Tag Archives: self-awareness

Bridging Differences: The Art of a Compassionate Marriage

All too often we receive questions for Alana asking advice on relationship and marriage conflicts.

A love relationship will have its ups and downs because this is a part of cohabitation and sharing a life together.

But why are some relationships more compatible while others are filled with power struggles and conflicts?

In the following question and answer session, Alana helps the questioner find clarity. Alana assists in creating a space to move beyond a dysfunctional cycle of trying to figure out who is wrong and who is right, into a space of curiosity and self exploration.

Alana’s answer uses a relationship quiz developed by Kirk VandenBerghe for defining personal values. This is a perfect tool for couples to take independently or together. The information gained can help reveal relationship compatibilities and differences so couples can have greater self-awareness and begin building common ground for resolving their issues with one another.

Question for Alana: Hi, Alana. My husband and I have been married nine years now and could use some relationship help.

From the start, we have had small irritations. But recently the tolerance levels have come down a lot.

He feels that he is doing so much for our family and me and that I am not reciprocating. I feel that I am giving up so much of what I am for him and our family and still not getting a breather from the issues he seems to have with me.

I have been reading up a lot on past lives and wonder if it’s something there that is causing us to go round and round.

Should I back down or stand up for what I think are unnecessary comments and expectations?

I feel that I have put up and heard enough. But I can’t make out who is right. Obviously, everyone does and says what they think is right. It may not matter, but I feel rather stuck and not sure how to break the cycle.

Alana’s Answer: Greetings, Dear One, and thank you for posting your question and for acknowledging your desire to better understand the dynamics in your love relationship. Let’s see if we can find a way to change this cycle expressed in your marriage.

First, let us view your question from several different perspectives so we may find a more productive way to expand the communication within your marriage. This can help the two of you find greater common ground. Then Alana will point you to a series of exercises, which when taken to heart and acted upon, can help to expand your capacity to support each other on your shared life path.

Many couples do have shared past life experiences, which can sometimes be fascinating to explore. There are so many factors we could examine from a physical and spiritual perspective that might bring an “ah ha” experience. However, this may not aid in helping the two of you learn to be together with greater compatibility.

Relationship Differences

IndifferenceAlso, couples often get caught up in the day-to-day needs to the extent that they forget the simplicity of connectedness, which is based on love and respect for each other’s exceptional beingness. Many couples have yet to view their relationship as a team, a co-creative partnership.

We are all the same in our desire to share love, yet at the same time we are unique. This leads some couples to share more compatibility traits than others. Sometimes couples are drawn together because of their differences so they can learn how to further develop aspects of themselves.

Sometimes people are drawn together on an emotional level, later realizing they lack mental and spiritual compatibility. They connect on one level and it becomes the magnet that draws them together, forgetting to notice if they are compatible in other ways.

Does this doom the relationship over time? Sometimes, if the couples are not willing to grow to understand each other’s full natures. If they would just allow impartial curiosity to move them beyond their attachments they could learn more by exploring each other’s deeper intrinsic values.

So let’s move past the need to know or be right, and seek deeper answers, which may help you both learn how to relate from a new level of awareness. Then perhaps your differences will soften because a greater understanding of your and his deeper intentions will express with greater compassion for each other’s core needs and values.

What are Your Shared Compatible Values?

Let’s create the intent to explore the deeper essence of each of your individual natures so we may find the compatible values, and the underlying facets of your natures that are expressed with the friction you describe.

This must be done by releasing a blaming state of mind as you move to a place for gathering understanding. Then a bridge can be made that will support you both. This common ground can become the bridge for better communication and understanding that transforms into compassion and relational wisdom.

For a preview of the first exercise > Discover Your Negotiable and Non-Negotiable Values

This is an exercise each of you can do. See if you can be curious during this discovery process and leave judgment behind. As you discover each of your deeper intentions, you will be shown that you are each just “who you are.” Then the actions of attempting to change the other person to accommodate each other’s needs and values will lessen.

The Art of Compromise

Before I share the next exercises let me give you an example of a couple who were blessed with a baby, their first.

The mother had a desire to stay at home and be with their baby until the infant was old enough to start school. However, the father felt they should have his mother watch the baby during the day so his wife could go back to work. He felt it was more important to have the extra income to support their lifestyle needs.

Can you see how neither choice was right or wrong? They both had different perspectives and values, which led to different needs and desires for support.

Through discovery, communication, and examination of possibility, the two found solutions.

Yes, there was compromise from both parties, but neither crossed the line of giving up their non-negotiable needs. If they would have blamed and gone on without taking the time to explore possibility, the two parents may have created resentment, adding to a mountain of misunderstanding.

They could have gone on to spin the situation and “triangulate” with the husband’s mother, which could have made matters even worse.

Instead, this couple each wanted to respect the other’s values and needs. They moved beyond blaming and needing to be right. They saw their marriage as a team effort.

A Marriage is a Team Effort

The wife discovered that her husband’s desire for her to go back to work came from a need to make sure the family remained stable. She was able to listen to him without feeling that her need to be with her child was being threatened. The husband understood his wife’s value to care for their child with her full attention. He learned her intention came from a place of love versus being selfish or denying their needs as a family. Both knew neither was right and neither was wrong, but had values they felt were important.

Eventually, the husband found a way to increase his hours at work one day a week. The wife found a way to work at home part-time, a couple days a week. Their differences were addressed. Although the extra income wasn’t quite as much as if the wife went to work full-time, it was enough to meet their needs. These options came to be because the couple created a neutral space to explore possibility. Solutions were made available because their consciousness could draw in the opportunities.

So often we forget that our conscious attention is a component of what we manifest. When we combine our attention with greater awareness, shifts of perception will open avenues to explore.

Holding this example as a model of successful relationship communication and collaboration, let us move to a series of exercises that can help build a new foundation for your marriage.

Building a Foundation for a Lasting Marriage

Smiling CoupleAlana is going to point you to a series of articles that offer questions you both can explore separately and then together.

By taking an inventory of your greater values, you will come to better understand how each of you has different needs and why they are expressed the way they are. You will come to learn why the desire for support in one area of life may be greater than another area. You may identify how your needs will never be met by changing the other person, but by becoming a fuller and more compassionate expression of yourselves.

If you can create the space for exploring this series together, your open discussion of what you learn will be very helpful in solving the irritations and demands that have been building in your relationship over time.

Even if your partner is not willing to do this with you, by doing it solo you will still learn a lot about yourself. Even self-awareness can be enough to change the dynamics in a relationship, opening space for the partner to make a shift.

Begin by becoming familiar with creating your own values list, then move on to the three-part Relationship Quiz designed to help you discover your values. Doing so will provide a better understanding of each other. This is much more than a compatibility test, as it will put you in touch with your authentic nature.

For Part One, visit > Relationship Quiz

Good luck in your exploration. May you both find greater peace and happiness.

~~ Alana