What is Conscious Relationship?
Couples see me for many reasons.
There may be issues around intimacy. There may be conflict around finances, parenting, socialising, or values. There may be disappointment.
They may have grown apart and feeling that they are no longer ‘in
love.’ There may have been a betrayal of trust.
Often, they are desperate.
But, very often, much can be done!
Now, although each couple is unique, there are also often
commonalities. In over thirty years of working with couples, I
have noticed some kinds of problems that tend to come up time
and time again and I’ll be exploring some of those here - together
with insights and solutions that may help you on your way.
The approach I’ll be taking is what I call ‘Conscious Relationship’ -
a relatively modern development.
Traditionally, the focus of relationships has been on the roles
that each person has to play and these roles have been very
carefully prescribed. And, that suited most people because each
person knew exactly what was expected of him or her and that
created a solid sense of security.
In the 1950’s in the USA, for example, there was a clear
expectation that the husband provide financially for the family
and that the wife looked after the kids and the home. That may
have worked then but most couples today have a much more
complex and varied set of expectations!
And - whether it be via our parenting or from society at large -
there are many other social influences too.
We tend to dress according to social trends, to wear our hair according to fashion, to marry in way that is supported by our society and to be promiscuous to the degree that is tolerated by our culture.
Social influence is enormously powerful!
And, so is our biology!
In fact, if we look at things through the lens of evolutionary
psychology, many of of our expectations are still largely
determined by our biology. Like all other apes, we seek mates. We
strive for security. We desire sex. We raise and protect our
families. And, we raise our children by cooperating with others in
communities and we protect those communities from ‘others.’
We are naturally driven to these things and very often we don’t
realise that it’s largely our biology at play.
So, much of our lives - including our relationships - are very
significantly determined by our biology and by culture.
Now, I’m sure that this is not news to you! But the thing that is
really interesting in all of this is that both the biological drives
and the social conditioning - are very largely unconsciously driven.
In most cases, couples allow their biology and their culture to
determine much of their lives without even knowing that this is
And, that is fine for many but some people long for something
They want to become more conscious.
They want to know who they are and they want to know their partners deeply. They want to be true to their hearts. And, they want to become most fully who they really are.
For such couples, Conscious Relationship is the way to go.
Now, Conscious Relationship is not everyone’s cup of tea. I respect
that and I work happily with many couples for whom this is not a
priority at all.
But, here I’m talking about Conscious Relationship and some of
the common problems that are dealt with along the way. And, I
hope that will see just how helpful this insightful approach can
So, what are common problems that I see in my practice?
Well, we could start with two of the more obvious - sex and
money. And, we will mention these. But, I want to start with ‘falling out of love‘ because so many couple come to couples work feeling bereft because they just don’t feel the same about each other any more. What they don’t realise is that this happens to us all!
Most of us in the modern world get married when we are ‘in love.’
And, of course, it’s wonderful. We feel complete, happy, joyful, and
alive. We would give everything to our love and we discover so
much commonality and have so much fun.
Who wouldn’t want that?
But, there is a huge downside because being in love is a deeply
In fact, it is so unconscious that the great Psychologist - Carl Jung - called it a “socially-condoned psychosis.”
All of us who have been in love know that we eventually fall out of
the enchantment and find ourselves wondering what went wrong.
Things were wonderful but now the passion of the first bloom has
wilted and we are left feeling disappointed and confused.
Despite all the ‘happy-ever-after’ messages that we have received
from popular music, from Hollywood films and from thousands of
romantic novels, we will eventually fall out of love.
It’s just what happens!
And, it’s painful, worrying even deeply disillusioning. But there is
a silver lining!
The spiritual teacher, Adyashanti, once asked the participants in a
group that he was running what they thought love really is. Most
members of the group had strong ideas. But, one man - an elderly
Japanese gentleman - remained silent. In the end, he couldn't keep
quiet and he began to talk about how, when he had gotten
married in Japan, his hope was that - by the time he died - he
would have learned something of what love really is.