Why are our relationships such a challenge?
By their very nature, relationships always push us toward duality, towards the opposites. They take us into both the light of our souls and the darkness of our subconscious. They force us to look at the light and experience the shadows.
If we deny the light of either ourselves or the other person, we relate to each other in conflict. If we deny the shadows of either ourselves or the other, we relate in illusion. Only by accepting both do we truly face reality and experience harmony.
Relationships also challenge us to accept the unknown of both ourselves and the other, and this is never easy. Meeting this challenge must be founded on trust. You need to trust that the other will get whatever they need from you. You also need to trust that you will get whatever you need from them.
The key word is NEED, not desire. We are not in relationships to have our desires fulfilled. It is up to us to fulfill our own desires and stop demanding that they be fulfilled by others. For example, if you have the desire to be loved, you must not demand it from someone else. You fulfill your need for love by expressing it, and no one can prevent you from doing that.
We usually create difficulties in our relationships when we let our desires get in the way of the needs. When we don't get our desires met "and that includes things like getting our way, getting what we want, getting love and attention, being made to feel important, being shown respect and honour, and so on" we usually get angry, sad, resentful or revengeful. When that happens we need to stop and ask ourselves what we really need, and then give it to ourselves rather than demanding it from others.
It's not always easy to know what we need. While we are conscious of our desires, our needs are usually related to what we are unconscious of. That's why intimacy is an important aspect of all relationships. Intimacy exposes the unconscious and teaches us trust. Intimacy helps us to recognize needs and awakens the love to respond to those needs. It especially empowers us to meet our own needs. Intimacy says: you are acceptable and lovable just as you are.
It helps to remember that soul is the underlying guide of all relationships. We always get what we need in our relationships because the soul always responds to need. If we don't recognize this, the problem lies only in our lack of awareness and understanding.
All of our relationships have the potential of showing us who we are as souls, and asking us to relate as souls to the other. That's why our relationship challenges are such powerful forces for personal growth!