It’s easy in the beginning. You fall madly in love. You can’t get the other person out of your thoughts. You can’t wait to see them on the weekend. You buy gifts, go on dates, and do sweet things for no reason at all. Warm, fuzzy feelings fill your relationship.
And then one day they don’t. You argue, disagree, or need some space. The other person disappoints you, doesn’t meet your expectations, or lets you down. You discover… a flaw. And unless the other person throws some serious red flags, this is the point when you decide whether you’re truly committed or not. This is where the rubber meets the road.
A committed relationship gives you several opportunities, again and again, to go to the next level. And it all starts with you. You must first be solid within yourself (as much as possible) before your relationship with another can take on added layers and deeper meaning.
Let’s just say, for now, you’re ready. You’re both ready. So what does it look like to take your relationship to the next level?
You may be imagining some crazy ass shit like wild sex parties and threesomes or getting married, having children, or buying a house. These are natural desires and dreams for a couple for outward expansion. But there’s an inward expansion that must first be undertaken: trust.
Trust is fundamental to the health of any relationship. And it’s the ingredient most frequently discarded in pursuit of outward expansion. Many people fail to develop deep levels of trust before getting married, having a threesome, or even having children. Our society pays no mind to the deep bond necessary to make such undertakings successful, yet encourages that young people get married, have kids, and buy a house pronto. But these achievements remain hollow when your relationship hasn’t undergone the natural inward expansion necessary to withstand such changes. The development of trust creates the foundation for the entire future of your relationship.
Here’s how trust has evolved in my own relationship:
A couple Sundays ago, my love and I were enjoying the one leisure day we would have together for three weeks. The one day. My guy had to take a bit of that time to meet with his business partner, which was understandable. That had been the routine for many months now. He said it would only take an hour. But it took three. And I was furious.
In all my furry, I could feel this voice inside me say, “It’s okay. Everything will work out.” But I couldn’t let the furry go. It was so convincing. I stay committed to it, even after he got home. But I knew that I didn’t want it to ruin what time we had left together. Despite how hard it was to let those feelings go, I decided in that moment to trust that it was all okay, and I opened my heart.
This same scenario has played out over again and again in varying situations over the last several months. I find myself with all kinds of feelings of irritability, frustration, anger, fear, sadness, and doubt. Usually, my expectations aren’t being met. He’s not being the person I want him to be. Situations aren’t turning out how I’d like them to be. And I don’t understand what’s going on. I feel out of control.
When I feel out of control, I get angry, frustrated, and hateful. I feel insecure. I take it out on him by closing my heart, walling myself off, and hiding. Which only hurts my relationship. Despite, and with deep acknowledgment of, my feelings, I’ve learned that it’s up to me to return to love. And that requires deep trust. Trust in my self. Trust in my relationship. Trust in the Universe and Life. And trust that everything will work out.
Trust can be hard to define. But I’m going to give it a go…
Trust means letting go of your negative thoughts and beliefs and expectations about the other person. Trust means choosing to see the positive and expect the best until proven otherwise. Trust means allowing the Universe to work within your relationship and to be the guide. Trust means putting down the walls and defenses to be yourself freely without shame, guilt, fear, or insecurity — or despite these feelings. Trust means allowing yourself to love deeply so that you may be loved deeply in return.
These deeper layers of trust happen within you, with your relationship with yourself and with your relationship with God/the Universe/Life first. As you cultivate these deeper layers of trust, you find that trust reflected within your most intimate relationships. And all your relationships for that matter.
From this space of deep trust, which must be cultivated within both partners, you can take new actions to outwardly expand your relationship as a couple. With each new level of inward expansion, a new level of outward expansion can evolve. The process reveals one layer after another on an ever-evolving journey. More feelings. More love. More feelings. More love. The deeper your commitment to one another the deeper you both will go.
It’s difficult to trust. An open heart is vulnerable. It’s scary. And it’s understandable that feelings of insecurity would arise. Past hurts surface. Future fears confront you. It’s a natural reaction to defend or hide. But that next level in your relationship requires your diligent practice of being vulnerable, heart wide open, with full faith and trust. Whatever the outcome, it’s the perfect experience for you and your relationship. Your open heart ensures the health and longevity of your relationship, at least with yourself.
In those moments when it’s hardest, choose to trust that there’s something there for you. Enter that vulnerable, soft place within yourself. Meet your partner from that space. Go there together. And share yourself with him or her deeply. That’s how you take your relationship to the next level. From there, expand out with vigor and enthusiasm.
Where have you closed your heart in your relationship? Where have you built a wall? Where are and in what way are you cowering from the opportunity to take your relationship to the next level? How can you trust yourself, the Universe, and your partner more? And what inward action can you take today?