Creating a loving relationship involves several factors. It certainly helps if two people have common values between them. Discussing matters related to spirituality, personal growth, cultural events, television serials, cinema are some attributes. Some could have similar eating habits or adventures and travel likes and dislikes, shopping, etc. Physical attraction and lifestyles are also some of the common factors which will also play a role in creating a loving relationship.
However, in spite of having the above factors, a couple may still not have a loving relationship if one element is missing. Without this essential ingredient, all the other wonderful attributes will not be enough to make the relationship work.
What is this essential element? It is called “intention”.
It is noticed that our intentions at a given moment is either to control or to learn. When our intention is to control, our deepest motivation is to have control over getting love, avoiding pain, and feeling safe. When our intention is to learn, our deepest motivation is to learn about being loving to ourselves and others.
The motivation to get love rather than be loving can create havoc within a relationship. It becomes too one-sided and selfish.
Let’s look at a typical relationship issue and see what happens regarding the two different intentions. John and Julia are feeling emotionally distant from each other, and they haven’t made love in a month. The problem started when Julia stated that she wanted to take an expensive vacation and John objected. Julia gets angry, but John gives in, and they have been distant ever since.
Julia’s intention was to have control over getting what she wanted. She equates an expensive vacation with love – if John does this for her, then he proves his love for her. She used her anger as a way to have control over getting what she wants. She wants control over feeling special to John.
John’s intention is to avoid pain. He gave himself up to have control over Julia not being angry with him. He hopes that giving Julia what she wants, she will see him as a good and loving husband.
However, because both John and Julia were trying to control each other rather than be loving to themselves and each other, their interaction created emotional distance.
Alternatively, let us look at how it would have been if their intention had been to learn?
If Julia’s intent had been to learn, she would not have become angry. Instead, she would have wanted to understand John’s objections. If John’s intention had been to learn, he would not have given himself up. Instead, he would have wanted to understand why this particular vacation was so important to Julia. Both Julia and John would have been caring about themselves and each other, rather than wanting to get love or avoid pain.
In their mutual exploration about why they each felt the way they did, they would have learned what they needed to learn – about themselves and each other – to reach a win-win resolution. Instead of Julia ostensibly winning and John losing, they would have come up with something both of them could live with.
With some exploration of his financial fears, John might have decided that the vacation Julia wanted would be fine. With the understanding of John’s financial concerns, Julia might have decided on a less expensive vacation. In either case, both of them would have felt fine about the outcome.
No matter how much John and Julia have in common or are attracted to each other, their love will diminish when their intent is to control rather than learn. It’s amazing how quickly love vanishes when one or both partners have the intent to control. It’s equally amazing how fast it comes back when both partners have the intent to learn.