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The Bliss is in the Mess

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The blunt reality of the committed relationship is that it can, and will, elicit parts in each person that are not very pretty. Partners can travel from the sacred to the scandalous is a New York minute. There is no other person in the world who can provoke such intense reactions in us as our beloved.

Though none of us relishes those times when we don't see eye to eye with our partner, there is actually wisdom in the battling. To put in succinctly, we won't evolve without the conflict. When we fight, something in us is being challenged by our loved one. Often they are telling us something we need to hear.  Who else, after all, is going to confront us with those parts of us that get in the way of our own happiness and success.

The problem is that it feels threatening to hear what our mate doesn't like about us, and it isn't usually presented to us with roses and marshmallows. So we defend, and attack, with our own creative critiques. The tag-line of most spousal conflagrations is: "Well, I may be screwed up, but so are you! Each partner scarred but smugly satisfied that they got their shot in.

So the trick is, after the dust has settled, to look inward and take responsibility for the pieces of truth that emerged through our partner's complaints. This is difficult to do at the outset of an argument because most often our partner doesn't approach us in the most genteel way. When we feel attacked the impulse is to fight or flee. Trying to bypass this urge is near impossible. So things will sometimes get messy before illumination can occur. On the far side of a messy spousal battle lies the potential for greater self understanding, compassion for our partner and an opening to pleasure. Make-up sex occurs because fighting releases the tension and adds vigor to the shared energy field in the committed relationship. But there is also make-up tenderness, make-up vulnerability, make-up remorse, make-up gratitude and more!

Sometimes the only way we get to these cherished places is through the messiness of dispute. Can you listen to what is in your partner's heart when they are complaining about some failing of yours? Can you see that while there is most often some truth to your partner's criticisms there is also a large measure of their own history? Can you make the sacred shift from your defensive posture to feel your hurt and fear? If you can, bliss is sure to follow.

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