I think a man and a woman should choose each other for life, for the simple reason that a long life with all its accidents is barely enough time for a man and a woman to understand each other and. . . to understand is to love.
—William Butler Yeats [Picture: William Butler Yeats, 1908]
THE LOVE NOTE
18 years of marriage, 23 years of friendship. I think we've learned a lot about each other. I believe Yeats is right. We, fortunately, have so much more to learn. At times I think I do know you and then realize I am just glimpsing a shade of understanding on the deeper sublime levels of who you are and what we can be. I am glad that I get to study you the rest of my life and thus learn you. You are worthy of great study. You are worthy of great understanding.
THE GREAT RELATIONSHIP PRINCIPLE
Become a Lifetime Student of the Master—Your Partner. Yes, "to understand is to love." For those of you have worked with me have learned The Deep Listening Validation Chain (I'll go over later). No one knows your partner better than he/she does. As such, he or she is the Master of Self. Rather than fight and argue, bow in humility to the master and learn from your partner. When you enter your home know you are entering the Relationship Dojo. Treat your partner with the same deference and respect as the student teaches the Sensei. Understand that the best Zen Masters teach not with direct instruction but through puzzling koans and allow you to struggle with your own experience. How is this different from your partner who may be difficult to understand, with whom you struggle with? Instead of fighting, learn to "sit with the discomfort" and just be with your partner in conflict. Study him/her so well that you come to know their secret suffering under their anger and criticism. Instead of bashing them back blow for blow, instead skillfully duck their blow and attend to their underlying pain. How? Through patient, respectful and compassionate listening. This is difficult. Tough. Do it anyway. It WILL take you a lifetime to master this art. Begin today. This lifetime is indeed "barely" enough time to understand each other.