HEALING RELATIONSHIPS, PART 2
By Dr Charmaine Saunders
Acceptance is for the other person; boundaries are for yourself. They are invisible barriers, limits between you and your external reality. After communication, I¹d say this is the next most crucial relationship skill.
With healthy boundaries, co-dependence goes out the window. A co-creative relationship becomes possible, where each person is responsible for him/herself. There¹s no projection, dumping of anger, blame, guilt or any of those negative processes that cut into loving feelings.
Closeness is important but so is emotional and physical space. Time apart can be as valuable as time spent together because it refreshes and renews the relationship. Some couples even enjoy separate holidays and certainly spending time outside the home on individual pursuits is healthy, be it career, socialising with friends, hobbies, sport, taking courses and so on.
Within the home, it¹s preferable for each person to have a room or space that is their own a study, sewing room, nook or corner of the garden.
After all, even in a marriage, each person has his/her own separate journey, which also necessitates commitment of time and energy.
Funnily enough, differences can engender a lot of strength in a relationship. They can tear partners apart if they¹re focussed on, but if cherished can offer fertile ground for growth and learning. The French say,
`Vive la difference¹ long live difference! I translate this as let¹s celebrate our differences. That¹s what makes life and love interesting. By valuing the ways in which our partners are different to us, we can expand our own personal knowledge, be more moderate in our behaviour, more tolerant of behaviour that we find irritating. Extremes are never healthy; balance
and working towards the middle is the key.
I¹ve left this until last because it encompasses everything else that is necessary to sustain a long-term relationship. Love is not about being happy all the time or agreeing with each other constantly or even thinking alike.
It¹s about respect, wanting to be happy and also glorying in the other¹s success and wellbeing. Caring, compassion, companionship, closeness and communication lots of alliteration but these just happen to be keycomponents of love, the kind of love that goes beyond initial attraction and the practical ties that hold people together, even beyond children, joint finances, family and habit. It¹s mutual support, working as a team and staying through the tough times.