're young, the brain is functioning in "survival mode"  So something that appears scary to a 3 yr old, wouldn't necessarily bother an adult.  Unfortunately, fear goes very deeply into the brain and the decision-making process.  It represents a true danger to survival.  As we mature, this deep fear doesn't go away.  It's buried in the subconscious mind until a similar situation arises.  This is what's referred to as "being triggered".  It doesn't have to be something that's equally as frightening.  It just has to be something similar in nature.  When this happens, the old feelings of terror emerge and the person reacts to the present situation as if it's the original one.
As you go through life, you can be hurt, emotionally by another person. All of these little hurts and encounters are recorded in your subconscious.  When someone you're in a relationship with does something that represents one of these past dangers or hurts, the past memory is activated, unconsciously, and you can react - not always appropriate to the situation.  The other person has "pushed your buttons".

When this happens, our reaction many times is much more intense than the situation calls for. But what can you do about it?  Are you stuck with an instinctual "knee jerk" reaction?  One that possibly can do damage to your current relationship?  Or do you have a choice?
The answer is "yes, you do have a choice".  You can choose to examine whether or not your reaction was appropriate to the situation.  You can choose to not let your reaction cause damage to the marriage or relationship.  You can also pull your partner aside, in a calmer moment and ask them to share their experience of what happened.  You can gain enormous insights into how you react from another person's perspective.
Once you have these insights, you can go to work on examining and healing any past events or beliefs that get in the way of maintaining love and security within, not only your marriage, but within yourself.
While not always easy, it will benefit not only you in the growth you achieve, but also all of the relationships in your life.  When you  do the work of letting go of past hurts, fears, and upsets, you'll feel an amazing sense of calm in your life.  The growth in yourself, as well as the growth in your marriage is the reward.

Surrender to the process

When you stop to see how disagreements in any of your relationships are an opportunity to see something from another perspective and to examine whether or not there are past hurts you'd like to let go of - once and for all, it becomes easier to surrender to the process. When you do, you welcome in growth, happiness, and a sense of calm to your life. 
For an excellent book on understanding and learning to successfully navigate through your romantic relationships, check out: Be Loved For Who You Really Are  The book covers all of the stages of love, from Stage 1, falling in love, through the more challenging aspects.  The authors discuss ways to navigate through them and arrive at Stage 4, which is the same level of joy and excitement you had during the "honeymoon" phase of your relationship, except now you have a broader sense of acceptance and maturity, and are able to stay in the "honeymoon" phase. 
To your happiness......Sumi

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