When most of us picture an ideal relationship, we picture something like this: Two people who are the most important person in the world to each other, completely trusting of each other, supportive of each other’s dreams and life’s challenges, and enjoy time together in adventure, play, touch, and sex. Who wouldn’t want such a loving relationship, with a shared life that is rich, healthy, purposeful, and fulfilling?
Many of us partner with hopes of achieving this potential, only to discover that experiences of loneliness, disconnection, anger, and judgement turn their dreams into something painful and unrewarding. In fact, most people experience far more pain in their closest relationship, connected with these experiences, than in any other area of life.
It is important to understand that pain and disconnection are inevitable experiences in our closest relationships, and that these experiences hold the seeds for a deeper and better relationship. Where there is pain and disconnection, there is something that is missing from our relationship; there is also hope to find it. Hope for growth and evolution. Hope for new levels of understanding, caring, and healing of hurts from the recent or distant past.
Pain and disconnection, along with unfulfilled hopes, may come up over and over again in our relationships, until growth, understanding, and healing is achieved. When we experience pain and disconnection coming up again and again, when we don’t understand and know how to connect with and heal the pain, it is common and natural to come to critical conclusions about ourselves, our partner, and our relationship.
When pain and disconnection come up and continue unresolved, it is important to find someone to help us understand what’s happening through compassionate and nonjudgmental eyes. This could be an older couple who’ve worked through the same cycles of disconnection, a couple therapist, or even a book that can help us.
All of us bring unresolved baggage from our childhood, and even past generations, to our closest relationships. When that pain comes up between us, it is not because there’s something wrong with us, but because it’s between us that we have the most hope for understanding, caring, and healing. What makes a great relationship isn’t the absence of avoidance of pain, but to be ultimately successful in healing it together.
Please share if you’re struggling to find healing, or been successful in finding a healing path.
Photo by Chad Madden on Unsplash