Gary Zukav said, “The spring wakes us, nurtures us and revitalizes us. How often does your spring come? If you are a prisoner of the calendar, it comes once a year. If you are creating authentic power, it comes frequently, or very frequently.”
I would like to adjust his thought a little: How often does your spring come? If you are creating a remarkable relationship, it comes frequently, or very frequently. Keeping your relationship fresh requires frequently creating a spring season.
It seems as though, as we go through the seasons of our relationships, that our connection is either evolving or devolving. Evolving relationships, despite the typical ups and downs, remain strong and fulfilling. Devolving relationships are quickly or slowly grinding down into misery. If relationships are not nurtured and revitalized, then they follow the seasons quite possibly to a cold and bitter end.
In this scenario, spring is the emergence and growth of a new relationship where two people are drawn together, excited to share and get to know one another. In spring, we are on our best behavior—trying to impress each other.
Summer is when things start to sizzle and the blinders are on. We tend to ignore anything negative and accentuate the positive. We have done such an excellent job of pumping each other up, helping each to feel special, loved and important that we are blissful.
Then fall comes, and the inevitable cool breezes start to blow, disappointments and hurts accumulate like the falling leaves and dried up blossoms. Our defense mechanisms begin to kick in and we can find ourselves being critical or avoiding each other.
Winter can lead to the death of relationships which are not prepared for these harsh realities. The result is entrenched positions and increasing disconnection.
The danger is that relationships, left unattended, tend over time to devolve into conflict and bitterness. To overcome this tendency, we must choose the opposite of our relationship killing reactions. When we consciously choose to recreate our spring season in our relationship and decide to continue to share and to grow as individuals and as a couple, we can create a different path for our relationship. Opting to generate a new spring season with our partner, rather than look for a new partner to experience spring again, will change the outcome as we cycle through the seasons in our relationship.
Evolving relationships frequently cycle back to spring. We remain curious about our partner and willing to authentically share. We consciously choose to bring our best self to the relationship. We create opportunities to connect in meaningful ways.
As we frequently cycle back to spring, our summers can continue to sizzle. Even though we are fully aware of our partner’s flaws, we choose to focus more on their strengths and we let them know that we notice their strengths. We focus on healing our own flaws, rather than controlling our partner.
Fall then can become an opportunity to examine our hurts and disappointments and consider how we can get better at self-validation, improve our boundaries and learn from our individual and couple mistakes. Fall can also become a time of gratitude as we gather and enjoy the fruit of our relationship. Remembering who we are and remembering that we love each other no matter what can help us make our falls a productive and enjoyable time, in spite of the cool breezes.
Dealing maturely with the fall breezes means our winters will find us cozy in the comfort of cuddling together in front of a warm fire while the icy winds blow outside. Our winters become a time of evaluation and contemplation, as we continue pulling together to create a secure and fulfilling relationship. And we look forward to creating our next spring cycle and the opportunity to nurture the blossoms of our relationship.
"Unless a tree has borne blossoms in spring, you will vainly look for fruit on it in autumn." Walter Scott.