Partners newly in love have very emotional responses when they gratefully reunite after time apart. Even though there is a high probability they will see each other again, they know it is not an absolute certainty.
Unfortunately, as intimate relationships mature, many partners let these important rituals diminish or lapse entirely.
Couples who once made clear that their sacred, intimate re-connection and separation experiences were top priority sadly allow them to diminish in importance. More pressing priorities emerge and many couples take for granted what they once carefully treasured.
When you open the front door to where your two-year-old awaits your homecoming, you won’t have a chance to put down whatever is in your hands, read the mail, go to the bathroom, make a phone call, or leave the spot at which you are attacked with voracious affection. That small child doesn’t care about anything but full body contact and feeling secure once more within your arms.
Similarly, when you separate from that small child, you can expect the same level of passion, though it is likely to be more of an intense protest. Not having the understanding or temporal ability to go forward in time, he or she fears you will never return, and will use every possible tactic to keep you there as long as possible. The woeful cries you hear are earnest and desperate, as is the anxiety that accompanies them. In some core place in that child’s heart, you might disappear.
I have counseled couples of all ages and at every stage of their relationships for almost four decades. Though most partners come asking for help with long-standing relationship issues, some are in shock and deep grief when an unexpected tragedy has struck.
The sadness of an irrevocable loss without warning leaves the other partner shattered and totally unprepared. He or she must not only suffer the trauma of that event, but also the anguishing regrets of reconnection opportunities now forever lost. In the depths of sorrow, those left grieving often ache for just one more chance to say, do, or take back something they did.
I have often been given the privilege of being included in these sorrowful moments. Those experiences have given me a gift I may otherwise not have known as deeply.
I have learned to honor and treasure one of life’s most precious existential truths: the guarantee of security is only an illusion and the future is not predictable. That conscious knowledge inspires me to make the decision to treasure what is until it is not, and to share that perspective with my patients who still have each other.
When anyone you love leaves your presence for any reason, for any destination, or for any period of time, don’t ever just casually say goodbye.
As you part, remember in your heart what your relationship means to you, always remembering that this could be the last time you might see each other. When you are given the blessing of their returning, welcome that opportunity as the gift it is, another chance to live the relationship as you want it to become.
If you treat every leaving and greeting ritual with that kind of treasuring, you will also receive a wonderful bonus. The conscious intent to treasure saying “goodbye” and “hello” with the gratitude that should accompany both becomes the foundation for extending that appreciation to other parts of your relationship.
Couples who have not forgotten to treasure the blessing of continuing their relationship practice their separation and connection rituals with the same sincerity and devotion as they did when their love was new.
They have discovered the core wisdom that not only is love precious and that it can be taken from them at any time, but that being fully present in parting and reconnecting with their loved ones reconfirms what they mean to each other while they are still together.
When you subscribe to receive my free relationship advice newsletter (below), I’ll teach you how to keep the connection in your relationship absolutely sacred. You’ll learn:
And if you’re already in a relationship and now wish you would have known all this at the beginning, it’s not too late for you. You can do just as my clients have done: build the right habits and skills to recapture the romance you once shared and create an even more connected future.
You’ll now understand what likely went wrong in your relationship, and you’ll know what to do to get things back on track.