For all the relationship advice I have received over the years, I can safely say that little of it served me well; if anything it contributed only to the fact that I stayed in relationships that I really ought to have ended long before I did. In fact some of them I never should have started!
I do recall my mother’s not-so-sage advice when I was embarking on my first serious relationship where she said, “try living with three different men before you decide to marry as you don’t really know someone until you live with them!” Even when she told me that something in me thought, “But what if I decide it should have been the first or second one and l’ve already moved on!”
Fortunately this advice didn’t stick and nothing of it swayed my choices to be in a relationship or not, let alone whether to marry or not. I already knew that I would only marry if it felt right.
Thirty-five years down the track from that advice I HAVE married, a man I never expected to meet and one so beautifully compatible there was no question when it came to marrying him, no matter what number he was in the ‘lived-with’ stakes.
Regardless of this compatibility, which supported us to establish a very harmonious and easy day-to-day relationship, there was still the inevitable navigation of our particular idiosyncrasies, or to be more precise, the areas where we were each still inclined to get triggered by one another.
This would lead to inevitable small irritations and occasionally escalate into a more obvious annoyance. These moments were short-lived but seemed out of place within the usual harmonious flow we generally found ourselves in.
One day, after one of these moments, I pondered a little deeper on what was taking place and how it might be addressed. I had already tried the usual head-on approach with little receptivity, unsurprisingly!
I recalled a presentation I had attended on appreciation with Serge Benhayon and he’d said something that suddenly struck home.
“If ever you have an issue with someone, it’s because you haven’t appreciated them well before.”
(AWT Presentation July 9th on Appreciation, 2016)
Bingo! I knew that was the answer.
Being someone with a tendency until then to see faults well before I might acknowledge valuable attributes (both in myself and others), I pondered the potential impact of my husband not feeling the extent of appreciation for who he is and ALL that he brings that is true and amazing.
So we embarked on what became a fun and playful nightly exercise of sharing one thing each that we appreciated about the other that day, each time something that had never been expressed before. The stipulation was that these could not be things we had done at a functional level; we were nominating true qualities we could recognise as present in something the other had done or said. For example, one thing that emerged is my husband has an in-built radar for truth. He can pick the ‘untruth’ in almost any situation and nail it in a few words. He is seldom swayed by the outer appearance of things and can hone in on exactly what it is that is out of order.
What unfolded for me was nothing short of incredible, with every night revealing yet another aspect or detail to this beautiful man that I had not brought to the light of day and expressed in full before. Interestingly, I found the healing in this exercise was often felt more in the expressing than it was in receiving back.
Each time something of truth was shared, we both felt expansive and confirmed in who we are, being beautiful, most definitely divine and oh, so worthwhile!
Essentially what occurred in our relationship over the next six months was that we built a foundation of love and respect for each other’s true value, a foundation that is there to this day and leaves us feeling unshakeable as a couple. There can be no focus on faults, when what is amazing and true in each other is plain as day.
As well, and quite miraculously, we got to know each other in such an intricate and detailed way that those niggles previously mentioned just melted away. There is no longer any annoyance with each other; that is now something relegated to an amusing, distant memory.
Appreciation of one another’s true value is now a natural and constant exchange between us, no longer a pointed exercise, as it is now just part of the foundation we call our relationship.
So, what resulted from a simple but profoundly true statement by Serge Benhayon became the most sage piece of relationship advice I have yet to receive.
By Jennifer Ellis, Brisbane, Australia