Ten True Things:  Love and Relationships

By Jeanne Fiorini

We move on to Part Two in our conversation about “Ten True Things,” with a focus now on Love and Relationships.  As I have explained, if at 54 years of age I have wisdom, it is not because I am wise, but because I’m paying attention.  Nowhere is this more true than in the area of relationships.

Sixteen years of sitting with clients has offered a wonderful opportunity to examine the questions of meaning and interconnection.  If my own life does not afford the opportunity to learn the difference between what makes a relationship work and what is surely a recipe for disaster, the experiences of my clients will.  Gratefully, I have learned much from the joys and sorrows of other people.

The first statement in regard to relationships is a harsh truth.  Somewhere along the line, we inherited the romantic idea that Love can, will, and should, conquer all.  This is not what I’ve observed.  The First True Thing to be said about relationships is: 

No matter how much love, passion, or connection exists between two people, if there isn’t a similar vision of where the relationship is going, it ain’t gonna work.

A Similar Vision:  We don’t think too far into the future when we’re newly in love and things are wonderful.  The future doesn’t matter in the beginning.  But it is likely to become important eventually, when we decide that we want the partnership to “work,” once we’re invested, once we’re poking our heads out of the ditch we’ve dug for ourselves and are having trouble seeing the horizon. 

There are apt analogies for this need of a common vision.  If a couple gets lost while taking a road trip, how successful are they going to be in finding their way if they disagree about how to read the map?  Can a sailboat be guided by two people, each yanking the sail in different directions?  Can a horse be ridden by riders who aren’t in stride with each other?

I’ve seen many a relationship end, not for lack of love, but for lack of a shared notion of what the relationship is all about.  If you don’t agree about where you’re going, you’re going to have trouble getting there. 

The positive thing about this truth is that it can take the question, “Maybe we really didn’t love each other,” out of the equation.  That question can torment a person for a very long time, and is something that may not be answerable; it is too subjective, too amorphous, too confusing. 

The question leads to the mistrust of one’s own emotions, which can be debilitating for a time long beyond the specific loss of the relationship.  Better to loose a little trust in others than in oneself. 

For Relationship Truth Number Two, I’ll quote Kenny Rogers:

“You gotta know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em.”

Getting into a relationship is easy; getting out is tougher.  And no matter which path you take, there are so many balancing acts along the way! 

When is a conflict a learning experience designed to serve your highest good, and when is it just too much work? 

How much do you invest in the relationship, and at what point does that become at your own expense?

When does a healthy compromise become caving in … again?

When do you bite your tongue, and when do you raise holy hell?

When is it time to hang in there, and when is it time to call it quits?

These are the questions that try our souls.  To know where you stand with these kinds of questions is to truly know yourself.  Some people say that the real purpose of any relationship is to promote self-discovery.  I knew someone who, after six months of marriage, made the comment, “I understand now that getting married is simply choosing the person with whom you’re going to confront your issues.”

It’s all very trick business, this knowing when to hold and when to fold.  It takes integrity, self-awareness, clarity, and trust in yourself and in the larger process.  There probably isn’t One Right Answer, but it is essential to remember that there always is a choice.

Have you noticed that much of what we’ve talked about in these past two articles is both simple, and at the same time difficult?  It all sounds like a Gracie Allen statement sometimes: “How do you speak French?  You speak it the same way you speak English, you just use different words.”  Or, “If you want to catch more fish, use more hooks.”  There is deep truth in the ditsy humor of Gracie Allen; it’s what made her a genius.  Ditsy, yet intelligent.  Simple, yet difficult.  

Which leads us to Relationship Truth Number Three:

Because life’s great truths are enigmatic, so then must be relationships.

Consider the ambiguity alongside the inescapable truth of these statements:

We share the common bond of humanity, yet we each are ultimately alone.

The more one gives, the more one receives.

Nothing is fixed in stone, but some things remain the same throughout time.

We are our own unique selves, as well as the inclusive sum of what has come before us.

No wonder we struggle with being with one another!  Any relationship between two people is really a relationship between two entire families, two histories, and two sets of life experiences often as disparate as night and day.  More distant than Venus and Mars, you are from Jupiter, and I am from Neptune.

Relationships are the testing ground for the preconceived notions that we hold for ourselves and for others.  There is the constant wrestling match between the self, the other, the negotiable, the intolerable, the in, and the out.  Exhausting.  

Here again, success requires integrity, self-awareness, clarity, and trust in yourself and in the larger process. And with this particular Truth, the sooner we drop the “either/or mentality” and embrace the idea that the answer lies in the “both/and,” the better off we’ll be.  Crosby, Stills, 

and Nash said it well: 

“They are one person

 They are two alone

They are three together

They are for each other.”

© 2008 Jeanne Fiorini

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Tarot Reflections is published by the American Tarot Association - Copyright (C) 2008 

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