Thousands of years ago, Noah may have built an ark that allowed couples – of all stripes – to survive the destruction of the world. Today, we can still turn toward relationship as a refuge from the ongoing stress of daily tumult.
Recent scientific findings show that feelings of love alleviate pain in the same way that analgesics work. It’s not enough to just climb onto the ark, though. Those feelings of love need to be kept fresh and passionate!
A love relationship is considered the most primary of human alliances. Within each of us is a ‘homing device’ that seeks a partner, yearns for intimate joining with the soul of another human being. Finding a love-partner may seem a daunting task, yet day after day, couples continue to say “I do, ‘ publicly announcing their intention to love one another ‘forever.’
Nearly half of them abandon the effort long before ‘forever’ has been reached. Staying aboard the ark seems to be even more challenging than embarking in the first place.
So why do we keep trying, why do so many of us continue to walk down the aisle?
Because it is in the arms of a beloved partner that we can most truly embrace ourselves. The kiss of the beloved awakens within us a felt experience of life’s vibrating spirit. The deep happiness within us is most easily revealed through the eyes of our beloved. The touch of a lover’s hand lets us know that our existence matters. We thrive and blossom when we love and are loved. Our inner spirit pushes us toward one another, seeking its own recognition.
While the reasons for marriage may no longer be economic security or social standing, there are still many rewards of relationship with a “significant other.” There is someone to play with, to parent with, to share in the activities and decision making of daily life. Someone who cares, who is concerned when we are ill, someone to turn to in an emergency, someone to call when, like on 9/11, our world falls apart. And on the other side, someone for us to be involved with, to care for, to be concerned about. Scientific studies confirm that committed relationships are good for our health.
Yet most of all, it is the promise of deep intimacy, both sexual and spiritual, that draws us onto the ark. Without the enduring primacy of this passionate union, many relationships flounder and break down. Our ‘homing device’ predisposes us to recognize the authentic presence of love, beyond the trappings of an otherwise supportive relationship. When this profound connection is present, a relationship can survive the bumps and detours that appear along the way. The ark proves itself in stormy weather. But without authentic presence, we lose our faith. The ‘homing device’ signal weakens and our attachment to the relationship – and one another – loosens. We notice that we have ceased to bloom. We begin to disembark, separately.
So the challenge is to learn how to maintain the intensity and joy of an intimate bond with a significant other, even the same person we have lived with for years. The good news is that being authentically present for such union is within our reach! When we drop our masks, and center ourselves in our own beingness, we open to an ongoing internal presence of love. It is only this experience, this organic reality, that will satisfy our questing ‘homing device’. And it is hidden right inside us all the time! Our partner is the catalyst, awakening us to the breath of our own deep spirit and mirroring back to us the energy of love.
There is an empowering sense of self when we discover the love that lives within us. And when this experience is shared erotically and spiritually with our partner, we create a sacred sanctuary for our ongoing conscious journey through life. Getting aboard the ark is just the first step.