Achieving Healthy Relationships

I must admit, I was simply awful at intimate relationships, and not much better at casual ones. If I could heal (and I did), so can you. Maybe it's because I am an Aries and therefore doggedly stubborn that I have fought my way through to a semblance of wisdom and ease in this area. My parents grew up in very difficult situations so no surprise I had difficulties as I grew up and "hooked up." I married late at 29, divorced at 34, then had two dysfunctional relationships afterwards because, as we say, "my picker was broken."

It still was when I met my second wife at a Co-dependents anonymous meeting at 44. It sounds like a fairy tale story. As I was sharing at that meeting a couple years later how much I loved her and cared about her and a buddy blurted out "Are you asking her to marry you?!" I said yes.  He then asked, "Where is the ring?" I pulled it out and got down on one knee and proposed to her. A while after that we all walked up a canyon in Sierra Madre to a circle of oak trees (this is called a cathedral) and we were married.

The reception was at a house nearby built in 1900. We made the fireplace up to look like a camp fire with a circle of rocks with small logs a red light inside, there was also marsh-mellows on hangers with camp chairs around. The table had a picnic basket and checkerboard table cloth. The cake had a hiking path and waterfall. For our honeymoon we had a cabin in the canyon above Santa Barbara. Despite the fairytale engagement and wedding story it was sometimes a nightmare. She was the victim to my abuser, and I was the victim to her abuser.

When things went wrong I would shut down and become passive aggressive and she would blow up actively aggressive. The "D" word came up regularly and considering the problems we had, we would have been justified to walk away. It was a recipe for disaster once again, but through an intense bond of our inner kids and 12 step programs, Buddhism, Eckhart Tolle, A Course in Miracles, nature, and other wisdom paths, we have pulled through in a big way. These gave us the experiences that give us strength (and clarity) and therefore hope.

She is now my  best friend, partner, mate, Dharma teacher, spiritual teacher, recovery buddy, co sponsor, playmate, biker buddy, cuddle bug, and better half in many ways. We have learned a new dance, a much healthier one so we don't step on each others toes as much. If we do, we use the "A" words, apologies and amends. Sorry, but it isn't fast, easy, or painless, but it sure is worth it.

I have been to perhaps 1500 meetings, 25 retreats (with awesome workshops, healing, and fun), am on my third round of step study (as of May 2012), and do service and cosponsor regularly. Yes, I am a bit obsessed with spiritual healing, for instance, the computer I'm working on is covered with 12 step slogan stickers like "Let go, Let God, One day at a time, relax, God is in charge," and others.

The most important one, and the experience, strength, and hope I wish to communicate to you here is, "It works, if you work it". This is as true in relationships as anywhere else. Honestly, this is the most important lesson of life, for without healthy relationships, we are lost and alone. Embrace your Higher Power, your wisdom paths, your healing, embrace others, and see what it's like to really live.