2004-08-27 / Columnists

The Inner Voice

by Marilyn Gelfand

What do you look for in a relationship? We are told about the rights of women in our society, in other societies around the world, and we speak about equality between the sexes, races, etc.  We want the law to treat all of us the same. Some of us want more than equal and then that leads to political discussions, but we don’t hear much about equality in relationships, unless we are watching Oprah or other similar programs. 

We say we want relationship equality. No one is the boss, and the two partners discuss issues together. That has become acceptable in modern times in America. We have pride in our values that encourage mutual respect. What does that really mean? We watch Hollywood movies that show a couple in bliss or an angry couple throwing things at each other. We know some guys are macho or sensitive and some women are soft and  others tough as nails. How do different personalities fit into this equality relationship?

In a spiritual sense, a good relationship has space between the two partners. They do not merge, but rather become two great individuals that are mutually supportive of each other, and together define their relationship around that. It is often described as letting the wind dance between them.  In a pictorial way, the yolks of sunnyside up eggs are separate, and the white is the relationship. Each person remains true to himself and God/Universe. Together they form their own way of living life with each other.  With both people interested in making the relationship work, it may take a lot of effort to make sure that there is understanding of what the other is saying or doing, but it is always worth it. Things fall apart when only one side tries. 

Many relationships do not fit this pattern. People live with others and choose their own path or are subject to another’s will. To the best of our ability we try, spiritually, to be a whole person wherever or whoever we are with.

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