October 21, 2015

The 3 Pillars of Outstanding Relationships.

couple kiss coffee


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After having witnessed the end of two of the longest and most significant relationships of my life I’ve been giving a lot of thought to love, particularly when it comes to finding a compatible partner.

I’ve spoken with a lot of people to learn about their ideas of love and what they’re seeking in an ideal partner. These conversations have allowed me to evolve and mature my own convictions about what I’m looking for in a life-long relationship.

How I used to think:

When I was younger, in fact, not even that long ago, I had my list like everyone else: I wanted a partner who looked or acted a particular way, or who didn’t have kids, or who made me laugh, or who liked dogs, the same movies, or was good in bed. Don’t knock that last one; my mother still tells me to this day that people looking for a great relationship should have at least three things they enjoy doing together, and one of those things should be great sex.

In any case, the list grew and was modified as I met new partners who impressed me—or disappointed me—in various ways.

Over time I realized there was a pattern to my thinking that allowed me to greatly simplify the way I look at a new potential partner. It allowed me to keep my heart open to finding love in all those that I established a connection with, even the ones with whom I felt I would not share long-term compatibility.

I have found this new way of looking at things to be much more liberating than maintaining a list, which is now in the trash. For those of us who are powerful at manifesting our own reality, the three pillars are a great way to keep from overthinking things and enables the universe to bring to us more of what we’re looking for, rather than people who exactly meet our poorly stated criteria and nothing more, leaving us frustrated.

The Three Pillars

Like most wonderful things about the universe, there’s nothing overly complex about the three pillars. Most self-aware people have probably touched on them all their lives or even thought about each one in detail in their search for a compatible partner.

I believe with all my heart that as human beings there are three things that connect us to each other. In each person we meet, particularly those we are interested in, we find that we are attracted to at least one of these pillars: the physical, the emotional, and the spiritual. Let’s explore them here.

The Physical Pillar

It may seem obvious that a partner’s beauty or handsomeness influences our perception of them, but it’s more than that. It’s also chemical in nature. Honestly, chemistry is even more important than looks. Ever wonder how a friend can find someone physically attractive when it’s clear to us that the object of their attention is hardly the cutest person in the room? Chemistry!

This is one of the things I dislike about online dating. Online daters get a veritable menu of potential partners and because there are so many choices (and so little time to read lengthy profiles in great detail, if we trust their profiles at all) some may tend to select those they find physically attractive only to discover when they meet in person there is no chemistry at all, and in fact, may even find the person repulsive in real life.

Good chemistry often expresses itself in the desire to touch another person. There is just something about their energy, their scent, or the luxurious feel of their skin on ours that demands frequent physical contact. The connection does not even have to be sexual in nature.

This is an important point: for many people, the mere presence of good physical chemistry is not enough to satisfy them in the bedroom. This leads us to the next pillar.

The Emotional Pillar

I dated a wonderful woman once (who is an important friend to this day). We had strong physical and spiritual connections, unlike anything I’d ever experienced before. But we struggled emotionally. We lacked trust, became jealous over silly things about our pasts neither of us could possibly change. We couldn’t seem to shake the feeling that neither was being entirely honest with the other.

Our inability to connect emotionally continually interfered with our other two pillars and our insecurities became our downfall. I consider myself a reasonably grounded person. But my emotions seemed to devolve when it came to this beautiful soul who I was so attracted to. This was due in large part to the unstable way our relationship initially developed.

This highlights the importance of a strong emotional connection and the need to establish it early. Of the three pillars, the emotional connection is most strongly influenced by the state each person is in when they first connect, and their desire and ability to let go of the baggage they carry from previous relationships.

This is the reason relationship sages suggest we give ourselves plenty of time after a relationship is over and return to a grounded state before we seek out a new one. Our emotions tend to align better when we are open-hearted and ready to accept another person without judgement for who they are because we accept ourselves for who we are.

Some may read this essay and think, “He forgot about the intellectual pillar!” Not so. The intellectual connection we enjoy with others is really just a part of the emotional pillar because stimulating, intellectual conversations are satisfying a deeper emotional need to learn, to grow, to be challenged and to connect with another in some logical manner. Our intellectual need ultimately satisfies our emotional desire.

The Spiritual Pillar

Of the three pillars, the spiritual is either the easiest or the most difficult to understand. Either two people align on it, or they don’t.

The spiritual pillar should not be confused with religion although many people may perfectly well express their spirituality through their faith. Exploring the spiritual pillar involves the recognition that we are all fundamentally part of something much larger and grander than we can possibly understand in our physical bodies and a desire to learn more about who we are, where we come from and why we are here.

It’s a shared philosophy on existence.

Partners with a strong spiritual connections help each other to grow and to discover alongside each other, complete in the knowledge that though they may have separate journeys in this lifetime, they can work together to accomplish great things. They lift each other up and never tear each other down.

Strong spiritual people tend to be more confident and curious, more willing to try new things. Aligning with someone spiritually opens doors we never knew existed in ourselves. While some people believe in a twin flame or soul mate, I subscribe to the idea that when we connect with someone spiritually it’s because our energy resonates on a similar frequency and that at some point in our souls’ histories, we were part of the same tribe.

The beauty—and complexity—of strong spirituality is that mature partners may evolve together for some time and eventually recognize that their paths will take them in different directions. Our ability to accommodate our partners’ needs to explore the universe—and to allow them to influence our own experiences—is what makes for a strong spiritual connection.

For some people (myself included), sex is better when there is a strong spiritual connection. Love making takes on an otherworldy feel that seems almost astral in nature when souls connect during sex and mingle together in the shared space of their bodies. If you’ve never experienced sex with someone whom you’ve shared a strong spiritual connection, I could not recommend it more. It’s life changing.

Bringing it Together

People who become familiar with the three pillars, the physical, the emotional and the spiritual, and are intimately self-aware with their own needs and desires, should consider in what balance they need between the three to complement their own needs.

Some may prefer an even balance of all three pillars. A strongly emotional person may do better with a partner that has greater spirituality to ground the relationship. A spiritual person may want to explore more physicality. Knowing one’s self is important when using the three pillars to find a fantastic partner.

It’s not about tallying a score of compatibility. It’s all about resonance. If this concept resonates with you, then throw away your old limiting lists of “perfect partners” and use your new perspective to explore the universe for a companion that suits your being and just watch what the universe brings into your world. Good luck!



33 Questions to Ask Your Lover: Can You Handle the Truth?

Here’s a reminder of qualities that might be overlooked once in awhile and can be helpful in a relationship:

Author: Christopher Vera

Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Nathan Walker/Unsplash


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