Making Love Your Choice


     "Just as you celebrate the differences that attract you to your partner, there will be some differences that become a real challenge to deal with. There is a ripe opportunity in these moments! You stand at a choice point between narrowness and expansion within your own self. One opens the door to greater love, the other shuts it out. It is the presentation of this kind of choice, over and over again, that makes relationships such an ideal place to grow in love. In this respect your partner and your relationship become your teacher, bringing to you lessons of the heart. Together, you and your partner constantly shift between being teacher and student for each other, both being apprentices to love.

Love of the differences

     "Sometimes you will encounter differences of opinion, or differences in your personalities, that will seem to render your partner momentarily less lovable. There doesn't need to be a conflict of desire or another problem for this to occur, although those are common times. To grow most deeply from these experiences, use them as an occasion to learn more about the collective characteristics of your partnership. As all the colors of the rainbow makeup sunlight, imagine that all the facets of both you and your partner are what together constitute your relationship. Remember how much you appreciate the experiences your relationship affords you. Then remember to apply this appreciation to the differences too, as they make each of you who you are.

     "To practice love of the differences, think of ways in which your partner's differences help you achieve some experience that has value for you. For example, their differences of opinion remind you of new ways to look at things, or remind you of facets of your own experience you tend to forget. Or, certain traits of theirs may point out ways in which you become fixated on agendas for happiness, that restrict your being totally open to the moment.

     "A classic observation about relationships is that partners often polarize around traits of personality. For example, one does most of the thinking, the other most of the feeling. In this case, the thinker can appreciate their partner's reminding them of their own feeling nature, and the feeler can appreciate the thinker's stimulating the feeler's own mental nature. Or perhaps one is more introverted, the other more an extrovert. Whatever difference it is, when you look for how it helps connect you more fully with aspects of your own self, you will gain both personally and in your partnership. Love of the differences can render your partnership ever more a conveyance into larger arenas of love experience."
 2000 Mark Shafer  

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