In M. Scott Peck’s classic book “The Road Less Traveled”, the author emphasizes some very significant points regarding the definition of genuine love within the context of relationships.
Peck states that a major characteristic in relationships that are truly loving and intimate, is the ability to make the distinction between yourself and the other person.
Although the act of coming together and being a part of each other’s spiritual reality is paramount, the individual identity of the two separate people must always be preserved if the partnership is going to be truly healthy.
Additionally, “the genuine lover always respects and even encourages this separateness and the unique individuality of the beloved. Failure to perceive and respect this separateness is extremely common however, and the cause of much mental illness and unnecessary suffering.”
Many intimate relationships begin with two people becoming mutually captivated with each other’s personalities. They’re both extremely attracted to and excited about what each other represents.
However, the erroneous assumptions and miscalculations creep in when one, or both partners advocate for the union to dissolve or severely minimize their individual identities.
It’s as if the parties involved are now asking the person they said they were madly and deeply attracted to, to relinquish their sense of self in favor of a composite identity represented by “we”.
While it is certainly logical that a shift will naturally occur just because of the nuances of being partnered, the pressing question is if the destiny of the dynamic of couple hood has now exceeded that of individual purpose.
I quote again from Peck:
“In it’s most extreme form, the failure to perceive the separateness of the other is called narcissism. Frankly narcissistic individuals are actually unable to perceive their children, spouses or friends as being separate from themselves on an emotional level.”
Astrologically speaking, these challenges and dilemmas are “at home” in the 1st and 7th houses, which oppose, yet compliment one another.
Simply defined, the 1st house represents “us” and our identities, what we wish to project out into the world both physically and energetically.
The 7th house symbolizes “them” the “other” in our lives: spouses, boyfriends, girlfriends, business partners and anyone whom we may deal with on a one to one basis.
Along with other chart factors, these two houses, and the planets contained therein, contribute to the ongoing story of who we’re becoming, who we attract into our lives and the type of dynamics that need to exist in our partnerships.
We need not view the 1st/7th house axis as antagonistic, rather it would be in our best interest to ask more questions about what we see here.
What are my true relationship needs? What is my individual life purpose? How does my sense of self contribute to a collective destiny? Am I able to freely express and assert my identity within a relationship? In what ways is my partner different from me? Do I honor those differences? Does my partner respect my individuality?
The inability to come to terms with separateness in relationships can have a detrimental effect, as it can cause the once lively buoyant partnership to disintegrate into mundane numbness. This phenomena is not only directed toward marriages and the like, but friendships, co-worker relationships and family as well.
It’s vital that we examine OUR life purposes within a relationship as they pertain to US. That we avoid the age old mistake of placing the destinies and life tasks of others, no matter how close we may be to them, inside our own psychological framework.
Let’s remember that even though we may be “partnered” with another person, we both came to this earth with an individual mission to accomplish independent of the union.
Because two individuals unite, in no way does this mean that their personal work is done. It’s imperative that both people participate in experiences outside of the relationship realm in order to foster not only their sense of self, but also the growth of the entire partnership.
Intimate relationships require time, energy and mutual sacrifice. However, let us consider a portion of the time invested as a solid foundation, or a directional queue toward our individual spiritual work on this earth, with this ultimate goal:
To honor our identities by fully participating in the experiences we need to fulfill our individual life purposes, while expending the effort and respecting the contributions needed to help an intimate partnership develop, thrive and ultimately flourish.
Reference : “The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth” by M. Scott Peck
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