For me great relationships are part of what makes life tick, so when I became a single man, after a long marriage, I started dating again. The prospect of a new relationship terrified and fascinated me.
I found I was an expert in one relationship but an innocent as far as women were concerned. What could I do? How could I learn about women and great relationships?
I asked for help from other men in my situation. I discovered there were a lot of them out there, and I also discovered that there were a lot of women, that gave me pause for thought. We were all looking for great relationships, one that would last. The most important issue, though, was that we were keen not to make the same mistakes again. Women, particularly, were sensitive about the prospect of men relationships after a previous, serious disaster.
I worked on all the basics; understanding men and women, understanding polarity and being strong as a man.
Men relationship is crucial to a full life, the problem, though, came down to a single, crucial issue:
What was I looking for? What are Great Relationships?
This was a puzzle to me, there was so much choice out there. How do I make a choice that will work for years to come? How can I distinguish between all the amazing women out there? Then I discovered the relationship vision. The answer to great relationships, men, is simple but it requires you to be single with a completely open field in front of you. This is before marriage and relationships.
“A vision is not just a picture of what could be; it is an appeal to our better selves, a call to become something more.” (Rosabeth Moss Kanter)
In this world of no commitments you write your personal relationship vision. It can contain anything you want, colour of hair, size, wealth, spirituality, anything. It helps if it is detailed and comprehensive. It must, however, be genuine and authentic, it must represent someone you want to spend the rest of your life with in love and happiness. Having written it, you put it away and let it work in your life. The results can be astounding. I wrote my own vision and put it away, only to find later that I was in a relationship with the person it described. I also discovered that I fitted the person she described in her vision. It had such an impact on us and our relationship. I discovered what Great Relationships were all about.
To put this into context I quote below extracts from my own vision, as I wrote it some years ago. I crafted it from the perspective that we were together and that this is how we are living. This positive, present perspective is very powerful. Following are some crucial parts that show what was, for me, critical in a long-term relationship.
“Our relationship will grow out of the natural polarity that exists between us, out of me being my true self and from my living in my masculine energy. This will be the essence that will feed our relationship and naturally encourage in you a feminine energy that will respond to my masculinity. We will treasure and glory in all that it creates and all that results from it.”
Polarity is important to me. I believe in the power of masculine and feminine energy finding their balance in great relationships. It was crucial that we both felt and celebrated this.
“At the heart of the relationship will be a deep, close friendship that is able to take storms and find a peace that respects each other and a determination to see the best in us, no matter what it takes.”
Friendship had to be there. Passion and polarity may or may not be strong throughout the life of the relationship but friendship would cover all the times when they weren’t. Friendship creates a simple enjoyment of each other that works magic.
“We will be able to talk freely and openly without fear of each others reaction, knowing that we will always talk from the heart and seek the truth. We know that whatever we say, it will always be listened to and taken in the spirit it was intended. We will never see criticism or hurt, or take anything personally.”
In my first marriage there were arguments and difficulties based on misunderstandings and perceived criticisms. It was a necessity, for me, that we did not go to there. Keeping our thoughts private to prevent difficulties is not an answer, so honesty is needed. This can only thrive, however, when things are not taken personally.
“We will be able to work together independently and jointly, without feeling that we are diverting or closing off each other. Our respective creativity will be paramount and we will hold it as precious. We will do things together, talking, writing, learning; all the things we love individually and all the things we love doing together.”
In my first marriage we had deliberately kept work and life separate. This created a separation between us. I wanted us to be able to work together without intrusion or interference but with a desire to collaborate creatively. This created a need for my partner to be my equal creatively, something that would be challenging but exciting.
“We will continue to be able to live our separate lives where we need that to grow and develop, or just relax and be. We will always understand when the other needs this and give them freedom for it to happen and time for them to blossom and grow into their strength.”
We could not be dependent on each other, need could not be part of the relationship. Everything had to come from desire and freedom. The need to be alone, however, does not stop in great relationships, sometimes it is accentuated.
“We will be fully present in all our feelings and emotions and we will always feel free to explore with each other what is right, what works, what doesn’t work and what can be better. We will always want the best for each other, freedom for each other, honesty from each other and the truth and fearlessness to express it.”
It is not common for a man to look for feelings and emotions, usually women have too much for them. We needed, however, to explore them and be authentic in them, no hiding, no pretending.
“We will seek to explore how this Vision can be without thinking we need to make it work. It needs to grow in a natural way and, yes, we need to work at it, but jointly with care and love.”
A vision is one thing, making it a reality is another, We had to both be willing to know about and be happy with the vision and have a desire to make it work and even improve on it. This still needed to be natural, a deep part of ourselves. My relationship, now, has no similarity to my marriage. I embarked on that without without thinking, assuming love could conquer anything. I was determined not to repeat the mistake and I can assure you I haven’t.
“Vision without action is a dream. Action without vision is simply passing the time. Action with Vision is making a positive difference.” (Joel Barker)