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Romance is the adventure of emotional idealism.  

— Karmayogi

Level 8 Appreciation

Partners have learned to understand each other's point of view and to genuinely appreciate the truth, value and validity in it.  Relationships at this level are characterized by mutual respect and admiration.

There is always truth in the other person's point of view. It's a universal law without exception, even when that person is your bitter enemy out to destroy you. How much greater is the truth in the viewpoint of the partner who knows you intimately. No matter whether you think your partner's perspective is based on errors, misunderstandings, ignorance or personal preferences, there is always a valid truth in it that deserves recognition and respect. What applies to points of view also applies to every other difference between partners - tastes, preferences, attitudes, sentiments, feelings, habits, etc. Maximum harmony issues from not only conceding the right of your partner to differ from your perspective, but also in striving to genuinely recognize and appreciate the validity of their perspective. Such an effort invariably leads both partners to discover something more true, valuable and suitable than either of their individual perspectives.

Elizabeth & Darcy (Pride & Prejudice)

Differences are a potential problem area for everyone. Ignoring another's defects and preventing minor issues from escalating into problems strengthens the relationship and ensures stability. But what happens when partners actually feel grateful to another for pointing out their faults and both decide to change for the better?

The relationship between Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy begins in conflict, evolves into appreciation and is ultimately transformed into romantic love. When Darcy's first marriage proposal goes wrong, they end up arguing and trading bitter accusations. They part in anger, believing they will never see each other again. But gradually they each begin to see the truth in what the other person said in the heat of argument. After struggling to overcome their egoistic sensitivities, each acknowledges that truth and accepts it. Darcy realizes for the first time that other people rightly perceive him as arrogant and offensive.  Elizabeth acknowledges that her mind was prejudiced and capable of jumping to false conclusions based on scanty evidence. Darcy transforms his outward behavior to remove all traces of egoistic assertion. Elizabeth stops blaming Darcy for her problems and sees the real cause lies within her own family. Eventually they meet again and marry, achieving a relationship that is unique in its harmony.

They have seen each other's darker side. They neither condemn the other nor romanticize their imperfections. They take it as an opportunity to recognize their own inner deficiencies. That makes them humble, tolerant and forgiving. They learn to see themselves from the other's point of view and change, making tremendous psychological progress. Their differences make them endlessly attractive to one another and keep them together. Because of this realization, what was initially considered objectionable becomes admirable, even lovable. They accept these traits in each other's family members too.

To raise your relationship to a higher level of harmony, see Strategies to Increase Harmony in Your Relationship

If you would like to raise general questions on romance, love, marriage and relationship or about any of the content in this article, please post your entry in the appropriate forums

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