Think back to your first relationship. Could you have been completely satisfied with remaining with that person forevermore? Could you have faced a lifetime of learning and growing from that first love? What about your second lover … third?
While some of us are destined to discover true connection within that first relationship, more often than not this isn’t the case. By true connection, I am referring to the kind of bonds that trigger inner growth on the essential levels — emotionally; spiritually; sexually; soulfully.
These are the qualities vital to propel and shift us into expansion as we move through life. Relational aspects that continue to flourish and deepen as the connection matures — rare bonds established on a soul level destined to rattle our senses, ignite change and show us deep love.
There are all kinds of love — Self-love; affectionate and playful love; familiar and enduring love.
It is through experiencing love that we learn how to give and receive love. We learn important qualities like empathy, gratitude and compassion. Each connection brings inner growth and teaches us what it means to bond and share selflessly.
To love and be loved is our ultimate purpose during our lifetimes.
It is strange how western society in particular has managed to erect invisible boundaries and rules around the concept of love, and in the process, thwarting the true meaning behind love and connection.
Real love is freedom.
To believe we embark on a lifetime to experience just one significant mate is delusional. Pepper Schwartz, a professor of sociology at the University of Washington in Seattle said:
“Monogamy is invented for order and investment — but not necessarily because it’s natural.”
If humans were truly monogamous creatures, we would behave like geese — stick with our first mates and take none thereafter; even after the death of a spouse. There would be no divorce or second marriages, and there would be no tallying up the U.S. average of 7.2 sexual partners found in a recent Superdrug survey.
While the idea of committing to and sharing our lives with someone we love is a natural state to experience, so too is the falling ins and outs of relationships. In other words, not all relationships are designed or destined to last a lifetime.
In fact, most are not. It is natural for us to form and honor important connections as those souls move through our experience. Yet, we are on a continuous learning path and therefore, are supposed to be reaching for more in order to expand and evolve to higher states of being.
We do this through relationships and connections.
Relationships are the springboard for life-lessons and growth. Some relationships reach their peak before the connection plateaus to a place that no longer challenges us to grow and evolve into a better human being.
It is all about personal and spiritual growth and less about societal expectations and the pre-conceived ideals surrounding marriage. We are taught that it is wrong to fall in love with someone else when married or involved in a long-term relationship. We are made to feel ashamed for experiencing deep feelings for someone other than our spouse.
This school of thought is limiting and self-serving.
It doesn’t take into account how we change with time and attract new situations into our lives. It doesn’t acknowledge that it is natural for us to encounter, bond and share connections with other people who cross our paths for the purpose of expanding love and further propelling us into higher awareness. And it does not equate to love without condition.
Sometimes, we are presented with a bombshell in the form of a special connection despite our current circumstances. I have listened to folks speak about how we get to choose who we love, when in reality the opposite is true.
When real love touches our lives and imprints upon our soul, we have as much control over our feelings as we do the weather. We cannot control who captures our hearts and when; we cannot account for the appearance of those deep soul connections.
That is one of life’s most beautiful mysteries.
In fact, it is common that we cannot be truly ready to experience the greatest love of our lives until we have journeyed through other relationships that serve to prepare us for the ultimate connection.
I am by no means condoning cheating in the self-gratifying, adulterous sense. Nor promoting disrespect or hedonistic behavior.
What I mean is that often we make commitments and promises that hold true in the moment. Yet, signing a marriage contract doesn’t always account for the inevitable transformation bound to happen with maturity. Existing commitments cannot foresee detours in a person’s feelings or predict the future.
From the moment we are born we are learning, evolving and experiencing the world for the sole purpose of personal growth and soul lessons. Whether we acknowledge the fact that we are much more than our fleshy tombs becomes highly personal and reflective of where we are in terms of spiritual advancement.
When we are able to step back long enough to recognize connection for its true purpose, we may grasp the notion that nothing about relationships should encompass feelings of control or possession over another being — marital contract or not.
It is then we can see that relating and bonding with another person is about opening the heart and learning how to love unconditionally. It is the ability to allow your mate the freedom to experience their portion of life without imposing your will, insecurities or underlying desires upon their journey.
That is the true meaning of unconditional love — to love unselfishly and without placing a set of restrictions along with your affections or companionship. Unfortunately, very few of us strive to practice this kind of love.
The institution of marriage is a somewhat outdated notion in the grand scheme of things. Particularly when considering the advancement of humanity, and especially when contemplating the natural state of relations between the first humans to inhabit the earth who had very little use for marriage.
It is presumed that early males and females had sex with many partners, with the initial formations of marriages emerging around climate change and food — a richer meat-based diet meant that babies were born earlier requiring more care from their mothers. Before that, mothers were able to gather fruit and nuts whilst caring for their infants.
These may not have been marriages in the way that we think of marriages today, but couples in this period would probably have stayed together for about three or four years before parting ways. Perhaps it is no coincidence that this is exactly the length of time at which divorce rates peak in modern day marriages.
It was during this era that marriages became a union between two people and recognized by the community. Agriculture tied people to the land, meaning that at the end of the four-year period couples were less inclined to separate, choosing to work as a unit to feed and care for the children they produced.
The creation of marriage as a legal contract between men and women came into being over time as communities settled on what was a normal way for them to organize a family and then condense that normalcy into law.
Laws were created that gave men assurance that the children they were raising were their own; women that their husband would not leave them destitute.
So, the real origin of marriage evolved from the biological desire of both men and women to see their children survive, and until recently had less to do with love.
We are fast to claim each other forevermore. We typically thrive on co-dependency and are quick to pass judgement, point fingers and damn the one for following their heart should love come calling unexpectedly.
We seek to own, take commitment and twist it into something unnatural until it becomes a liability, when our natural state of being is the opposite — real love is the opposite.
Love is as mysterious and as beautiful as the meaning of life. Love doesn’t know restrictions — gender, age, geographical or race differences. Love doesn’t always recognize the institution of marriage.
It is an illusion to believe we have control over another human being within a marriage or otherwise. It is a farce to believe we can prevent another from falling in love with someone else.
All we are able to do is to practice being the best possible version of ourselves within any given moment — including when a relationship begins to no longer serve our greater needs, and especially when facing a straying spouse.
How we handle those high-level situations are what defines us as human beings.
Our greater needs are always about love and experiencing love in its highest form. Letting go of stale relationships is a part of the human experience. Allowing a relationship to end gracefully rather than bitterly is a part of love — caring for yourself enough to take the higher-road and knowing that all things unfold for your own growth and well-being as well as that of others.
Love only knows freedom and expression — It is acceptance and the ability to see past the blinders, the ego and the societal expectations on what constitutes a proper relationship. Love is allowing someone to be who they want to be, even when it hurts.
Real love is truly freedom.