Marriage, at best, is 50% successful as an institution, and many of those 50% are less than satisfied according to conventional wisdom. Why is that? Well, an easy answer is many people get married for the wrong reasons, notably to get out of the house, to be taken care of, to alleviate boredom, because the sex was so good, to leave an abusive experience, etc. Certainly those reasons don’t bode well for the longevity of any marriage, once the bloom is off the rose. Having said that, there is a way in which we can consciously measure the likelihood that any committed relationship will have longevity.
There are five aspects to being human – physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, and sexual. Why do I separate sexual from physical? I’m so glad you asked. Primarily because, in our society sexual is buried in the physical so as to avoid talking about, and exploring it. But that’s another story. According to the shaman with whom I studied, we “resonate” energetically with others in all five of those aspects. And energetically we are either in “cohesion” – energetically compatible, “adhesion” – there’s both friction and attraction, or “repulsion” – the opposite of attraction. It’s pretty easy to measure the physical and the sexual aspects, since they are, well, completely out there. It’s a lot more challenging to measure the other three – emotional, mental, and spiritual. And here’s where the rubber meets the road, so to speak.
To guarantee the possibility for a stable, long term, intimate relationship, we need to be in the same ballpark with these latter three aspects. Regrettably, they almost always take a back seat to the physical and sexual, that initial chemistry that makes sex so good, until it isn’t. So do we have to be in cohesion in all five aspects? Well, that would be ideal. But, no, we don’t. What we do need is the conscious awareness about those aspects that are not in cohesion, and a clear intention to work, together and individually, to improve those behaviors and attitudes that can cause friction.
So, we can be in cohesion mentally and spiritually, in adhesion physically and sexually, and in repulsion emotionally, or any combination. Have you ever thought about your relationships in this way? Doubtful, except as you probably have looked back on a “failed” relationship to see what probably was obvious to your closest friends. This doesn’t mean your relationship can’t succeed. It almost certainly means you need to make a conscious determination as to the kind of relationship – close friendship, casual friendship, friends with benefits, intimate relationship, long term committed relationship, professional relatioship.
How does this show up at work? According to Carl Jung, we expect people to be like us; and when they are not, we can attribute negative conscious intent to their behavior. This often leads to judgment and conflict, which has negative consequences amongst team members, and between managers and subordinates. Our differences can result in poor working relationships, which will have a negative impact on morale and the bottom line; or we can choose to view them as opportunities for more effective and efficient teamwork, which will improve our personal and professional lives, as well as the bottom line.
Relationships, no matter the setting, require attention and constant positive nurturing if our humanness is to be at its best.