“Every couple is on their own to discover how to build a healthy relationship and to forge their own vision of how and why to be together.”
Life changes us, everyday we learn something new, get involved in new hobbies, meet new people, try new foods. Every new thing changes us on a fundamental level. If you look back over the years, you can probably see how you’ve grown and changed as a person. The dreams you had and the choices you made at twenty are probably very different later in your life. Life, and people, constantly change.
This applies to relationships as well. Just as we change, our partners will change too, which means our relationship with each other must also grow and develop. The person we first got involved with and made a commitment to might not be the same person we know today.
Traditionally, roles in a marriage or partnership had the woman as homemaker and the caretaker of the children, while the man went out in the world to make money. How narrow! And even after the children were raised and left the house, those roles were cemented in. How boring to stay stuck in a relationship role that was stifling! Things are different now, but many people still hold on to their first expectations in a relationship while their partner may not. As Susan wrote in The Feel the Fear Guide to Lasting Love, “Even if we have enjoyed compatibility of roles for a number of years, one of us may change our mind as to how we want to live our life.”
These days we have far more flexibility in choosing the type of role we want to play in our relationship. Now it is not necessarily that just the moms quit work to take care of the kids, as many men are finding satisfaction in being the primary caretaker for their children. And now, with the advent of work-from-home positions, many couples are having to rethink their relationship roles both inside and outside the home.
But what happens when one partner wants change and the other doesn’t? What if you or your partner becomes unhappy with the changes in the other? Susan said, “It is important to remember that, once again, it is usually our fear that keeps us locked in many of our beliefs, actions, and expectations.”
If this situation is becoming a struggle for you and your partner, then it’s time to reevaluate your roles and your expectations. If you are feeling anger or disappointment or any other negative emotion about your relationship, you need to look inside to discover what is really causing those feelings. Our relationship should help us to be a more loving person, and if it is not then we must examine why.
In reevaluating our relationship, each partner needs to ask whether or not their role is serving their Higher Self. If it is not, then action needs to be taken to change.
“In an ideal relationship,” Susan wrote, “we don’t get hung up on roles. We are both strong enough to roll with the changes. The key is not to become too rigid in our positions and to learn the meaning of flow. A big challenge indeed! Even those who are adept at flowing with the changes in life often have an initial reaction of fear as changes occur.”
There is no right or wrong way to be in a relationship. Each couple needs to create their own rules as their relationship matures. A relationship is a process, not a contract written in stone. We need to see our relationship as a way to become a more loving person. Making demands based on our insecurities will not help us to be more loving.
Susan wrote in Opening Our Hearts to Men that there is only one expectation we should have. It is this:
My only expectation of this relationship – whether it lasts one week, 25 years, or till death do us part – is that I will learn more about opening my heart and becoming a more loving person. I accept this as one of my highest purposes in life.
Relationships will grow and change as we ourselves grow and change. It doesn’t matter what part you played in your relationship five years ago or yesterday. For Susan:
“There is no question that as our relationship moves forward, we are frequently caught in the middle of discovery and confusion. As I see it, no matter what happens in a relationship, it is all an opportunity to learn more about who we are, what we still have to learn and what we have to be grateful for.”