“It doesn’t matter how much two people love one another if they are developmentally incompatible, or if there is not a shared willingness to become conscious. This is why they call it a relationship instead of a loveship. Love alone is not enough. If you want it to last, you have to relate to each other in ways that keep the ship afloat.” ~Jeff Brown
I came across this quote from Jeff on his Facebook page this morning. It puts several of my past failed relationships into perspective. I can think of several relationships where I loved the other person dearly and was loved equally as much in return, and yet the relationships still fell apart. I have so often blamed myself for not loving enough (or sometimes blamed the other person for not loving enough) and have wondered what I was doing wrong that I could not manage to find a love that lasted. And yet, looking back, every single one of the relationships that has failed lacked that shared willingness to become conscious.
I think this is the key to the problem for me. Although I have often loved deeply and intensely, I have not done a good job at choosing relationships where both of us were in a similar place in our needs, goals, or stages of growth. I am an intensely spiritual person and my inner life and relationship to the Divine are my highest priorities, but I have generally chosen to be in relationships with people who were not interested in these things. This difference produced tensions in every relationship that caused us to slowly grow apart as our focus was on different things.
Oddly enough, despite the fact that I am a hopeless romantic, this quote gives me great hope. I long to live a life that is shared in an intimate partnership with another, and this may give me a clue as to what I need to change in order to better choose the next time I am ready to enter into this kind of relationship. I need to look for someone who I can relate to in the areas about which I am most passionate and about which they are most passionate. I need to find someone who shares a similar willingness to become conscious of themselves, of life, of others, of our shared relationship. I need to find someone who is compatible with me developmentally, who is growing in the same ways and same directions so that we can evolve together.
I know this can be done. I have friends who have been together for years who are as delighted with one another’s company today as they were when they began. The joy that each one receives from their relationship is obvious even to those who hardly know them. Yes, they love each other dearly, but it’s also greater than that. Love is important, it’s necessary, it’s vital, but it’s not enough. The next time I fall in love, I will need to clearly look beyond the love to ensure that these other qualities are present before I commit to the relationship because I want to be sure to have a true relationship next time, not just a loveship.