SHINE … By the Spirit™ with Tonya M. Evans
The Joy of Loving Well
© 2012 Tonya M. Evans
March 2, 2012
Our culture seems to be obsessed with romantic love. It’s featured in every romantic comedy, soap opera, romance novel and reality show. People seem enamored (and misled) by this fantasy of the kind of love you somehow “fall” into. Our culture promotes the early stage of sparks and fiery passionate connections when each person shows their ideal selves, not to be confused (of course) with their real selves. The real self, often the fearful self, emerges later when it thinks the coast is clear or when we’re just too tired to keep up the facade.
The truth is most of us are wearing the mask of who we aspire to be or who we think the other person (or family and friends) want us to be in relationship. But the ideal self can only mask the true self for a short period of time. And then it happens … two real selves show up, the masks fade and the real work begins; the task, the challenge and the joy of loving well. The fiery passion and intensity of “new love” is only the first step in a long-term love built to endure both good and challenging times. In fact, I’d argue that “new love” isn’t real love at all. Lust maybe, but not love.
New love is a spark that ignites quickly into a fire that burns hot. But it can burn out just as quickly unless it is stoked with the slow burning logs of a firm commitment by both parties to ensure the survival of the “we” by showing up fully and loving completely in all circumstances.
We ensure the survival of “we” when we commit to the spiritual development of each individual involved. Participating in and experiencing your own growth as your partner grows with you in kind is pure joy! It isn’t always happy. It isn’t always fun. But joy exists because God exists when two people show up fully to support the other in their spiritual development.
Gary Zukov describes the joy of loving well as forming a spiritual partnership. He defines this as: a partnership between equals for the purpose of spiritual growth.
So loving well is loving with a purpose; the purpose of spiritual growth. And whenever your relationship goals are aligned with Spirit then that is pure joy!
Experiencing joy in relationship doesn’t mean unending happiness; it means that each person is evolving in the context and safety of the relationship toward their best self. It means that when conflict arises and your partner expresses a need that requires you to change, the change is actually welcomed because it is for your ultimate good. Joy in relationships, then, exists when both partners are evolving individually and at the same time committed to an ever evolving partner and relationship.
If you seek joy in partnership, commit to spiritual growth, in your partner and in yourself. Here are some guidelines from Gary Zukov s on how to form and maintain a spiritual partnership.
For more spiritual food for thought from Tonya, visit www.wisdominthewhisper.com