10 Characteristics of a Conscious Partnership

Posted on February 21, 2012


From the book “Getting the Love You Want” by Harville Hendrix – this has been LIFE-CHANGING for me to read.

This excerpt makes the most sense if you’ve read the preceding chapters, but I think many of us will understand this very well, on one level or another.

Chapter 6 Becoming Conscious

A conscious partnership is a relationship that maximizes psychological and spiritual growth; it’s a relationship created by becoming conscious and cooperating with the fundamental drives of the unconscious mind—to be safe, to be healed, and to be whole.

Ten Characteristics of a Conscious Partnership

  1. You realize that your love relationship has a hidden purpose—the healing of childhood wounds. Instead of focusing entirely on surface needs and desires, you learn to recognize the unresolved childhood issues that underlie them. When you look at relationships with this X-ray vision, your daily interactions take on more meaning. Puzzling aspects of your relationship begin to make sense to you, and you have a greater sense of control.
  2. You create a more accurate image of your partner. At the very moment of attraction, you began fusing your lover with your primary caretakers. Later you projected your negative traits onto your partner, further obscuring your partner’s essential reality. As you move toward a conscious relationship, you gradually let go of these illusions and begin to see more of your partner’s truth. You see you your partner not as a savior but as another wounded human being, struggling to be healed.
  3. You take responsibility for communicating your needs and desires to your partner. In an unconscious partnership, you cling to the childhood belief that your partner automatically intuits your needs. In a conscious partnership, you accept the fact that, in order to understand each other, you have to develop clear channels of communication.
  4. You become more intentional in your interactions. In an unconscious partnership, you tend to react without thinking. You allow the primitive response of your old brain to control your behavior. In a conscious partnership, you train yourself to behave in a more constructive manner.
  5. You learn to value your partner’s needs and wishes as highly as you value your own. In an unconscious partnership, you assume that your partner’s role in life is to take care of your needs magically. In a conscious partnership, you let go of this narcissistic view and divert more and more of your energy to meeting your partner’s needs.
  6. You embrace the dark side of your personality. In a conscious partnership, you openly acknowledge the fact that you, like everyone else, have negative traits. As you accept responsibility for this dark side of your nature, you lessen your tendency to project your negative traits onto your mate, which creates a less hostile environment.
  7. You learn new techniques to satisfy your basic needs and desires. During the power struggle, you cajole, harangue, and blame in an attempt to coerce your partner to meet your needs. When you move beyond this stage, you realize that your partner can indeed be a resource for you—once you abandon your self-defeating tactics.
  8. You search within yourself for the strengths and abilities you are lacking. One reason you were attracted to your partner is that he or she had strengths and abilities that you lacked. Therefore, being with your partner gave you an illusory sense of wholeness. In a conscious partnership, you learn that the only way you can truly recapture a sense of oneness is to develop the hidden traits within yourself.
  9. You become more aware of your drive to be loving and whole and united with the universe. As a part of your God-given nature, you have the ability to love unconditionally and to experience unity with the world around you. Social conditioning and imperfect parenting made you lose touch with these qualities. In a conscious partnership, you begin to rediscover your original nature.
  10. You accept the difficulty of creating a lasting love relationship. In an unconscious partnership, you believe that the way to have a good relationship is to pick the right person. In a conscious partnership, you realize you have to be the right partner. As you gain a more realistic view, you realize that a good relationship requires commitment, discipline, and the courage to grow and change; creating a fulfilling love relationship is hard work.

Let’s take a close look at number ten, the need to accept the difficulty involved in creating a conscious partnership, because none of the other nine ideas will come to fruition unless you first cultivate your willingness to grow and change.

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