A Psychological Perspective on Relationships

Kara Bauer Health Guide
  • From a spiritual perspective, the deep motivation to come together in a relationship is driven by the desire to unite with someone and become one in perfect union. If you think about it, everything in the world is made up of opposites, the plus and the minus, the yin and the yang, masculine and feminine, etc., which together create a whole. The Universe is inherently always in balance. As part of the Universe, we also seek to equalize the polarity within us through relationship with another. The initial attraction to someone is almost always because that person reflects something inside of us that we have forgotten is there. Although there are certain elements of compatibility that are important for forming a successful relationship, there are also aspects related to this inner man/inner woman that is inside us, the filters from which we listen and judge one another, and our understanding of what love is, all of which impact our ability to form the perfect union we seek and desire.

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    From a compatibility standpoint, there are certain factors that must be in place for a relationship to stand the test of time. George I. Gurdjieff, a well-known Russian spiritual master stated that a couple must connect on all levels; sexual, emotional, spiritual and mental. Although connecting on the spiritual level is arguably the most important, Gurdjieff explained that the physical attraction and sexual chemistry between a couple is fundamental as a motivator for developing the other areas of compatibility. Even so, the physical connection is not enough to solidify the relationship in the long run, so although secondary, the couple must develop compatibility in the other areas (especially the spiritual) if the union is to last.[1]


    Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Jung, spoke about the fundamental archetypes, anima and animus, which play a big part in whom we find attractive at an unconscious level. The anima or inner woman and the animus or inner man, combined with the characteristics of the parent of the opposite sex, form the child’s view of the opposite sex and choice in a partner. This is where issues can begin to arise in relationships between couples. As one partner strays from the other’s projection, the other will try to keep them in line with their inner man or woman (arising from the same laws of polarity), which is usually not a true representation of reality nor a solid approach to developing an authentic love relationship.[2] In couples that don’t have awareness of these aspects of themselves nor take responsibility for attracting their own mirror, often fall into a relationship model that is very difficult to overcome.


    Indian master and spiritual teacher, Osho, defined the “square” relationship as a relationship between 4 corners; the man, the woman, the man’s projection of the woman, and the woman’s projection of the man (also applicable in same sex couples). This leads to a classification of the other based on an image we believe them to be, rather than who they fundamentally are. The results are judgment, criticism, illusion, manipulation and emotional problems (anger, sadness, jealousy, etc.) that ultimately destroy the intimacy, trust and love between couples. In other words, each person in the relationship begins to wear “glasses” of judgment based on their perception of what the other is doing (based on their belief systems, experiences and inner man/inner woman), which is never in line with the actual events and the reasoning behind them. Over time each person has a view of the other that is tainted and based on the past, a view that is almost impossible to alter given the power each of us has in creating the reality we live in. As long as we go on believing that our partner is irresponsible, selfish, lacking compassion, a bad listener, etc., they will continue to show up in line with how we perceive them.[3] [4]


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    The only way out of this destructive pattern in relationships is to begin to focus on the “gold” inside your partner. In other words, it’s up to you to create your perception and the significance behind someone’s actions. Why not, choose to focus on what’s good and loving in that person rather than what’s wrong. This doesn’t mean that your partner won’t do things that legitimately upset you, but you always have a choice in how you communicate those disappointments and what you choose to believe about you partner’s intentions. A loving approach will not only create more loving situations in the future, it will also create a relationship worth having that is free of obligations and expectations, unconditional, generous, responsible, kind and respectful. Compared to a model based on selfishness, control and fear, choosing to see the “gold” will create a foundation of unbreakable love. As author, Miguel Ruiz teaches us, when love is the basis for our actions, happiness is produced. When fear is the basis, the result is suffering.[5]


    Through conscious actions and awareness building with your partner, you have the opportunity to move into other relationship models defined by Osho. The “triangle” model is one step beyond the square model and involves three points, the man, the woman (or same sex partner) and the oneness when they come together in harmony and love. Even though each partner may fall back into separateness at times, their ability to unionize makes this a much more fulfilling relationship. The ultimate model, the “circle”, transcends time and space in which the couple remains united as one allowing them to reach spiritual enlightenment and Divine consciousness together. Although this may seem impossible for many couples to reach, even working towards it will offer many rewards and an abundance of love for those on the spiritual path.[3] [4]


    [1] (n.d.) Retrieved from http://starvethematrix.com/index.php/esoterica/fourth-way/249-the-psychology-of-george-gurdjieff-implications-for-counseling


    [2] (n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.haverford.edu/psych/ddavis/p109g/internal/j_anima.html


    [3] (n.d.) Retrieved from http://ezinearticles.com/?You-Are-Not-the-Man-I-Married&id=6786602


    [4] (n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.oshoworld.com/tantra_medi/otantra.asp?news_id=48


    [5] Ruiz, D. M. (1999). The mastery of love. San Rafael: Amber-Allen Publishing, Inc.

Published On: February 05, 2013