Over the holidays we went to breakfast with my husband’s cousin.  I was so happy to see him and his wife!  Not just because they are hilarious and there’s a new baby in the mix…

HoldingHands black and whiteThe week before our wedding in 2006, there was a huge fight in my husband’s family.  It caused a major rift that has taken years to heal.  Truly, it was one of the most stressful situations I’ve been in.

But it wasn’t stressful because I couldn’t just bliss out and focus on being in love and how awesome my dress looked.

It was stressful to witness my husband in so much pain.  Defiance.  Betrayal.  Abandonment.  All these sharp and polarizing energies consumed him that week.  I remember thinking, “This is what the seeds of karma look like”.  I could see his soul changing.

This article isn’t about how to make families heal more quickly.

I wanted to share with you what I learned over the years about how to support a partner while NOT being a key player in the drama.

* Don’t Campaign for Your Solution –

Oh humans, we love to problem solve.  And you know when we have the best solutions?  When it’s not our problem.  It’s true, that when you are not deeply in the fog of sadness and confusion, you can see pathways out to the light.  However, you have to let your partner find their own way through the fog.  You may think they are moving like a glacier or being reactive and adding fuel to the fire, but your judgements about them create more tension.

geese-mate-for-life-1As a helper, healer and harmonizer, I tried to show other sides of the story and offer up possible ways out of the entanglement that would be graceful and powerful.  I “knew” he could do this without more pain.  And these ideas were heard… the first couple of times.  Then came the eye-glazing and, worse, distance between us.

Ultimately if you are just campaigning for your way out you are putting MORE pressure on your partner.    DROP your agenda for the battle.  DROP your agenda for peace.

* Give Space and Always Listen

As you let go of your timeline for “it to be over”, you will experience a spaciousness.  This is where your power comes from as a supporter.  From here, listen.  Listen to their anger, listen to the revelations.  They are transforming and they need to talk without it being a “move” in the drama.

If anyone who is in the other party in the situation wants to talk to you, be impeccable with your boundaries.  Listen, but don’t fall into gossip or talk behind your partners back.

* Be Authentic with Your Feelings

Sometimes when we are in the support position, we mute our feelings.  I found there is a lot more freedom in being real with my feelings and not “playing” psychologist.

What is underneath that problem solving side of us?  Our own feelings of hurt that we are trying to dissolve.  That is the most common reaction to pain: avoid, mask, stop or heal.

You are going through your own feelings.  Take the time to identity what they are.

For instance, a problem at their job can be really frustrating!  You learn about the details in the vacuum of your partners’ perceptions.  A feeling of helplessness also develops underneath your hope for resolution – since you can’t walk into their work place and demand everyone to “hug it out”.

The more honest you can be with your own feelings, the better your support will be.  Why? Because, once again, you are owning up to not having all the answers.  The authenticity of saying out loud, “I wish I knew what to do” carries more healing than “I know exactly what to do”.

* Practice Forgiveness

Coming to a place of forgiveness may seem like it’s only your partners “work”, either towards themselves or the other party.  The deepest forgiveness is theirs.

Yet, there is also peace to be reconciled within yourself.  This can happen in your own time.  As I mentioned above, you may see the perfect resolution.  Use your clarity towards resolving anger, hurt or confusion within yourself towards the whole situation.

burst-of-light2Our primary love relationships add more to our lives than words can encompass here (or anywhere!).  Much of life responds to your coupling and will present twists and turns for you both to face.  Still, you are very much two separate people… experiencing lessons meant just for you.

It is a rarely touched upon subject in the conversation about long term relationships… not everything that happens while you are together concerns you.  Most couples feel great relief when they discover they have not completely merged with their partners!

It is in the moments when we are called to witness the growth of our partner -whether we are loudly cheering them on or listening with our hearts in complete silence – that we are seeing the Divine at work within them.

Enjoying Life with Every Turn,