In my relationship work with couples, as well as my personal experience of relationship, I’ve learned that the key to a healthy, thriving, passionate partnership is HONOR…honor of Self, honor of Partner, and honor of Relationship…in that order. This may seem backward to some, especially those of us who’ve been conditioned by codependency (which is the majority, by the way), but it’s actually quite the contrary. We cannot truly honor others if we’re not aware or willing to honor ourSelf, as this is the core of our integrity…our Truth. If we are not in alignment with our essential Truth, we are not fully present and our relationships will not fully benefit from the love we have to share. It is imperative that we learn to dig deep to discover what our essential “Soul” Truth IS in order to fully embrace and honor it, in all things. This is the core of our integrity…our character…as human beings.
Let me be clear that honoring one’s Self is not the same as thinking ONLY of one’s Self, which is quite the opposite of what I hope to impart in this writing. If loving another is aligned with our Truth, then behaving in UN-loving ways or making choices that would be dishonoring or hurtful to ourselves, our partner, or our relationship, would be equally un-loving and un-true to ourSelf. This is why honoring Self comes first, because it encompasses our love for all others.
Honoring Partner is second, not because our partner is less important, but because honor works from the inside out. When we have chosen to be in partnership, we have chosen to be on a team and must be mindful of how our personal choices affect our teammate. When we’re on any kind of team, what we bring to the team matters. It can be beneficial or detrimental, and it’s up to each person ON the team to do their best, in order to achieve success as a whole. The same is true in partnership. We must be willing and mindful to consider if our choices, actions, communication, and over-all health and well being are affecting our “team” in a negative or positive way. Yes, we can be healthy, make good choices, and learn to communicate with respect, validation, and honesty without losing ourselves, which is honoring of Self and partner, and keeps the morale of the “team” healthy, balanced and well.
And this brings us to the third principle, which is “honor the Relationship”. If we think of a relationship as an entity unto itself, we can see that it takes on a life of its own, much like a child does. For the sake of analogy, a child is born of two people who come together “in love” and create a third being, and that’s exactly how we create partnerships! Consider for a moment how you might care for a child. You would hopefully nurture and feed it, keep it warm, safe, and healthy, and make sure it was growing and learning. You would not likely neglect or abandon it, ignore it, or abuse it, would you? Now, consider whether you are giving your relationship all those same considerations, and if not, perhaps it needs your attention. This one tool will take conflict out of the personal realm and into the higher good of the partnership in an instant!