A healthy, loving companionship may or may not need the umbrella of marriage which today all culturally evolving societies are accepting and this includes even the recent ruling of Supreme Court of India accepting the legality of live-in-relationships.
The key ingredients for harmonious sustenance of a relationship are -- freedom of expression, exploring creative ways to express our love and admiration for our partner and dynamic equality.
Long back I asked my teacher Paula Horan, renowned American psychologist what is meant by freedom of expression in relationship. She told me -- if couples agree to express themselves freely with the other it also means the freedom of their expression of how they feel about the opposite sex. So if a couple is experiencing a freedom of expression, a wife would be comfortable to express her admiration for another handsome man and a husband would be equally comfortable to accept it and vice a versa; since admiration for opposite sex is a natural phenomenon. The moment this happens in the relationship, the suppressed emotions of sexuality are vented out in a comfortable environment instead of unexpressed emotions which if let unattended and ignored often get more twisted and may have more repercussions and even lead to infidelity.
Accepting each other’s sexuality and giving the space and freedom to be expressed without our own biases is a thumb rule in relationships. The fact that your partner is with you is because of who you are and the love and sharing you have for each other. Thus, acknowledging your partner’s sexuality is accepting the “thought” that is in his/her mind which is “only” a thought and when expressed openly and comfortably is gets translated into an action and will have no other forbearing.
This, however, is not very easy unless if we, as individuals love and accept ourselves and value ourselves. Otherwise, often an expression like this creates feelings of jealousy and animosity between a couple. So it is important for us to first love and accept ourselves completely .
Exploring creative ways for expressing our feeling of love and admiration for each other is very critical in every relationship. Often couples start taking each other for granted.
In my relationship workshops I take commitments from the participants that they will express five feelings of gratitude and love at five different times of the day to their partners every day for 21 Days.
This is a simple activity which all of us can incorporate in our daily lives. Once a participant said that he can’t do this because he’s not creative and this won’t work in his case. Several people believe that only artists can be creative. We all are naturally creative and the very example is every day every second we create hundreds of thousands of cells in our body!
The term dynamic equality has been coined by me. In my own journey of exploring relationships I realized that there is no real concept of equality in relationships. Everywhere there is a constant give and take; one plays a role of giver and the other receiver and in today’s growing society the interchange of the role of giver and receiver is much more rapid, often overlapping. Earlier when women mostly stayed at home, their role as giver was nurturing while men as givers would provide financial security. Now with men shouldering women in nurturing and the concept of shared parental responsibilities and women in par with financial independence there is no visible role of giver and receiver and most often our ego pumps up who’s superior and who’s inferior and to mask it we start questioning “our equality” in the relationship.
Thus, dynamic equality means that’s there will always be one giver and one receiver and this role interchanges in every few moments, where neither of them are inferior or superior to the other. On the whole, we need both receiver and giver in the sustenance of a relationship. By accepting our constant interchanging roles of being a receiver as well as giver, we become dynamically equals who at some given time will be at receiving or giving end.
So let’s take the step towards celebrating a toast to healthy companionship.
(Megha is a 33-year-old wellness expert and healer whose approach is holistic, intense and deep. She is the founder of Meghavi Spa and Salon located in Banjara Hills)