While most of us long for a loving, fulfilling relationship, some people fear intimate relationships.
We tend to think of those who shy away from commitment as being immature or unwilling to make sacrifices.
But what if our thinking about the fear of commitment is all wrong?
What if the true fear is not one of committing, but one of losing?
People who avoid commitments and intimate relationships are most likely afraid that they will “lose themselves” or “lose their freedom”.
When we commit – to another person, to a career, to children, or even to a lease, we are bonding ourselves to something for a length of time. We all know or have heard about people who got “swallowed up” by their jobs or who seem to lose sight of themselves in a marriage.
Losing ourselves is a scary thought. However, it is not inevitable. In fact, in order to maintain our happiness while we are in a relationship – we need to be clear about who we are. We need to know our non-negotiables, state what are the deal breakers for us and hold on to our truths.
Our freedom is very precious to us, but it can also be misunderstood. Sometimes we think we want to live in a boundary-less world – but what we truly want is to know the limitations, and to know that they can be flexible. Complete freedom comes with a sense of disconnection, and often makes us feel lonely. We are not different that way from teenagers, who test the boundaries, to make sure that they are loved and cared about.
We all know that being in a loving relationship is probably the best feeling ever. However, many of us back out of long-term relationships and even marriage due to fear of losing our freedom.
Reluctance to proceed, hesitation and the like do not ultimately preserve freedom. True freedom is not the ability to do what we want when we want, but the ability to listen to our Hearts. Freedom comes through freely making decisions – not through avoiding them out of fear. When two become one in a relationship, and each has a choice to say “yes” – freedom can be realized in such oneness. By all means, one can have a loving, fulfilling relationship without losing one’s freedom.
Here are simple steps for maintaining our freedom in a loving and caring relationship:
Step 1: Let the two of you be different.
No two people in the world are the same. All of us are born with different traits, which help us develop our individual personalities as we grow up. We need to always remember that and appreciate the fact that the differences between our partners and ourselves are actually the most important factors in our relationship contributing to our growth. What’s more, isn’t it more enjoyable to spend our time with someone who is not exactly the same?
Step 2: Let the two of you enjoy some personal space.
Any marriage or long-term relationship requires some amount of space to grow and prosper. Remember, we are not talking here about creating distance between the two of you. But calling your spouse all the time to find out what he/she is up to is like putting him/her under a scanner. You both need to feel free to enjoy your days, whether at work, or at home. And then sharing your experiences and telling each other about your day becomes a very precious ritual that you can create for yourselves.
Step 3: Remember that both of you have the right to be imperfect.
That’s right. None of us is perfect. And although it may be tough to accept the so-called “bad habits” of our spouse – it is essential to communicate with your partner about each other’s flaws. Give yourselves a chance to laugh over your imperfections. It may work miracles.
Step 4: Make sure that you both are willing to compromise and meet in the middle.
Both of you will change, no matter what: relationships make us change and grow. To expect only your partner to make the effort is not only unfair but also unrealistic. It is very important for both partners to compromise at some level in order to grow. Some couples unknowingly make a mistake by not doing so. We all progress as we go through life, and relationships are great opportunities to help us make such progress.
Step 5: Enjoy your Freedom to Love.
Celebrate your partner and celebrate your Love. It is a big mistake to take our beloved and our relationship for granted. There are no rules as to how often we want or need to say “I love you”, how often we want to surprise each other with loving gestures, gifts or anything that will express our Love. Love in a relationship becomes our lifestyle, the way we want to enjoy, honor, and cherish each other.
Sharing and celebrating Love that fills us up, is the base of a truly loving relationship.
Johanna Kern, multiple award-winning author and transformational teacher wrote this book drawing from her experience and knowledge from over 20 years as a successful professional and counsellor – as well as her experience in her happy relationship with her much younger husband.
She covers all the bases: the easily digestible 14 chapters range over all the questions, fears and possibilities that people grapple with and fantasize about in their quest for lasting intimacy.
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