I answered the most fascinating question on Facebook yesterday. It was asked by a lovely young friend of mine, a beautiful young woman who is learning about herself and how she falls in love. The question was about honesty and how important it was to health of a relationship? It was provocative and really got me thinking about the very nature of man /woman relationships. I gave her this answer.
For me honesty in my relationships is paramount and to be sure because I’m human, it’s not always easy... especially when the truth is an awful tale to tell.. when my husband tells me something about myself that I don’t want to hear or when I have to do the same for him. Honesty in the face of real fear takes a serious choice of courage but that’s what feeds the roots of a healthy relationship. Knowing that your friend or partner will always be that honest with you is what builds the foundation of your hearts true home. My husband and I use a tool to communicate that we learned long ago, a technique we call RAFT which simply means Reluctant and frightened to share. If one of us has something to say to the other that we are afraid will wound we’ll say, “I have a RAFT” and then the other knows that what’s coming is something that we want to share but are deeply concerned about it’s effect on the relationship. Knowing this makes it easier to listen to each other because using this technique frames the words in love, not anger. Sharing in this way leaves the opportunity to be truthful but also receptive. It’s a delightful exercise in enchantment for your mind. Try it for yourself and watch what happens. You'll thank me.
All that being said... A woman has to honor her mysteries and sometimes withhold that which isn't yet ready to be shared... It's essential to our very natures. The thing I notice that's interesting and consistent with so many of the young women I work with? They feel the need to dump everything about themselves all at once into a new relationship as if somehow that helps the man to know or understand them. My experience is that it overwhelms the relationship and doesn't nurture the deeper shoots of trust and caring so that they can root and blossom. I’ve listened to my son and many of his friends talk about this over the years… “It’s just too much, I end up feeling like her therapist instead of her lover and even when I want to get closer, the ghost of all of that leftover emotional baggage that somehow I’m responsible for right now, in that very moment seems like just too much. What about me? I want a woman who can grow up without me, who can take responsibility for herself and then we can enjoy learning about and sharing life with each other. I wish that she was actually hiding something because then I could have fun finding it!”
In his own way he’s pointing to something that I’ve definitely noticed over the last few years. The last several decades have spawned chronicles of self help books, workshops, vast amounts of diet books, new age books, religious dating books, body image books; basically anything and everything that you wanted to ever know about the cult of “ WORKING ON YOURSELF”.
To be a woman is to have our very own mysteries; we bleed every month, conceive life and turn ourselves inside out to bring that life into the world. Even if we adopt our children the experience is just as potent. We feed our children with milk from our breasts or that we’ve created with our loving hands. We know how to love them, heal them and wipe their tears. We know instinctively if something is wrong with them. When we reach a certain age, we hold our blood and instead of being mothers to our children, we birth our power into the world. I know that I’m going to probably take a lot of heat for this comment, but I believe it’s true…Men are naturally the hunters, we are intuitively the healers. I don’t think that it’s the other way around and knowing this doesn’t make us subservient to them in anyway. It make us the yin to their yang. It makes us receptive , elegant and mysterious and it compels them to search out the truths that we already know because we act as their muse.
In my experience it's in the quiet, dark spaces that a relationship becomes full as well as the shared, lovely knowing each other that happens when you pour your heart out. It's in the quiet places where your inner knowing can listen well enough to discern fact from fiction. If you're lying to each other, that silence is awkward.... If you're just being quietly together and simply perceiving the space between, then that’s where the magic can begin to quietly happen....