Cultivating a deep and intimate relationship over a period of decades means there will be times of transcendent happiness and also times of suffering and unhappiness. There is this duality in a relationship.
Learning how to stick it out is an art. John Welwood’s article “Intimate Relationship as a Spiritual Crucible” in Lion’s Roar (September 2017) offers some guidance.
This involves learning to ride the waves of our feelings rather than becoming submerged by them. This requires mindfulness of where we are in the cycle of emotional experience. A skilled surfer is aware of exactly where he is on the wave, whereas an unskilled surfer winds up getting creamed. By their very nature, waves are rising fifty percent of the time and falling the other fifty percent. Instead of fighting the down cycles of our emotional life, we need to learn to keep our seat on the surfboard and have a full, conscious experience going down.
Can you live and practice with the ups and downs of our relationships? My experience is that it’s possible and offers a richness to life that can’t be compared.