February 27, 2020

“The distance from your pain, your grief, your unattended wounds, is the distance from your partner.” Stephen and Andrea Levine

“I love Love. I love being in a relationship. I think it’s the most beautiful gift on Earth to share your life with someone and to commit to that Love. It asks a lot of work but when you find that person and despite his or her flaws you are still in love with your partner, it’s a marvelous feeling. For the past 20 years, I’ve been figuring out what Love means to me. And, after 2 marriages and so 2 divorces, I’m finally able to know what I want and what I don’t want. The biggest teaching from my two marriages that I got is that before loving someone else, I had to love the woman that I was/am. Because, no one can complete you or make you feel loved if at first, you don’t see it in yourself. It takes time to discover your true self, I think it is possible to do it while being involved in a relationship but for me and because of my passionate personality, I was unable to do it. But again, I learned from all of my former partners and even though I might have not been grateful for all of them at some point, right now I’m in complete peace and acceptance of my love life. And, on top of that number 3 is my favorite number so I’m pretty hopeful for Husband Number 3 – Don’t you dare disappoint me! (That’s my French humor but if you’ve been working with me or attending my events, you know that part!)” 

How can a relationship be successful? 
What are the principles of Family Constellations in order to thrive in your love life? 
What do we do with our former partners? 
How do we intelligently get divorced or separated? 
Who has priority? Our relationship as a couple? Or as parents? 

Bert Hellinger said: “A relationship between a man and a woman must function well in the first 15 minutes. If it does not you can forget about it. That’s when all the rules are established. In the first 15 minutes. Basically, nothing changes after that.”

When I start my workshop on relationships with that quote, participants are looking at me like “What?!” and I can see they are right away thinking of the first 15 minutes of their encounter. 

Bert Hellinger is very straight forward. He does not care about what people think. He just speaks his truth and I admire that. So, just take it or leave it. 

I have another question for you, “Do you remember why you fell in love with that person?” And, every time, you are hesitant or doubtful about your marriage/relationship, go back to that question – go back to the basics. Go back to that feeling of gratefulness and pure love. And, if really at that moment nothing comes up, maybe it’s time to have a deeper conversation with your partner. 

Going back to Love through the lens of Family Constellations, here are a few principles that I deeply cherish: 

  • In order for a couple to succeed, each of the partners has to leave his or her original family not only in the physical sense, but also on terms of leaving behind some of the principles of the family. The new couple needs to work out new principles that will be fair to both families. On this new level, the couple can forge an intimate relationship. 
  • The relationship to a partner succeeds through the separation from father and mother. A separation that is made with respect and acceptance. Otherwise, on a subconscious level you will ask your partner to repair what you did not get from your parents. 
  • In a relationship, the important thing is not wanting to make the other one happy but to be happy first and then offering this happiness to our partner. 
  • If you have challenges with your partner, don’t automatically conclude that your partner is the source of the problem. Instead, listen to the words of your complaints without blaming your partner or becoming captivated by the emotions. 

Ask yourself: 

Do these words sound familiar?
Do I have the same complaint about my mother or father?
Did my mother or father have the same complaint about the other?
Did my grandmother or grandfather struggle in a similar way?
Is there a parallel between two or three generations?
Does my experience with my partner mirror how I felt as a small child with my parents?

  • A good separation succeeds when both partners say to each other: “I loved you very much. I gladly gave what I gave to you. You gave me a great deal too and I treasure it. I accept my share of the responsibility for whatever went wrong between us and leave your responsibility to you. And now I will leave you in peace.”
  • Affirmations that you practice with the End of a relationship: “We are already complete. We have done well. When I look at our son/daughter, I remember the respect that I have for you. In our child/children, I respect you and I love you.”
  • A relationship depends on a continuous exchange of giving and taking, bound up with love. That means that each takes and each gives. 
  • Being able to describe concretely what you want for your partner is important. What I mean by concrete: Some people say to their partner, “I want you to love me more.” In that situation, the partner never knows when the wish has been fulfilled. If what is said is, “I want you to go walking with me for half an hour,” then he or she knows exactly when the wish has been satisfied. It’s important to be concrete. Otherwise, the partner is put under pressure to fulfill a wish that can’t be fulfilled, and he or she gives nothing because it’s all too much. Being able to describe concretely what you want is important for both partners in a relationship. 
  • The most valuable gift one person can give another is honor and respect – and that means for the person exactly as he or she is. 
  • And, the most important one… Enjoy your relationship. Always take care of the couple that you are. A happy couple equals happy children.

And, if right now your relationship looks like “The war of the Roses” but, you are still willing to give it a try here is an exercise: 

One way to find a new starting point is for each partner to write down his or her deepest wishes for the relationship. The wishes have to be written without any demands or any echoes of blame. Each person completes the task alone according to his or her own wishes, for example, “My deepest desire is …” At some time in the next day or two, you read your heartfelt desires aloud to your wife/husband. She/he should simply listen, without reaction, without agreement or disagreement, and without comment. After a few days, she/he reads her/his wishes aloud to you. Again, she/he just reads and you only listen. You do not react in any way, positively or negatively. 

Keep in mind that your relationship is unique, and the most important thing is to communicate with your partner. I know it’s not easy, sometimes you just want to be understood right away but well, Santa Claus does not exist either… And, please stop comparing your relationship with your friends because you never know what happens when the door is closed. 

I will finish that blog with one sentence that I said to my friends that I had the pleasure to marry in NYC: “And, never stop believing in your Love.” 

Marine Sélénée