As humans, we are beings of connection. Romantically connecting with others in a mutually rewarding way is both an art and a science-an art and science that is not always taught during our brain’s critical period for relationship building. However, no worries! Whenever there is a life issue, nature can usually offer some guidance. Check out the article below for the 4 metaphorical Seasons in romantic relationships and 3 sure-fire tips to experience more unconditional love in your relationships!
Fall is a time for transition and maturation. During fall, the leaves change colors and fall from the trees and the climate begins to elicit a crisp chill in the air. This is a time for accepting that the relationship is maturing too. Perhaps there is a change in the seriousness of the relationship, family members added or lost, or perhaps an unforeseen opportunity (yes, opportunity). Whichever has been the source of a change/maturation in your relationship, understand that it is an opportunity-whether for increased intimacy, connection, understanding, communication, or growth. During this gift of your relationship, you are invited to connect deeper with your spouse during this time of change and grow together. Vulnerability is key here-share openly and listen deeply. The old saying is “we have 2 ears and one mouth because we are supposed to listen twice as much as we speak.”
Winter is a time for preparation in nature-it’s cold and dry-and for many, a very inconvenient time. But did you know that the winter’s cold and dry climate offers the gift of eliminating the bacteria that could harm future crops? Winter also is a time where old plants and crops are breaking down and nourishing the soil for the future. In relationships, there is a season where things feel cold and dry “a dry spell”-during this time you may feel as though the same arguments are ensuing, things are less exciting, intimacy may be lacking-if you are able to embrace this in a healthy manner, this season of love can be a gift . Understand that most of the greatest gifts in life may not have always felt great at first (i.e., miracle of birth). During this season, the slow down of physical intimacy can allow for deeper emotional and spiritual reflection and the repeated arguments can show you the areas in which to start. During this season, talk with your spouse about what is working and what is not. Let go of grievances so that the soil of your relationship can be nourished. Know that the intimacy will return and be amazing. No season lasts forever-but each has a necessary gift to offer. When you receive a gift, you are taught to say thank you. Yet many of us deem a gift worthy of thanks to only be one that feels good. Express gratitude for all gifts.
Spring is symbolic of transformation and new beginnings. New growth begins to appear in the areas of our lawns that were previously covered with snow and ice. Branches of trees that were once bare are now filling with colorful new life. This season of love, if we have taken the time to reflect on our relationships and ourselves during the prior love season, can feel like a “renewed sense of hope” “turning a new leaf” in our relationships. During this gift of your relationship, you may experience a phenomenon of mindfulness called Beginner’s Mind, where you are able to see your spouse in a new positive light. Previous areas of your relationship that felt bare, are presenting with new insights and colorful ideas. This can happen because during the winter of your relationship, you were able to come to terms with what did not work (old perceptions of your spouse that no longer suit, unhealthy forms of communication, fear, etc) and let it go. Now for springtime, you plant new loving seeds for your relationship.
Summer is a time for celebration and harvest. The flowers are blooming, crops are being picked, days are longer, and the energy from the sun strongest. Last season, new seeds of love were planted. This is time now to nurture them. Relationships are in need of continual celebration and nurturing just as the crops and flowers need continued watering and pruning (letting go). This gift of your relationship can feel exciting and pleasant-as if no work is needed . However, continue to show thanks for the arguments you have let go, the new insights of each other from Beginner’s Mind, and celebrate each other-not just the behaviors but moreso the intrinsic traits-for how beautiful each other’s soul is. When you think, thank. This deep focus on light and gratitude in your relationships will allow for a beautiful and meaningful transition to the next season of your relationship.
Three Tips for Awakening the Unconditional Love in Your Relationship:
1. Allow Unconditional Vulnerability
Intimacy and energy cannot flow through walls. Relationships can have a tendency to amplify what’s already going on within us. Relationships have a way of showing us the mirror, especially if we have any insecurities. Again, everything is an opportunity; a gift. Genuinely great relationships are built by two authentic selves. Vulnerability is the precursor to deep genuine connection and growth. If you are experiencing insecurity, be vulnerable (strong) and tell your spouse that this is an area you are working on. Be yourself, stand out with purpose. You are beautiful just the way you are.
” …Your playing small doesn’t serve the world…” -Marianne Williamson
2. Honor Your Spouse’s Love Shape
Love expression is not one size fits all. How do you feel loved? Is by way of verbalizations you hear (auditory), physical affection (tactile), facial expressions (visual), activities performed together (kinesthetic)? There are so many shapes of love and they are all equally valued. They are not meant to be judged, but rather honored. Understanding your own and your spouse’s love shape, can help wonders. Different love shapes within a relationship adds vibrancy and variety. It helps you both expand your own love expressions to incorporate more shapes-the more shapes you have, the more incredible things you can build together. Love shapes can change according to our mood, our season- basically anything. Never assume you know your spouse’s love shape at all times. Continue to explore each other and honor the changes. Ask your spouse, “how can I help you feel most loved in this moment?” Powerful growth in your relationship can occur because of the answer, but more so just by the fact that you asked.
“We cannot rely on our native tongue if our spouse does not understand it. If we want them to feel the love we are trying to communicate, we must express it in his or her primary love language.”
-Gary Chapman, The Five Love Languages
3. Assume Unconditional Good Intent
The emotional outcome of a behavior does not necessarily equate the intent. At times our spouse may do something and we subsequently feel a level of distress-hence we assume that they intended us to feel that way. The result? Well, Pat Benatar may come to mind. BUT Love does not have to be a battlefield. When it feels like this, it may be an indication that he/she sparked an area of emotional sensitivity for you-what is commonly referred to as a wound. If you were to assume that your spouse always has good intent for his/her behaviors-might you respond differently towards your spouse? Might you respond with pain versus react with rage? Many times the other person does things not to maliciously cause you anguish, but perhaps a wound of their own was activated-perhaps he/she is feeling scared. If you approach a situation such as ” My feelings were hurt when I heard you say….can we talk about this so we can both better understand each other and what we both need?”-How different does this feel? This prevents the perception of an enemy (me vs. you) and instead allows you both to be in the learner position. You may uncover that there was a simple misunderstanding-and this could have prevented an argument. When in doubt, apologize for the disagreement and move forward. Nothing new can be accepted with two closed hands.
“Apologizing doesn’t mean that you are wrong and the other is right. It only means that you value the relationship more than your personal ego.”