Bill Bowen describes healthy relationships as a separate entity that needs to be nourished and cared for by the relationship’s participants. The relationship does not belong, nor is owned, by either individual. It is an entity formed and birthed from the individuals who are in love and partnership.
I think of my relationship as our first child. The child is our priority. When it comes time, if we choose to have a real child, the first child-our relationship- still must be cared for as the priority. It must be nourished just as we would our baby. If the relationship entity isn’t fed properly, it will feel neglected and undernourished. Feeding the relationship is a conscious decision followed by a conscious act. As soon as we stop feeding the relationship, it begins to die.
I feel the act of consciously caring for and feeding the relationship entity is a great practice to keep the love alive. I want to be able to look at my relationship with new eyes all the time. In order to do that difficult task, I have to find ways to exercise those muscles. On a daily basis, I make a conscious choice to watch J as if I am in total curiosity and amazement, as if I didn’t know him at all. I try to look at life as an unfolding of newness in every moment. When I think I’ve experienced something or know someone that is my wake up call to open my eyes to the fresh new moment. What if there was no past? My experience of the world and the people within it would be filled with a child-like wonderment and curiosity. This is the orientation I hold onto in my life and in my relationship. There is something so lovely and fun about watching my lover through the eyes of a child. Even our disagreements can become entertaining and filled with humor when we believe there is no past.
I want to hold onto the idea that each moment is new. I certainly would not look at a child without feeling their curiosity and excitement, it is contagious. That is how want to look at the relationship entity between J and I. I want to watch the relationship as if it is a child experiencing things for the first time. Can I look at the entity as if it may simply be wanting a cookie in the moment of conflict? Perhaps when J and I are in disagreement or conflict, we can step outside of our own individual needs and ask the relationship entity what it needs to feel nourished and cared for.
What if I named my relationship? If it is our first child and it is separate from us, what name or word would I use to refer to this entity so that it truly becomes something beyond my individuality? The first word that comes to my mind is ‘Entropy’. That’s funny to me.
The definition of Entropy is: a measure of the unavailable energy in a closed thermodynamic system that is also usually considered to be a measure of the system’s disorder, that is a property of the system’s state, and that varies directly with any reversible change in heat in the system and inversely with the temperature of the system ; broadly : the degree of disorder or uncertainty in a system.
Because I often feel like I am blindfolded and drunk when it comes to knowing what I’m doing in relationship , I pretty much feel like the potentiality of the relationship is just a ball of chaotic, disorganized energy. The uncertainty of the system leaves me wanting to untangle the mess out of fear and control, while simultaneously appreciating the chaos and the unexpected. When there is no form and things are changing in every moment, there is something new to be experienced all the time.
This weekend J is away on a trip. Even when we are apart I am conscious that ‘Entropy’ needs to get fed. If it doesn’t feel loved and nourished it will not feel needed, loved and will begin to disconnect itself from us. In my experience, even a text message to J letting him know that I am grateful for what we are building together, will bring love and energize our creation.