Steps to a good relationship: the 7 spiritual laws

In the past, relationships were entered into for life and had to continue at all costs. Often the partners did not even or hardly know each other before they got married. Today we see the opposite extreme: many people would rather end their relationship than have to make some important compromises to keep the relationship going. The joy and problems of relationships continue to fascinate every person, including many psychologists and relationship therapists. However, anyone who gains insight into the seven spiritual laws of relationships can save themselves a lot of suffering. These seven laws are: involvement, togetherness, growth, communication, reflection, responsibility and forgiveness. Ferrini explains clearly and convincingly how these laws affect our relationships. The three parts of the book are respectively about being alone, having a relationship and finally changing or (lovingly) ending an existing relationship. People who are willing to take full responsibility for their healing process and are forgiving will feel appealed to Ferrini’s approach to relationship issues. They then learn to see, among other things, how partners can communicate without being biased or blaming each other, and how they can give each other space to continue to grow.

The 7 Spiritual Laws of Relationships

1. The Law of Commitment

A spiritual relationship requires mutual involvement.
If you are going to make agreements within your relationship, the first rule is: be honest. Do n’t pretend to be anything other than who you are. Do not make agreements that you cannot keep, just to please the other person. Being honest at this stage will save you a lot of trouble in the future. So never promise something that you cannot give. For example, if your partner expects you to be faithful and you know that you find it difficult to be faithful, do not promise that you will be faithful. Say, “I’m sorry, I can’t promise you that.”
For the sake of fairness and balance in the relationship, the promises you make to each other should be mutual and not one-sided. It is a spiritual law that you cannot get what you cannot give. So don’t expect your partner to make promises that you don’t want to make yourself.
We must keep our promises as long as we can without betraying ourselves. It is also a spiritual law that you cannot take someone else seriously and do them justice if you have to betray yourself.
The law of commitment is full of irony and paradoxical. If you don’t intend to keep your promise, you haven’t made a promise. But if you keep your promise out of guilt or a sense of duty, the promise loses its meaning . Making a promise is a voluntary gesture. If it is no longer voluntary, it loses its meaning. Continue to give your partner freedom to make his or her promises, so that he/she can remain involved with you in good faith now and in the future. It is a spiritual law that you can only have what you dare to give up. The more you give up the gift, the more it can be given to you.

2. The Law of Jointness

A spiritual relationship requires togetherness.
It is difficult to have a relationship with someone who cannot unite with your vision on relationships, values and norms, your lifestyle, your interests and your way of doing things. Before you consider getting into a serious relationship with someone, it’s important to know that you enjoy each other’s company, respect each other, and have something in common in several areas.
After the romantic phase comes the realism phase. In this phase we face the challenge of accepting our partner as he/she is. W e cannot change him/her to fit the image we have of a partner. Ask yourself if you can accept your partner as he/she is now. No partner is perfect. No partner is perfect. No partner meets all our expectations and dreams.
This second phase of the relationship is about accepting each other’s strengths and weaknesses, the dark and the light aspects, the hopeful and the fearful expectations. If you set yourself the goal of a lasting, spiritually uplifting relationship, you would do well to make sure that you and your partner have a common vision for that relationship and agree on your values and beliefs, your range of interests and the level of commitment together.

3. The Law of Growth

In a spiritual relationship, both must have the freedom to grow and express themselves as individuals.
Differences are just as important in a relationship as the similarities. It is very easy to love people who are the same as you, but it is not so easy to love people who do not agree with your values, norms and interests. To do this you must love unconditionally. Spiritual partnership is based on unconditional love and acceptance.
Boundaries are very important in a relationship. Just because you are a couple doesn’t mean you stop being an individual. In fact, you can measure the strength of a relationship by the extent to which partners feel free to achieve self-realization within the relationship.
Growth and togetherness are equally important in a relationship. The joint promotes stability and a sense of closeness. Growth promotes the learning process and an expansion of consciousness. When the need for security (togetherness) dominates in a relationship, there is a danger of emotional stagnation and creative frustration. If the need for growth dominates, there is a danger of emotional instability, loss of contact and lack of trust. To avoid those potential problems, you and your partner need to take a close look at how much growth and security each of you needs. You and your partner must each determine for yourself what position you take when it comes to a balance between togetherness and growth.
The balance between personal development and togetherness must be constantly monitored. That balance changes over time, as the needs of the partners and the needs within the relationship change. Good communication between the partners ensures that neither feels held back or loses contact.

4. The Law of Communication

In a spiritual relationship, regular, sincere, non-accusatory communication is a necessity.
The essence of communication is listening. We must first listen to and take responsibility for our own thoughts and feelings before we can express them to others. Then, when we have expressed our thoughts and feelings without blaming others, we should listen to what others say about their thoughts and feelings.
There are two ways of listening. One is to listen with judgment; the other is to honor listening without judgment. When we listen with judgment, we are not really listening. It doesn’t matter whether we listen to someone else or to ourselves. In both cases, judgment prevents us from really hearing what is being thought or felt.
Communication is either there or not. Candid communication requires sincerity on the part of the speaker and acceptance on the part of the listener. If the speaker makes accusations and the listener makes judgments, then there is no communication, there is an attack.
To communicate effectively you need to do the following:

  • Listen to your own thoughts and feelings until you know what they are and realize that they are yours and no one else’s.
  • Express what you think and feel honestly to others, without blaming them or trying to hold them responsible for what you think or how you feel.
  • Listen without judgment to the thoughts and feelings that others want to share with you. Remember that everything they say, think and feel is a description of their state of mind. This may have something to do with your own state of mind, but it may not.

If you find yourself wanting to correct the other person or defend yourself when they express thoughts and feelings to you, you may not be really listening and are likely to hit some sensitive spots. They may reflect a part of you that you don’t want to see (yet).
There is one commandment you must observe to increase the chances of successful communication: try not to talk to your partner when you are upset or angry. Ask for a time-out. It’s important to keep your mouth shut until you can truly admit everything you’re thinking and feeling to yourself and know that it’s yours. If you don’t do this, there is a good chance that you will accuse your partner of things and the accusations will only increase the misunderstanding and the feeling of distance between the two of you. When you are upset, you should not lash out at your partner. Take responsibility for your own thoughts and feelings.
Good communication helps you and your partner stay emotionally connected .

5. The Law of Mirroring

What we don’t like about our partner is a reflection of what we don’t like or find acceptable about ourselves.
If you’re trying to run away from yourself, a relationship is the last place you should try to hide. The purpose of an intimate relationship is for you to learn to face your own fears, judgments, doubts and insecurities. When our partner triggers fears and doubts in us, and that happens in any intimate relationship, we don’t want to face them head-on. You can do two things; or you can focus on what your partner did or said, find it wrong and try to get our partner to stop doing it in the future, or you can take responsibility for your fears and/or doubts. In the first case, we refuse to deal with our pain/fear/doubt by making someone else responsible for it. In the second case, we let that pain/fear/doubt get through to us, we admit it and let our partner know what is going on inside us. The important thing about this exchange is not saying, “You were mean to me,” but rather, “What you said/did caused me fear/pain/doubt.”
The question I need to ask myself is not: ‘Who attacked me?’, but: ‘Why do I feel attacked?’. You are responsible for healing the pain/doubt/fear, even if someone else is the one who opened the wound. Every time our partner triggers something in us, we have the opportunity to see through our illusions (beliefs about ourselves and others that are not true) and drop them once and for all.
It is a spiritual law that everything that bothers us about another person shows us that part of ourselves that we do not want to love and accept. Your partner is a mirror that helps you come face to face with yourself. Everything we find difficult to accept about ourselves is reflected in our partner. For example, if we think our partner is selfish, it may be because we are acting selfishly ourselves. Or it may be that our partner stands up for himself and that is something we are not able to do or dare to do ourselves.
When we are aware of our own inner struggle and can stop ourselves from projecting the responsibility for our misery onto our partner, our partner becomes our most important teacher. When this intense learning process within the relationship is mutual, the partnership is transformed into a spiritual path to self-knowledge and fulfillment.

6. The Law of Responsibility

In a spiritual relationship, both partners take responsibility for their thoughts, feelings and experiences.
It is perhaps ironic that a relationship, in which the emphasis is clearly on togetherness and camaraderie, requires nothing other than that we take responsibility for ourselves. Everything we think, feel and experience belongs to us. Everything our partner thinks, feels and experiences belongs to him or her. The beauty of this sixth spiritual law is lost on those who want to make their partner responsible for their happiness or misery.
Refraining from projection is one of the biggest challenges of a relationship. When you can admit what belongs to you – your thoughts, feelings and actions – and leave with your partner what belongs to him/her – his/her thoughts, feelings and actions – you create healthy boundaries between you and your partner. The challenge is that you honestly say what you feel or think (e.g.: I am sad) without trying to hold your partner responsible for it (e.g.: I am sad because you didn’t come home on time).
If we want to take responsibility for our own existence, we must accept it as it is. We need to drop our interpretations and judgments, or at least become aware of them. We don’t have to make our partners responsible for what we think or feel. When we realize that we are responsible for what happens, we are always free to make a different choice.

7. The Law of Forgiveness

In a spiritual relationship, continuous forgiveness of yourself and your partner is part of the daily practice.
If we try to shape the spiritual laws discussed in our thinking and in our relationships, we should not lose sight of the fact that we are not perfect. will do. After all, there is no perfection on the human level. No matter how well partners fit together, no matter how much they love each other, no relationship is without trouble and struggle.
Asking for forgiveness does not mean going to the other person and saying, “I’m sorry.” It means that you go to the other person and say: ‘This is what is happening to me. I hope you can accept that and do something with it . I am doing the best I can’. It means that you learn to accept your own situation, even if it is difficult, and give your partner the opportunity to accept it. If you can accept what you feel or think when you actually want to judge it, that is self-forgiveness. Accepting your partner’s feelings and thoughts, when you actually want to judge them or find something wrong with them, is an extension of that self-forgiveness to him/her. This lets your partner know: ‘I forgive myself for judging you. My intention is to accept you completely as you are’.
When we realize that we always have only one person to forgive in any situation, namely ourselves, we finally see that we have been given the keys to the kingdom. By forgiving ourselves for what we think of others, we will feel free to respond to them differently from now on.
It is impossible to find forgiveness as long as you continue to blame yourself or the other person. You have to find a way to move from blame to responsibility.
Forgiveness is of no use if you are not aware of your own sensitivities and are unwilling to do anything to correct them. Pain wakes you up. It encourages you to be aware and responsible.
Many people think that forgiveness is a chore. They think that you have to change yourself or ask your partner to change. Although change comes as a result of forgiveness , you cannot demand change.
Forgiveness does not require external as much as internal changes. If you stop blaming your partner and take responsibility for your sadness and dissatisfaction, the forgiveness process starts . Forgiveness is not so much doing something as undoing something. It allows us to undo guilt and blame. Only an ongoing process of forgiveness allows us to maintain the partnership as it experiences its inevitable ups and downs. Forgiveness erases guilt and blame and allows us to emotionally reconnect with our partner and renew our commitment to the relationship.

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