I’ve been collecting relationship advice…

I’ve been collecting relationship advice these past six months from my community. My dear friend and colleague Lloyd weighs in…

“Over the holidays I made a special effort to discover what makes a solid relationship. I asked happy couples about their success and observed the mistakes failed couples were making. Here is the insight I gained:

Be friends first. Genuinely get to know and like the person before you develop intimacy. This entails respecting your partner’s family and friends even if you don’t like them.

Have a hobby each of you are passionate about even if not shared by your partner. Being happy apart is essential to being happy together.

Each of you should have a support group of friends. Caring for others is the same skill as caring for you. And it shares the load.

Clear the major show-stopping obstacles before developing intimacy. Be sure the other is fiscally responsible and has no undisclosed debt or legal problems. Have agreement on children.

Having become friends with someone who is already happy before you met, who has a life, and who brings no insurmountable obstacles to your happiness, you decide to move toward intimacy. These are some of the elements I have seen bring success:

Be sure you are sexually compatible before you commit yourself to a lifetime together. Sexual exclusivity defines marriage. If the bed isn’t happy nothing else matters.

Make your partner feel safe enough to trust you with the deepest of secrets.

Respect your partner’s privacy. Never go through your partner’s private phone, email or other correspondence.

Accept your partner’s past and present outside relationships. No one comes to a new relationship without baggage. Jealousy is the best way to drive a partner away.

Avoid telling the details of your other intimate relationships to your partner unless there is a very good reason. It usually hurts and rarely helps.

Learn to express anger, fear and sorrow without attacking your partner. There is a huge difference between “You made me angry” and “You are selfish.” Never, ever, in word or body language or facial expression show disgust or contempt. Relationships cannot survive contempt.

Share food. Cook for each other with an eye to both health and enjoyment. Feeding a partner is especially powerful in building strong bonds.

May daily “us time” a priority. Touch, hug and kiss often. Build a bed-time routine that culminates in undisturbed love-making before falling asleep.

Build secrets that just the two of you share. Private memories and inside jokes are the substance of your unique relationship.”

– Lloyd

The Warrior’s Bond – Intimacy in Battle

Kissing - painting by Alex Grey

Kissing – painting by Alex Grey

A friend and colleague Lloyd writes in:

I want to see a return to the adoration of the Earth Mother, but I also think our day is unique in that men and women have never been able to work together, shoulder to shoulder, like this before. The differences in strength, size and temperament matter less now. Traditional roles and stereotypes are no longer appropriate. I think finding sexual synergy and combining our energies in ways that don’t just complement each other but enhance our combined powers is vital.

 
Forgive the reversion to my scientist personality, but I’ve been thinking a lot about bonding lately. We know something of the role of oxytocin in creating emotional bonding when lovers couple and when mothers suckle their infants. But something like that also occurs between soldiers who have been to battle together. I can assure you we do not (usually) couple or suckle. But a strong bond is formed and I’m not sure what the mechanism is. For men there is a clear line between sexual and non sexual bonding that I think is less defined between women. But what happens when women and men bond in the way warriors bond? Will it work without the sexual bonding pushing it aside or conflicting in some way? Sex tends to get in the way rather than empower. If you have any insight, I’d love to hear it.
 
With much affection,

Lloyd

Dear Lloyd,

Always a joy to hear from you.  Here are a few things that come to mind….

Because the emotional chakra and the sexual chakra are hence the same chakra our ‘feeling center’ or center of clarisentience – ‘clear feeling’ or in some cases ‘not so clear feeling’ (seems to me things can get pretty mucked up in this area with all the conditions, restrictions and limitations we put on ourselves), I’m not surprised that when strong emotional experiences unfold between two people, sexual experiences generally follow.

In any sort of deeply impacting or traumatizing situation this of course includes war, it is natural to feel close to another human being who has shared the same experience.   The experience of trauma and tragedy, particularly in war, in many ways dissolves boundaries and barriers both internal and external between you and another human being.  We catch, in moments of catastrophe, holy witnesses and glimpses of “God” in each other.  These moments forever bond individuals.
I am reminded of two Korean men I met at King Spa in New Jersey last month. I was sitting in the ice room with a few of my girlfriends who had joined me for a spa trip.  These men probably in their mid seventies sat across from each other in silence.  Eventually I engaged one of the men in conversation and he was more than happy to speak about his love for the bathhouse and his relationship to his friend who was sitting next to him who he fought with on the American side of the Korean war.  They made special trips to see each other each year leaving their spouses at home, year after year.  They were silent in the bathhouse, very little communication passing between them, but I could feel their bond was sacred.  It was something they needed to do for themselves to honor what had transpired in their time together.
As far as men and women, now, assuming we are looking through a heterosexual lens, I think that because the emotional stakes of war initiations create such deep grooves in ones emotional energetic system, it is natural to bond to those who share the same experience and perhaps even creates an intimacy that one would not experience otherwise between two people.  In my practice of teachings sacred sexuality, I have the privilege and the responsibility of seeing the most intimate aspects of individuals on a daily basis.  The way I keep myself clear and contained is to create sacred space and to release any energetic hooking or cording that has transpired between myself and my clients and colleagues at the end of our time together.  This keeps me grounded, the space of intimacy specific and out of a cycle of projection and energetic loose ends.
That said, there have been on a handful of occasions a person or energy that we were not able to let go of the sacred space together and that involved a mutual desire to continue exploring the relationship.  These occasions were rare and developed into wonderful consensual friendships and relationships as the communication was clear between us about wanting to continue to explore each others energies and feelings.  My question to you is, in the event of a powerful initiation that brings a warrior closer to another warrior, it is useful to ask oneself, is this someone who I truly desire to be in relationship with, if so what is the best form of the relationship?  Is this someone I journey to see once a year, the love of my life, a pen pal, or someone who I hold in thought when I remember my fallen brothers and sisters and give a silent prayer of thank you he/she is still alive and well today.
You spoke of sex ‘getting in the way’ in these relationships.  Here’s where I would split your attention.  Sex can indeed get in the way if it is not in the highest good for the nature of the relationship to become sexual or if we have previous agreements that we would be breaking in our lives or our potential sexual partners lives by becoming sexual.
But what if it was in the highest good?  And our agreements, feelings and sexual turn-on were all sympatico with our prospective partners, then sexuality could in fact further and deepen a bond between two people that have been desiring to feel and experience each other.  I find when I am feeling sexual towards someone, it is best to speak about it openly and transparently so that we are both on the same page.  At that point we can create a container for the sexuality, even if the container is simply the response of ‘Thank you for saying that.  I am not available to explore a sexual relationship with you.’  This at a minimum brings clarity, directness and simplicity to what could potential be a ‘complicated’ situation.
Thank you for bringing this amazing inquiry!