Is there anything greater than love?
In a simple answer, yes there is. Gratitude.
To have gratitude for someone means to have no judgment of them, or you. With gratitude, you can be grateful for someone whether or not they are being kind, happy, sad, angry or anything else they’re choosing.
With love, there is always judgment. There are expectations of what you must be and do to show you love someone: ‘If you loved me, you would do this for me’, ‘If he loved me he would have bought me a single red rose, not a dozen!’ Love has a godzillion definitions! Do you love your family the same way you love your cat? Or your friends the same way you do your lovers? Even with unconditional love, you still have to judge whether or not it’s something you can be unconditional about!
So what if it wasn’t actually ‘love’ that we were looking to have with each other?
The key to becoming intimate with your partner always begins with becoming intimate with yourself. There are five elements of intimacy – gratitude(which we already talked about), honor, trust, allowance and vulnerability. To have a relationship that truly contributes to expanding your life, you must be willing to create these elements for yourself and with your partner.
In an intimate relationship, each individual honor himself or herself and is willing to do what is right for them. You honor the other person and treat them with regard. You are willing to allow your partner to do what is right for them without judgment and without requiring them to be anything other than who they are. This means that you also trust the other person to be exactly who they are, and not what you wish or want them to be.
Along with trust and honoring of yourself and your partner, you want to be in allowance of the other person and not judge their choices, thoughts or beliefs as right or wrong. Allowance is where everything is just an interesting point of view. You allow the other person to have their point of view and you don’t feel the need to criticize. Criticism is based on judgment – ‘I want you to do it my way’. In allowance you do not try to stop your partner from being different than you are. And you do not stop you from being different to them. You have a life and you let your partner have a life.
Another element in relationships is vulnerability. A lot of people misidentify what being vulnerable really is. Vulnerability is when you are totally present with you and whoever is in front of you, with no barriers. An example of using barriers would be when your partner is angry.
How often do people automatically put their barriers up, get their hackles up, or ‘harden up’ for a fight? If you are willing to recognize that is what you are doing, and say ‘You know what? I am not going to have my barriers up here, I am going to push them down and receive all of this without a point of view’, it is amazing how the person will run out of steam very quickly! That is because there is no wall for them to bang up against anymore.
Being willing to be vulnerable is to not go to your defense systems or fend off real communication with upset, judgement or withdrawal.
The great thing about these elements of gratitude, honoring, trust, allowance and vulnerability is that you do not require to be in a relationship to have these for you. In fact, having a relationship is not the source of intimacy. You are. By you being willing to be the source of gratitude, honoring, trust, allowance and vulnerability with and for you, it is then you can bring into your life people who will contribute greatly to you, whether or not they are someone you choose to have sex with.
Speaking of sex, do you notice that it is not actually mentioned in the elements above? Sex, or more specifically copulation, is not a part of creating intimacy. You can include sex in intimacy but it is not what creates intimacy. Sex is something our bodies get to do as an exuberant expression of life and if we allow it to be, it can be fun and playful and totally without significance, much like a game of Frisbee. What if you were to do your whole life from the fun of it?
What if a relationship was possible where you had true intimacy with yourself and your partner? Where each person involved has the gift of being themselves and the choice to share that with another? Where you didn’t have to divorce any part of yourself in order to be in a relationship with someone else?
Check out Divorceless Relationships by Gary Douglas & Dr. Dain Heer for powerful and unconventional tools to have a relationship that you may have never known you were looking for.