Is a spiritual partnership the same as a marriage? It could be, but usually it is not. First things first: A marriage is between two people who promise each other to stay together no matter WHAT happens. This can be a very comforting thing, and it can also be a license for either of them to abuse, disregard or disrespect the other. Some marriages can continue a long time this way. Perhaps you have seen one. A spiritual partnership is between people who promise themselves to use all of their experiences to grow spiritually. They use their emotions to show them how to create constructive and healthy and joyful consequences instead of destructive and unhealthy and painful consequences. Can you imagine using a horrible, painful, can't-get-any-worse experience to grow spiritually? Those are among the best kind. Spiritual partners don't squander them by exploding in rage or dissolving into depression. Any number of people form a spiritual partnership: two people in a live-together, have-children-together, monogamous relationship; six people in a family; or co-workers who want to use their relationships to do more than complain, compete, gossip and judge. Of course, co-workers can appreciate one another, be grateful for one another and cooperate with one another, but when they set their intentions to do that all the time, they are already experimenting with a spiritual partnership.
When two people in an intimate-couple relationship look at their interactions as opportunities to learn about themselves instead of change each other, they are infusing their relationship with the energy of spiritual partnership. If they are married, they infuse their marriage with the energy of spiritual partnership, and eventually it will become a spiritual partnership. A spiritual partnership is a partnership between equals for the purpose of spiritual growth. Spiritual partners use their delightful experiences together as well as their power struggles to learn about themselves and change themselves. This is a new way to live. A new way to create together. A new way to evolve together.
Do you know people who want to become more aware of their emotions instead of avoid them? They are potential spiritual partners. Do you know people who strive to take responsibility for the consequences of their choices instead of blaming others for them? They are potential spiritual partners. Spiritual partners commit to their own spiritual growth. If this is attractive to you, you are a potential spiritual partner.
Watch Gary talk more about spiritual partnerships with his wife, Linda Francis, and Oprah this Sunday, February 12, at 11/10c on OWN's "Super Soul Sunday."
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