Core Circle - Love and Relationship

Opening Words:

"I want to be more loving.  Often there are good and sufficient reasons for exercising what seems a clean direct resentment.  Again and again, I find it hard to hold in check the sharp retort, the biting comeback when it seems that someone has done violence to my self-respect and decent regard.  How natural it seems to “give as good as I get,” to “take nothing lying down,” to announce to all and sundry in a thousand ways that “no one can run over me and get away with it!”  All this is a part of the thicket in which my heart gets often caught again and again.   Deep within me, I want to me more loving – to glow with a warmth that will take the chill off the room I share with those wholse lives touch mine in the traffic of my goings and comings.  I want to be more loving!"

- from Howard Thurman


Check in/Sharing



The rate of divorce in the U.S. is now over 50%.  Often, especially when there are children involved, the decision to stick with or to leave a failing marriage or partnership is agonizing.  What is the right thing to do(?): for the heart, for the soul, for the children?  Some believe that the problem with so many failed relationships is lack of commitment or fortitude.  Some even think it’s a lack of good religion.  Many believe relationships fail because so many people enter them with unreasonably high expectations of what it means to be in a long term intimate relationship, and a complete misunderstanding of what love is.  Some believe that it’s just a matter of being lucky enough to find the right person.

Nonetheless, human beings seem programmed to love.  Even children who have suffered terrible abuse from their parents will describe them in loving terms and feel strong, affectionate bonds with their tormentors.  At some basic, animal level, we seem to need each other.  And, with very, very few cultural exceptions, “couples” of whatever sexual orientation, seem to be the basic family unit for mammals on planet earth.


Focus Questions:

What makes a long-term relationship work?  What makes love stay (or go away)?

Does love still matter after 30 years with the same person?  Why or why not?

Is “romantic love” still possible with the same person after 30 years? 

Is there such a thing as a “soulmate?”  Is there someone for everyone out there somewhere?

Why DO so many relationships fail?

Imagine your only child is about to make a life-long commitment to their chosen partner.  What is the best advice you could give them?  (If you don’t have children, use your imagination and answer the question anyway.)  What advice do you wish you had been given?


Likes And Wishes


Closing Words:

Someone once challenged Sigmund Freud on his propensity to dwell on the neurotic and dysfunctional aspects of being human.  How, they asked him, how would a completely sane, emotionally healthy, non-neurotic person behave?  How would you recognize one if they showed up on your doorstep?  He responded that a completely sane, emotionally healthy person would be able to work and to love.