Many human relationships start off in heaven and gradually come back to earth. That is common but not inevitable. You can recover the romance or joy of happy and harmonious human relationships. The Secret of Romance explains how you find romantic love. This article presents a spiritual method to maintain or recover the sweetness of romance when it begins to fade or even after it totally disappears. What applies to romantic relationship applies to creating and maintaining other types of relationships as well.
Achieving and maintaining positive and joyous human relationships is more difficult than attaining high professional eminence, but it is still possible. Professional eminence is attained by increasing the capacity for work. Money is earned by raising the capacity for organization. Happy romantic relationships are possible in the measure you are willing to raise your capacity for living.
The capacity for living is the capacity to make human contacts pleasurable. All human contacts can be made pleasurable, if you have no objection to learning the principle and practicing it. We often tend to romanticize love as some magic formula which comes and goes like a Divine messenger without our conscious intention or control. But lasting human relationships are built of much more earthly stuff. Here is a graded series of methods you can adopt to achieve or restore lasting harmony and joy in any human relationship.
In earlier centuries manners were so highly revered that the quality and value of an individual was judged almost entirely by how they appeared and behaved. Therefore only those with sufficient wealth to dress well, good education and breeding could qualify themselves. Ours is an egalitarian age where we reject as preposterous the notion that people should be judged by their appearance or how much money they have to spend on clothes. Ours is an age where we idolize freedom of expression, even when it is crude or offensive.
But there is a truth and power in good manners that we ignore at our peril. That value of manners is best illustrated by the way men and women behave during the period of courtship before marriage. Once they are attracted to one another, young lovers take an extraordinary effort to be polite, thoughtful, considerate and understanding with regard to each other. Their every thought is about pleasing the other person, doing what they want to do, saying what they would like to hear, avoiding activities and topics that disturb or annoy. Young lovers reveal a marvelous capacity for selflessness and self-giving that can make the romantic relationship the most wonderful and unforgettable experience.
Imagine maintaining the sense of romantic wonder through and after years of constant companionship. That is a dream most people can only dream of and very few actually realize.
Why does the bliss of romantic love often fade so quickly even before the wedding or the honeymoon is over? It fades because most often the perfect manners and consideration of young lovers is not really an expression of good behavior.
Good behavior means that the manners we express truly and fully reflect our inner thoughts, feelings and attitudes. Too often in the urgent hope of winning the love of another, we display manners that are not endorsed by our feelings. We make sacrifices and act in a considerate manner to win the other person by an effort to suppress our own real feelings and preferences.
Once we win the affection of another and the security of relationship, the intense effort to shape our manners subsides. We begin to express more of what we really feel. Though we were willing to do anything and be anything to win the love of another person, once we have won it we would like the other person to accept us just as we are -- not as we have behaved -- and to indulge all the feelings and sentiments we concealed in order to win their affection.
Good manners creates the basis for good human relationships, but good behavior is essential for maintaining that harmonious relationships over time. Instead of dropping our good manners because it is not the way we really feel, those who want lasting happiness in relationship should strive to modify their thoughts and feelings to be in harmony with the good manners they express. Instead of changing our outer behavior,we should change our inner attitudes to make that good outer behavior more sincere and lasting.
There is nothing very remarkable or romantic about good manners and behavior, but the fact is that they form the bedrock on which lasting harmonious relationship are achieved. If it seems like too much self-restraint and effort is required to always be polite, accommodating, understanding, thoughtful and considerate of another person, then it is not rational or reasonable for you to expect the most rare and special of human experiences to last. Remarkable relationships call for remarkable efforts.
Good manners and good behavior are enough to preserve any relationship and any marriage. But they are not sufficient to maintain the intensity of romantic love. For that a greater effort is needed and a higher spiritual method is required. Here too there is a gradation of methods that you can apply to intensify and deepen the relationship and make it not only a source of harmony and joy but an endless opportunity for personal growth and spiritual progress.
The method of the The Secret may help you win the person of your dreams, but your capacity to retain that person and retain the magic of the initial relationship depends on the receptivity and expansiveness of your personality. They set the limits. The following method are intended to make you more open, receptive and responsive so that greater joy and harmony can express in and through you.
Love is Blind
Remember how you felt during the peak intensities of romantic love. Those are times when we see and feel the other person as the answer to our dreams, the perfect complement. We do not see the other person's defects. Even when others point them out, we laugh or disregard them as non-existent or insignificant. Even when the other offends or hurts us, we are quick to forgive and forget without grudge or complaint, so long as we can restore the sweet feeling. "Love is blind" as Shakespeare said, and that is the reasons it is so sweet.
We all like to think we are marrying an ideal person, even though we know from past experience that human beings are never ideal. We all like to flatter ourselves with the thought that we are deserving of an ideal mate, even when we know objectively that our own personality and behavior is very far from ideal.
We may not be able to become ideal and we certainly cannot make another person ideal -- in fact, the more we try, the less ideal they will become -- but we can try to restore the vision we had during the times when we felt ideal romantic love. There is no sense blaming the other person for disappointing your concept of the ideal. Disappointment always works both ways. If you cannot be perfect, you can hardly expect them to be.
To restore the sweetness of that time, the best method is to restore the vision of the lover that sees only the positive side in the other person and refuses to take note or be disturbed by that which is other than perfect and ideal.
If you cannot absolutely ignore what appears negative or objectionable in another, you can at least refuse to speak about it, think about it, complain about it or dwell on it. That is the very least that is required if you want to sustain or recover romantic love.
Take the Other Person's Point of View
We live in the ego and look out at the world through our own eyes from our own vantage point. It is difficult for the ego to even recognize that other people may see and experience things differently than we do. It is even more difficult -- extremely difficult -- for the ego to get out of its own way of seeing things and seeing things through the eyes of another.
Empathy is the capacity to imagine how another person thinks and feels. Empathy is natural among friends. But more is required for love. A lover must be able to not only imagine but actually identify with what the other person is experiencing as an extension of oneself. Here many people will complain that they understand, empathize or even identify with their partner, but it is not mutual. If you really have the capacity to identify, then you will understand why it is not mutual and you will not feel offended or make demands that the other change.
The passionate romantic does not even perceive the defects in the person he loves. He disregards the defects which other people see and cherishes something deeper in the other person. What some people do out of infatuation or obedience to authority, we must learn to do by rational understanding. Everyone is a mix of positive and negative qualities. What matters is which side we express and emphasize. Seek to discover the greater good in other people to ignore or refuse to perceive their defects. You will find the positive qualities of the other person coming to the surface and the negative qualities receding. Spiritually, what we consider a defect in the other person may appear from the other person’s point of view as perfect or essential for accomplishment. If you are able to see the issue as he sees it, you will find his defect disappears.
Taking the other's point of view is a powerful spiritual method that elevates us to a higher level of consciousness and expands our personality. It can eliminate many sources of grievance and bring far greater richness and joy. But romantic love is the most demanding and challenging of human experiences. Therefore, even a sincere effort to identify with the other person will not always succeed. A deeper method is needed at times such as these.
Complementarity & Correspondences
One of the most profound spiritual insights in life is the correspondence between what we are inside and what comes to us from the world around. This is the basis for success of The Secret. It is based on the knowledge that what we are in our consciousness determines how the universe responds to us.
Our thoughts and feelings are only the surface level of our consciousness. Deeper inside are subconscious thoughts, feelings and impulses of which we may be only partially aware or completely unconscious. Yet the universe responds to them as well and presents to us the very same aspects and vibrations in those we meet and interact with.
People who are attracted to one another form spiritual complements. Which means that there personalities bring out complementary aspects of the other person. If you sincerely look within and learn to understand the system of correspondences, you will discover that every personal characteristic that comes to you from outside has a corresponding aspect within you. Intimate human relationships are the ultimate field for spiritual progress because they present us with an opportunity to learn far more about ourselves than we could ever do in isolation.
We do not have the power to change another human being. But we do have the power to alter our own opinions, attitudes, values and motives. When we are successful in changing any undesirable aspect of our own personality, we find an instantaneous change in the behavior of other people toward us, especially those who express similar characteristics. That instantaneous change in other people and our external environment as a result of our own inner change is referred to on this site as Life Response.
The subject of inner-outer correspondences is too complex to consider in greater detail here. It is discussed in many other articles found in Life Portal and illustrated in detail in Pride & Prejudice Project and many of the novels and movies analyzed on this site.
This is a pure spiritual method for progress. As long as you follow the spirit of discovering the greater good in the other person, this method can never fail. In fact, it has the inherent capacity to become increasingly effective the more it is practiced.
Spiritual Freedom and Progress
Psychological self-awareness helps us understand and accept ourselves and other people for what they are. It makes us more tolerant and humble. But the ultimate spiritual method is based on freedom.
All real growth takes place in freedom. And the greatest freedom we can offer to another person is the freedom to be themselves without being judged or condemned for what they are. All of us expand in freedom. But since our natures are far from perfect, the more freedom we have, the more we tend to express those very traits which other people disapprove of. How then are we to give freedom to another and still maintain romantic love?
At its height, romantic love is a pure spiritual adventure of self-discovery. Only those with the aspiration, courage, fortitude and willingness for adventure can attempt it. The ultimate secret of romantic love is not to ignore or even to understand the defects and deficiencies in another person. It is to discover the deeper truth, the diviner element in the other person which expresses in and through the deficient behavior. It is not to love the other in spite of what they are, but rather to love them at a deeper depth which discovers, even in their most refractory behaviors, a source of sweetness and joy.
Recovering Lost Love
These methods can be used to ensure that love lasts, grows and keeps on growing in intensity, harmony and joy. But what about those who have already lost the romantic feeling and even lost their lover. There is a spiritual method that can even bring back the lover that has gone away. See Secret Forum: Romance#How to restore the relationship
See also other articles on The Secret