Romance And Spiritual Growth

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If we are rude and nasty with the grocery store clerk, we will likely be even more rude and nasty with the individuals we love the most.

[The Relationship Guru]

What if I were to tell you that relationships are opportunities to discover your capacity to love, forgive, heal and grow as a person?

Since relationships spark the best and worst in us, they provide an opportunity for growth and spiritual development.
Relationships allow mutual expression and sharing between two people, which makes it the ultimate tool for self-assessment and personal development.

Some of us think a relationship’s primary purpose is to fulfill our needs and desires. We begin to think of relationships in terms of what we can get from someone. Some of us are waiting for a romantic relationship to end boredom, loneliness, depression or insecurity.

I think of relationships as our assignments in life. We are assigned people from whom we can learn valuable lessons. That’s why we have to focus on learning and growing from our experience with our romantic partners—not on making them “the one.” 
When a person leaves our life, it may be because the lesson has been learned; so learn the lesson, use it to help yourself grow, and be optimistic about what life has to offer you next.

God brings people into our life that provide the maximal opportunity for mutual growth. If you’ve been repeating the same type of experiences with men, it may be that you have yet to learn the lessons that will allow you to grow from those relationships. Ask yourself, “Am I learning from my relationships?" and "If so, what am I learning?” 

Relationships provide several levels of teaching and learning. The first level of teaching comes from what is known as the casual encounter, such as people we meet in an elevator or at the grocery store. At this level, these casual encounters allow us to refine our personalities. Our personal weaknesses that are evident in casual encounters typically appear magnified in more intimate relationships. 

If we are rude and nasty with the grocery store clerk, we will likely be even more rude and nasty with the individuals we love the most.

The second level of teaching is a more sustained relationship in which two people enter into a more intense teaching and learning experience, and then eventually separate. Some of these relationships will be friendships and others, professional or romantic. 

If you open yourselves up and try not to make marriage the outcome in these romantic relationships, you will go through experiences that will provide you both with lessons for your personal growth. Many of us experience this type of romantic relationship, but have difficulty with the physical separation that will and should happen. 

Know that physically the relationship will appear to have ended, but mentally and spiritually the relationships will provide long-lasting change in your life. That’s why it’s important to never abandon the person when you’re leaving the relationship.

Don’t treat the ex like a second-class citizen. It’s essential that we honor the eternal nature of relationships. If a person ends the physical aspects of a relationship properly, you then can go into your next relationship with a stronger capacity to love, from a healed, whole place. 

When a marriage ends, it could be that there are no longer any opportunities for mutual growth. People tend to view these marriages as failures; in reality, if both people learned what they were supposed to learn from each other, than it was a successful relationship.

The third level of teaching is for relationships that last all of our lives, because the other person provides us with unlimited opportunities for learning and growing. These relationships will teach us a lifetime of lessons. Just by the mere fact that these individuals are in our lives forces us to grow and become better individuals. These relationships don’t happen frequently; instead, single women tend to spend too much time and effort trying to create this type of lifelong relationship with every new man they meet. 

By doing this, we set ourselves up for continual disappointment every time a relationship ends. So, work to grow spiritually from all of the relationships --personal and professional-- in your life.


J.J. Smith is a Dating and Relationship Expert, Author, Radio Host, and Corporate Executive.  J.J. Smith is the author of Why I Love Men: The Joys of Dating.  More information on J.J.’s dating advice can be found on her website at www.jjsmithonline.com.  

She is also the host of “Real Talk with JJ and The Fellas” which offers an intelligent, provocative discussion on dating, love, sex and relationships and airs on
www.wsRadio.com. Contact her at info@jjsmithonline.com.

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