You say there’s so much you don’t know. You need to go and find yourself. You say you’d rather be alone, cause you think you won’t find it tied to someone else. Ooh, who said it’s true, that the growing only happens on your own? They don’t know me and you.
I don’t think you have to leave, if to change is what you need. You can change right next to me. When you’re high, I’ll take the lows. You can ebb, and I can flow. And we’ll take it slow. And grow as we go.
You won’t be the only one. I am unfinished, I’ve got so much to learn. I don’t know how this river runs. But I’d like the company through every twist and turn.
I don’t know who we’ll become. I can’t promise it’s not written in the stars. But I believe that when it’s done, we’re gonna see that it was better that we grew up together.
Grow As We Go…
Music and Lyrics by Ben Platt
When we consider how to go about long term relationships, it is crucial that we first look at them from the soul’s perspective. Specifically, why our souls come into this world in the first place.
You may have heard it said that this is Earth School for the soul. Our souls come here to evolve through the experiences we have as human beings. We’re all here with different things to work on, depending on the current state of our soul. As I like to put it, we’re here to grow into more of what we already are, Love. We’re also here to contribute to the whole.
Wouldn’t it make sense for this to be the foundation upon which we build long term relationships with a spouse, partner, or long time friend? More than just making sense, it’s absolutely vital. But many of us do not enter into these relationships in this fundamental way.
As a pastor I met with couples planning to get married, and I officiated around 500+ weddings (give or take a few vows). I would ask the couple to do two things when I met with them.
1. Write a Mission or Purpose Statement for their marriage. I asked them to write one individually, and then combine them. The Purpose Statement answered these questions. Why are we together? What are we trying to accomplish as a couple? What do we want our world to see when they look at the two of us?
2. I asked each of them to write the reasons why they were marrying each other.
I then read this at the wedding ceremony. I often asked a question of the guests who were there with a spouse or partner, “When was the last time you sat down as a couple, and asked these same questions about the why and what of your life together? We all know we can get so caught up in the day to day of life, that we forget these fundamental questions that should be driving us as a couple.”
After a few dozen weddings, I began to notice a pattern. The reasons people were saying they were marrying each other were mostly about what the other one does for me. She makes me happy. He makes me laugh. I love coming home to him at the end of the day. She calms me down. He helps me have fun in life, because I’m too serious.
That is not a relationship with someone else. That is a relationship with yourself. That’s not Love, or loving someone else, that’s a dependency.
The unhealthy lyrics to “love” songs that have been around forever are a reflection of this (written mostly from a male perspective). All the “Oh baby, baby, I can’t live without you” songs. “Don’t leave me. If you do, I can’t live without you” songs. Or the one I just heard playing while I was working out today, “I’m in love with your body”. Now there’s a solid foundation to build a long term relationship on! What could possibly go wrong?
And what happens when the other person changes and stops delivering all the goods you’re now dependent on? “I don’t love you anymore” can easily mean , “you don’t do for me what you used to do. I’m going to have to move on to someone who will. And probably someone after that.” Gone is the deeper joy of helping facilitate the happiness and growth of your partner.
It is so beautiful to experience the love, happiness, joy, and contentment you can receive from someone. But if I am the primary reason I am in a relationship, then I am not living in harmony with the essence of the soul. The soul needs to both love and be loved.
And our souls are here to evolve and contribute. Isn’t it better to reverse the reasons we want to share our lives with someone to: “What can I do for you? How can I help your soul grow to it’s potential? How can I help you contribute to the world around you?”
In other words, I want to help you remember why you came here. I want to help you focus on what gives you energy and life. For that will be your guide to lead you in your remembering.
In a wedding that I officiated, the couple’s thoughtful reasons reflected this so beautifully. “I love that we know how to challenge each other. I love how we believe in each other, and encourage each other. I love the joy we give each other. I love that we’re the best versions of ourselves by being together.”
What if we entered into a long term relationship standing on THAT ground? Do we have a better chance? I have to say YES! That’s “growing up together.” I’d give a partnership like that 4 communion wafers!!!!
My wife, Doree and I have been married 41 years. That doesn’t mean we’re experts by any stretch. We’ve certainly known our struggles and challenges over the years. But here is a key to what has helped us. I’m on wife #5.5 and she’s on husband #4. All with the same person!
We’ve both changed dramatically from the person the other married. We’ve worked hard on our inner selves, and what we needed to work on within and beyond our marriage. We’ve tried to cheer each other on during each step of the way. And we tried our best to support what the other was learning and becoming. Was this challenging? Yes!
So with any long term relationship, the questions of “How can I help you to grow?”, and “How can we help each other to grow?”, are ones to keep asking. We keep asking them because the answers are constantly evolving and changing, as we evolve and change. That’s why we’re here. That’s part of what makes it fun and exciting!
Of course it takes two people committed to both their own growth and the growth of the other. If only one is interested in growing, they will naturally grow apart.
It’s important to keep in mind that in our pre-birth planning, our soul and the soul of our spouse, partner or friend agreed to be in this kind of relationship with each other. We did so for very specific reasons.
Tina Williams, best selling romance novelist, says true love is “soul recognition. You see each other deeply. The person becomes a part of you, like your arm or your nose.”
When we first meet the one we’re about to enter into a long term relationship with, I believe there is another kind of soul recognition. It feels like there is something already in motion, and both of us are just along for the ride, especially at first. It feels like something is happening for you. And as partners or friends, the mission is to say, “let’s listen to our souls for the reasons why we came here in this way.”
I believe that when it’s done, we’re going to see that it was better that we grew up together.
You are (evolving) love,
Pastor Tim Tengblad