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True romance never dies or diminishes. Rather it grows in charm with the passing years. Only that which pretends to be romance can die.

— Karmayogi

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Strategies to Increase Harmony in Your Relationship

Harmony is the foundation for lasting relationship, affection, love and romance. If your relationship suffers from quarrels, anger, tension, or disharmony of any description, your first step should be to remove those negatives from the relationship. Please follow these steps to raise the level of harmony in your relationship.

1.      Review the list of strategies below. If you find any of them apply to your relationship, take steps to practice them.

2.      If you find that these strategies are not sufficient to address the problem, you may wish to consult the IRES expert system for personalized advice on how to solve your specific problem.

3.      Once you have applied these strategies, you are ready to raise the level of affection, love and romance in your relationship. Then see the list of Unfailing Positive Strategies to Improve Your Relationship.

1. Stop Complaining

Blaming and complaining against one's partner - either directly to the person or to other people or to oneself -- is a natural, frequent and in some cases a full-time occupation for many people. Partners often become experts in observing and pointing out the defects in one another. Unfortunately, those that acquire the habit often do not realize a universal truth about complaining. Complaining always aggravates the traits we complain about! So unless you enjoy complaining more than you enjoy harmonious relationships, it is better to give up the habit - no matter how justified you may be or think you are in voicing your complaints.

When we complain about a person's defects or deficiencies, we give attention to that aspect of their behavior or personality. Attention energizes. Whatever becomes the object of our attention is energized and grows because of that attention - good things multiply when they are noticed. So do bad things. Complaining aggravates the very behaviors that prompt us to complain, even when the complaint seems rational and fully justified! This is true even when our complaint is never expressed in words.

If you really want to eliminate bothersome behaviors in your partner or anyone else, the best means is to totally ignore them and not even take notice of them. If you find that too difficult, start by refusing to complain about those behaviors to other people. Later try to stop complaining about it even to yourself. This strategy is very powerful. Those who successfully practice it are sure to generate a positive response from your partner. Often the response is instantaneous.

The Bennets (Pride & Prejudice) 

The Bennets are constantly at odds with each other. Mr. Bennet makes sure he loses no opportunity to criticize and complain about his wife. He always talks to her teasingly, mocking her and pointing out her mistakes. To him, she is a silly and foolish woman who is incapable of behaving sensibly or responsibly. When she is in raptures over a wealthy suitor's interest in their daughter, he cannot stand to hear her and rudely asks her to stop. When she complains about her health, he makes a joke of it. When she is heartbroken over future title of their hereditary property going to their neighbor's daughter, his words hurt her more than they console. When he has had enough of putting her down, he locks himself up in his library where she is not permitted entry.

Mrs. Bennet is not intelligent enough to catch her husband's quick wit, so most of his sarcasm is lost on her. But that does not dampen his efforts to taunt her. His complaints serve no purpose except to irritate her further. And the more she is irritated, the more she acts in ways that attract his caustic remarks. In spite of all his cajoling efforts to enlighten her, she never realizes her mistakes or change her ways to win her husband's approval. If anything, things deteriorate at home. She becomes more bold and aggressive in her schemes to get her daughters married. Having exhausted his energies complaining, he prefers to submit to her whims rather than take a more responsible attitude. As a result the family is brought to the brink of public disgrace. Yet even when her mistakes stare her in the face, she blames everyone except herself. Mr. Bennet's complaints do not change Mrs. Bennet. They don't even fall on her ears. They leave her and their home a shade worse than they were.

2. Don't try to change your partner

Wouldn't life be simple and easy if all we had to do is ask our partner to change? Chances are you have already tried that approach - once, twice, ten, a hundred times or more. So you already know the simple fact that people do not change for the better because we complain against them or ask them to. Even when they accept that we are right and agree to act accordingly, the result is almost always to make things worse than before. However sincerely we accept our defects, something in us is always offended by being blamed or corrected, leading to a conscious or subconscious reaction that makes things worse. Even in instances were your partner changes for the better as the result of your advice, you can observe that either they acquire another behavior that is equally disturbing or they become more critical of you than before. Either way, the level of harmony goes down, rather than up. The only exception is when the person who offers the advice does so without even a tiny trace of egoistic assertion or superiority, which is extremely difficult to do.

The validity of this principle can best be demonstrated by examining your own personal experience. Examine the relationship between your parents and other couples you know to determine how far complaining and trying to change the other person has yielded positive results. List down all the behaviors in your partner that you have complained about in the past and see how many of them have actually changed for the better. In instances where you have been successful in changing some behaviors, look to see whether new and even more disturbing behaviors have arisen since then. If indeed your partner has accepted your advice and followed it, examine the overall sense of harmony and warmth within the relationship. Has it really improved? Love and affection grow through acceptance of the other person, not by trying to make the other person a better partner.

3. Don't react

Whenever a partner does something we dislike or disapprove of, the natural tendency is to react, either verbally by complaining or silently to ourselves. Reaction arises out of weakness, lack of self-control and lack of power. As long as we react against any quality in another person, we have no power to change it. At best, our reaction may compel the other person to control or suppress the disturbing behavior, but it will always surface elsewhere, usually in an aggravated and more aggravating form. If you want to eliminate disturbances, the very best strategy is equanimity, non-reaction. Do not let the other person's behavior disturb you. Better yet, do not even take notice of it in your own mind and sensations. Non-reaction is not submission or approval. Nor is it a method for ignoring or rebuking your partner. It is giving your partner the freedom to act without opposition, resistance or reaction.

If you succeed, you will see that in most cases the disturbing behavior immediately becomes less frequent and intense. That was the experience of a married woman with two children who was frequently irritated by her husband's negative, pessimistic way of speaking. When all her attempts to correct him failed, she decided to stop mentioning, noticing or reacting to his negative ways of speech. Within a few days she was amazed to discover that his disturbing behavior had nearly disappeared. There are cases in which your non-reaction may actually result in greater expression of the disturbing behavior by your partner. Giving your partner the freedom to express it will eventually lead to complete elimination of that behavior. When you do succeed, you will find the situation complete reverses and your partner will bend over backwards to please you.

Kate's Patience (The Family Man)

The tremendous power of non-reaction is wonderfully portrayed by the character of Kate Reynolds. Jack Campbell is a successful businessman who wakes up one morning to discover he is married to his college girl friend Kate Reynolds and lives in New Jersey with two kids. Kate and he had split up thirteen years earlier, when he flew off to London and left her behind. Now he finds himself living in an alternative reality in which he married her instead of leaving the country. Instead of being a wealthy high flying Wall Street, billion dollar deal-maker, Jack is a tired salesman with a big mortgage living in a modest middle class neighborhood.

Kate is completely happy, supportive and affectionate. She and their marriage are regarded by all Jack's friends as the ideal others can only dream about. But Jack finds this financially poorer, less successful version of his life a great disappointment and cannot help expressing his views quite crudely to Kate, who is unaware that Jack joined their 13 year marriage only a few days ago. In spite of Jack's harsh, resentment and crude behavior, Kate remains calm and understanding. She never reacts against him or faults him for what she obviously perceives as his strange and mean behavior. Gradually Jack awakens to Kate's remarkable qualities and realizes this other version of his life is far more rewarding and fulfilling than closing mega-deals in New York.

Darcy’s Equanimity (Pride & Prejudice) 

When the very rich and famous Mr. Darcy proposes to Elizabeth, Bennet, a woman of lower social status and minimal wealth, the last thing he expects is to be accused of unscrupulousness and abused for bad behavior. Indeed, he has taken for granted that she is expecting his proposal and will welcome it. Instead Elizabeth makes unfair allegations about his character and faults him for the rude way in which he has addressed her. She accuses him of ungentlemanly behavior. Calling him arrogant, conceited and selfish, she concludes her lengthy abuse by declaring that long ago she had concluded that he is the last man she would marry. Darcy reels under the impact of her attack, yet he remains remarkably composed. He is startled by her accusations and defends himself mildly, but he does not hit back or even rebuke her for her unjustified assertions. When he has had enough from her, he takes leave, apologizing for having taken up her time. He does not give vent to his feelings in scathing language. He does not attack her personally in return. His maintains his cultured and polite language and behavior, and departs after politely wishing her health and happiness.

In less than six months, the same girl who refused him so angrily comes up to him, calls herself a selfish person, thanks him for the help he has rendered to her family, and opens the conversation that leads to his second proposal and their engagement. By not reacting when he had legitimate grounds, Darcy left open a possibility that could easily have been cancelled forever by an angry reply. Against all odds, his equanimity ultimately enables him to achieve just what his heart most desires.

4. Don't try to impose your will

Ninety percent of relationship problems can be traced back to the fact that one or the other or both partners want to dominate the other, control the relationship, prove they know more, can do things better, have earned the right to lead, or are justified in making demands on their partner that they are unwilling to meet themselves. Romance cannot be attained by demanding more of the other person. If you are one who employs that approach, the first thing to do is stop. Harmony can never be achieved by trying to dominate the other person. If you are on the receiving end of a dominating partnership, the best response is to completely give up the corresponding urge in yourself. Eradicate any sense of resentment or reaction you feel in complying with your partner's wishes by applying the first three strategies in this list. Submitting to a dominant partner out of weakness or acquiescence will never bring fulfillment. But submitting to someone you love out of patience, understanding, self-discipline and self-giving has the power to radically change your partner's behavior and completely reverse your roles in the relationship, so that your partner comes to place your needs and wishes above his or her own.

Mrs. Bennet’s Stratagems (Pride & Prejudice) 

Mrs.Bennet has boundless energy and endless initiative. She wholeheartedly believes that she is always right, and tries to get her husband to follow her orders. When a wealthy young bachelor named Bingley moves into the neighborhood, she orders her husband to call on him. He had intended to do just that for their daughters’ sake, but after being pressed to do so by his wife, he promptly refuses, just to annoy her. He secretly visits Bingley, then reveals the secret in a teasing manner to his wife, as a display of his independence. And just to spite her, when Bingley returns the visit, Mr. Bennet does not introduce him to his wife or daughters . Silently resentful of his wife’s constant efforts to dominate, he looks for ways to resist her pressure, even if it is at the risk of damaging his daughters’ chances to marry well. When his foolish cousin Collins comes home hoping to marry one of the Bennet girls, Mrs. Bennet keeps his intentions secret from her husband and connives to get Collins engaged to Elizabeth, Mr.Bennet’s favorite daughter. She sees this as a means to triumph over her husband. But her desire to score a petty victory only succeeds in chasing Collins away from the house into the arms of her rival neighbor's daughter.

Mrs. Bennet doesn’t realize that though her intentions for the family may be good, the methods she employs to achieve them are sure to fail. Her understanding is limited and she lacks good sense. Rather than cooperating with her husband and adding his intelligence and culture to her own strengths, she gets caught up in a self-defeating power struggle. Her aggressive and coaxing behavior alienates her from her husband and her more sensible elder daughter. It drives away suitable grooms for her daughters. It brings the entire family close to ruin when her youngest daughter, Lydia, whom she has spoilt by indulgence, elopes with a scoundrel.

5. Good Manners

Good manners is an essential basis for good, lasting, harmonious relationship. Partners who are able to behave as courteously and thoughtfully to their partners after marriage as they did during the initial period of courtship and to behave as pleasantly in private as they do to their friends and acquaintances in public find their relationships remain smooth, harmonious and pleasant for decades. Good manners includes all the other rules listed above. People who are well-mannered do not complain against others, they do not react, they do not dominate and they do not try to make others change. In fact, to be really well-mannered, we should give up even trying to judge other people.

The key to good manners is to become fully conscious of our own limitations and defects and try to eliminate them, rather than concentrating our attention on pointing out and eliminating the defects of others. Giving up negative thoughts and behavior toward others is not easy, but if you succeed your whole life will remarkably improve. The minimum standard for good manners is not to do or say anything to another person that we would not like to have done or said to us. A better standard is to recognize and respect the sensibilities and sensitivities of your partner and never consciously do anything to ruffle or disturb them.

If you find it difficult to identify your own offending behaviors, here is a simple but infallible rule to follow. Identify all the behaviors you object to in other people and look for similar, parallel or equivalent behaviors in yourself. If you are objective and sincere, you will always find them. Life is a mirror.

6. Focus on the Positive

When we forge relationships with a partner, we are always attracted to something in the other person, but often over time the source of attraction recedes into the background and we become more and more conscious of our differences or incompatibilities. Our disappointment with the change in ourselves or our partner tends to make us focus on the things we don't like. Negative intensity can be addictive, because it makes us feel alive and it is easier to generate than positive intensity.

Yet always - even after decades - the original source of attraction remains beneath the surface and can be revived when we stop concentrating on the negative. Try to become more conscious of the underlying attraction that expresses as negative intensity between you. Remind yourself that negativity often expresses a deeper positive attraction and need for one another. Shift your attention from the sources of quarrel to the sources of attraction. Even when you feel most intensely negative, remind yourself it is only an inversion of a deeper positive attraction and need for one another.

Shift your attention from the things that bother you in your partner and in the relationship to the things that are alright and work smoothly. Try to identify at least a few ways in which your partner and your relationship are better than others you know about. If you dislike something about your partner, try to identify a corresponding reason for the other person to dislike you and decide to change it.

7. Don't make sex a central issue

Sex often becomes the source of problems because men and women often have very different perceptions and attitudes with regard to sex. Our capacity for happiness, affection, love and romance arises because we have acquired higher emotions and mental capacities. Sexual attraction has little to do with romance, affection or lasting happiness and can distract attention from the true basis for lasting relationship. To give sex the central place in intimate relations is to give inordinate importance to the physical aspect of man-woman relations. Making it an issue can actually deprive a relationship of the love and affection it would otherwise possess. On the other hand, those who are capable of more exalted emotions may find physical intimacy a powerful medium for expressing those emotions and sharing themselves with their partner. In that case, physical contact serves as a means of expression, not as an end in itself. Romance is an ennobling emotion, not a physical sensation. The solution lies in recognizing sex for what it is and not placing to much importance on it one way or the other. For a more in depth discussion, see Love, Marriage, Sex & Romance

8. Shouldn't my partner change first?

As you read through these strategies, chances are that you have seen plenty of scope for your partner to improve themselves and found yourself relatively superior by comparison. A wise man once said that God gave us the sense of sin so we could discover our own defects and correct them, but we out-smarted God by using our keen powers of perception only to discover the defects in other people. What applies to humanity applies in double measure to partners in intimate relationships. The first rule of harmony is that all improvements start with ourselves, regardless of the circumstances-no exceptions. You may not be pleased to hear that, but that is the one and only effective way to improve a relationship. Therefore, regardless of how much higher or better you may place yourself on the scale, make a start by elevating your own conduct still higher without asking or expecting anything from your partner. That is a recipe for assured success.

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Unfailing Strategies for Love & Romance

This article provides practical strategies for ascending the scale of romance in your relationship. If you have not already done so, please begin by reading the article Stairway to Romance and studying the Scale of Romance to identify the current level of your relationship.

Choose your goal

What you achieve depends entirely on what you aspire for, the extent of your enthusiasm and determination, and the effort you are willing to make to achieve it. The higher your aspiration, the greater your enthusiasm, the stronger your determination and the more serious your effort, the greater the goal you can achieve and the faster you can achieve it. Romance is what you discover within yourself. Your partner is a field for its expression. If both partners awaken to the spirit of romance, the intensity and fulfillment will be complete, but your attainment essentially depends on your decision, your attitude and your actions, not on those of a second person. Those who want to receive romance from others never find it or retain it. Those who seek romance for its own sake and give themselves to it can always discover it.

The first step is to formulate a relationship goal you enthusiastically aspire and are willing to seriously to attain. Your goal may bring back the intensity of romance which you have once felt or to raise the entire relationship to a higher level or to eliminate a disturbing element. It is important to ensure that the goal you choose is based on genuine goodwill for your partner and not a desire to change or dominate them. These methods only work when your attitude and intention toward the other is entirely positive.

If your present relationship suffers from any of the common negatives - quarrels, anger, tension, etc. - your next step should be to raise the level of harmony by removing those negatives from the relationship before you try to enhance affection, love and romance. Follow these steps to eliminate problems and increase harmony:

  1. Assess your relationship to determine where it is on the Scale of Harmony.
  2. Raise the level harmony in your relationship by applying the Strategies to Increase Harmony in Your Relationship.
  3. If you have any serious relationship problem, consult the IRES expert system to obtain personalized advice to resolve it.
  4. Once problems have been addressed, you are ready to rise up the scale of romance. See Unfailing Strategies for Love & Romance.

Unfailing Strategies to Improve any Relationship

Some of the strategies listed below are simple and obvious, but most are rarely applied consistently or with the right motive and attitude. Others are more profound and powerful methods that will require thoughtfulness, study and repeated effort for you to master. The quality of your attitude and motive determine the result. If practiced with harmony, goodwill, joyous expansiveness and self-giving, marvelous results are guaranteed. Practice them with the intention of bringing joy to your partner.

1. Take responsibility

Many people believe that their relationship would be vastly improved if only their partner would listen to reason, do what they say, eliminate the behaviors they find objectionable and be as sincere to the relationship as they are. The first rule for progress in human relationships may be the hardest for many to accept, but it is the single most important principle for rising in the scale of romance. It states that we have the power to improve our relationship only when we realize that we and we alone are responsible for making it better. This rule seems to contradict that obvious truth that in any relationship both parties contribute to the problems that arise between partners and to the solution to those problems. This principle is based on a profound truth of life. We acquire power of mastery in our lives only when we realize that we are the determinant of our own lives and not any circumstance or other person. Taking responsibility means to stop blaming your partner, family, friends, fate or misfortune for the difficulties you encounter in the relationship. As you apply the other principles listed below, you will come to understand the true wisdom of this approach and the real effective solution to any problems you encounter.

2. Give attention

The early stages of relationship are often characterized by sensations of novelty, suspense, anticipation and insecurity which generate an energy and excitement that can be mistaken for real affection. Once the feelings of newness subside, the intensity subsides. But even affectionate relationships can become flat over time when the partners' attention is absorbed by the demands of work, family, household and other routine activities. But this does not mean that the essential basis for romance has disappeared or cannot be revived. Any flat routine moment or event can be energized and be converted into a live or romantic moment by giving genuine personal attention to one's partner. Attention energized. Personal attention that focuses on what your partner thinks, feels and aspires can release deeper emotions and make any moment fresh. Even the most mundane work or activity can be made an occasion for attention when the importance is shifted from the activity to the person. Even just physically observing your partner's movements can have an energizing effect. Also trying to recall an experience your partner has undergone or a story or words your partner related to you months or years earlier is a form of attention.

3. Listen deeply

Encourage your partner to talk about any of his/her interests, listen carefully. Take genuine interest because it interests them. Take joy in what they enjoy for the sake of their enjoyment, not the thing itself. Many people in relationships have a long list of things they would like to tell their partners, but never do so either because they know the other person will not listen, is not interested or will not believe what they say. Deep listening is one of the simplest and most powerful strategies for raising the energy level and improving the quality of any relationship. It is also a powerful means for awakening a positive vibration of romance. Listening is a way of taking interest in another person for the sake of making them happy and discovering more about them. Even when you have known a person for decades and you think your know them inside out, the mind and heart remain a mystery. Allowing that mystery to express itself can release the wonder of romance. To be a good listener you have to know how to encourage your partner to talk about whatever is of interest to them, without interrupting, passing comments or criticism, either expressed or unexpressed, and most certainly without reaction of any kind. Silent listening without a thought in your mind is most powerful.

Listening is means of giving attention to the other person, pleasing them by your genuine response. The person is important. What the person speaks is secondary.

 

Jenna & the Doctor (The Waitress)

Jenna has been living for years as the psychologically abused wife of a dominating, suspicious, possessive, jealous husband, so jealous of her attention that he fears even his own baby will steal it away from him. He controls all the money so she has no freedom of action, demands that she agree with his every thought and sentiment, and forces her into a self-defensive shell of passive conciliation and submission. When she accidentally becomes pregnant, she meets a young married physician who is gentle, kind, respectful and accepting. In pouring out her long pent up grief and resentment to him, she feels a soothing balm of relief and springs of life rising up within. His simple act of listening – without interruption, comment, judgment or interpretation — just simply accepting her for what she is and has been through is enough to make her feel passionately drawn toward him. Later she realizes that what attracted her was the sense of freedom, which his listening helped awaken and liberate, giving her the strength to free herself from tyranny and set forth confidently on a new life. Life responded to the strength and purity of her decision, as it always does. When her externally rough and ornery former employer passed away, he left her a large inheritance and ownership of the restaurant where she worked.

4. Take your partner's point of view

Often we assume that we are right on an issue without even listening to our partner's point of view. No matter how right and justified we may think we are, there is always more than one valid point of view on any issue. Learn to discover the truth in your partner's point of view, no matter how partial or limited it may be. Invite your partner to express his/her viewpoint and genuinely acknowledge the truth in that perspective. Even when you believe your partner is wrong and have facts to support it, try to understand and acknowledge any factor that justifies their viewpoint or actions. When you make this effort genuinely you will find your partner less defensive and more willing to respect your perspective. Three quarters of all relationship problems will disappear if this strategy is seriously followed.

5. Intimacy

Romance is always fresh, spontaneous and personal. It is not generated by stereotyped situations and behaviors. It can be fostered by being more personal, more pleasant, more thoughtful, more intimate, by expressing a deeply felt emotion, by a greater sincerity, or by a spontaneous gesture or caress. In Pride & Prejudice Elizabeth transforms a formal moment into a romantic adventure by confessing to Darcy that she is a selfish person who cannot refrain from expressing her gratitude for all he has done to help her family. Darcy responds with equal intimacy and sincerity when he recalls how she had once rejected him by saying his conduct was ungentlemanly and that she had considered him that last man in the world she could ever marry. The essence of intimacy is the desire to please the other person and the impulse for total self-giving in utter self-forgetfulness that never seeks or expects a return.

6. Expansiveness

Expansiveness is an emotion that arises when excess energy presses to burst forth in expression. It can be generated by an amusing activity, a caress, an exchange of affectionate words, a thoughtful or unexpected gesture of help, appreciation of what your partner appreciates or any out-ward directed movement that opens to the other person in self-giving. Recall the most ecstatic moments in your relationship and try to recreate it in your shared imagination. You will find the atmosphere and sensation of the original experience returning. If you can recollect the emotions you felt at that time - not merely the circumstances, words and actions - the experience can even return in full intensity.

7. Recognize and appreciate your partner's strength

When we first meet a future partner, we may be attracted by some unique qualities seldom found in others. Yet over time we get accustomed even to the qualities we like best and tend to take them granted or focus more on other qualities we wish were present in greater measure. Often we are reminded of the value of our partner's essential qualities only when faced with a crisis that brings them to the fore. Try to enumerate all your partner's positive qualities and be conscious of them. Express your appreciation when those qualities express. Silently appreciating them at other times will create a tenderness in the relationship.

8. Freedom

Romance is a vibration that can only exist in an atmosphere of trust and freedom. That is one reason why it appears at the onset of a relationship and then disappears as commitments are made and responsibilities accepted. Romance is an adventure freely undertaken and an emotion of self-giving freely offered when nothing is assured, nothing guaranteed. Conditions, demands, doubts, suspicions and restrictions chase romance away. Extending the boundaries of trust and freedom you give your partner within the relationship to the maximum extent possible creates the best foundation for romance to flower.

9. Discover the inner Correspondences

The title of Pride & Prejudice reflects a profound truth of human relationship. There is an one to one correspondence between what we are psychologically and what comes to us from life. Darcy's pride and Elizabeth's prejudice are contradictory and opposing characteristics that meet and clash violently in the story. His proud, arrogant conviction in his wealth and social superiority confronts her prejudiced faith in her own superior insight into human nature and her own family background. By the clash between these similar but opposing attributes, both come to recognize their own deficiencies and become more humble, better and happier people. By recognizing the truth of the correspondence between them, they are able to convert mutually opposing traits into complementary characteristics that form the basis for true romance. Discovering the reality of inner-outer correspondences requires some study, thought and effort. If you want to acquire that knowledge, see the examples on this site, read the novel Pride & Prejudice, watch the five-part BBC video version of the novel, and study the articles on http://www.prideandprejudice.info/. If you still have questions, send them to us. Read more on inner-outer correspondences.

10. Discover your Complementarity

The complementarity between two people is the true basis of romance and the source of its endless attraction and perpetual mystery. That complementary can exist at different levels and take several different forms. In some it expresses as a similarity or compatibility of temperament. In others it expresses as very different capacities which augment and supplement one another. Or it may manifest as starkly different and apparently opposite tendencies which pull in different directions or even clash with one another. However it may express, the natural complementarity that initially attracts one person to another at an early stage of acquaintance is always based on a deeper truth and a deeper need, which may be overlooked or even regarded as a source of incompatibility. At the level of complementarity there are no good or better qualities, there are only aspects that combine through the relationship to create a greater whole which represents a greater truth. Value judgments have no place here. Becoming conscious of the deeper layers of complementarity between partners is an unending adventure in self-discovery that can release deeper appreciation of the other person and strengthen the bonds of relationship immensely.


The scale of romance is not a fixed and rigid set of cubbyholes in which relationships can be classified. It is rather an ascending stairway of graded levels defining the possibilities for any relationship to rise. Often we find partners fall to a lower level after the initial phase of infatuation is passed. Sometimes we see movement in the other direction, when couples who initially clashed or came together without strong binding feelings later grew to know and love one another deeply, elevating their partnership from lower to higher levels of romantic relationship. In a few rare instances we find partners traversing the entire scale from the lowest to nearly the highest levels. Learn how Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet traversed the entire scale in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice

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