MASTER COACH TRAINING
Module 17. Radical Relationships
Video Two: The Four Phases of a Relationship
Welcome to Video Two in Module 17. In this video, we shall build on the general thesis outlined in the first video that relationships are not so much about happiness as providing opportunities for personal and spiritual growth, by outlining in greater detail the four phases that we have to go through to achieve a truly
The first three phases are experienced prior to the Awakening, assuming that happens, of course. Not everyone awakens in the sense that we’ve been using the term throughout this course, which is to say that one has become open to and aware of spiritual reality, and is able to live effectively in both that reality and in human reality at the same time. But, for the purpose of this training, it is a fair assumption that the kind of client who comes to us is highly likely to be on the path to awakening or has already awakened, at least to some degree.
It also has to be said, and I did make reference to it in the first video, that even though a relationship does actually manage to extend to the fourth phase, post awakening, there is no guarantee that the kind of unconditional love we hope comes at that point is actually achieved — at least to the full extent of what is
possible. But, that’s OK.
All that said, let’s look now at the typical features of each phase of a committed relationship.
PHASE 1: The Honeymoon Period
This is the shortest phase normally lasting no less than 6 months and rarely more than two years. 6 – 12 months probably being the norm. We might say that the following description is tilting towards the extreme, but the basic elements are recognizable in most early relationships, especially with one’s first love.
There are many types of love, but the one that characterizes this phase is eros. Eros is a form of love that is fiery, intense, passionate, and all consuming. Seduction may be a big part of it. There is strong physical and sexual attraction, and during this phase, the couple are more or less equally sexually driven and well matched in this area.
There is an intense level of desire to be in the company of the other almost to the point of wishing to devour them. They are extremely appreciative of the beauty that they behold in each other and find many ways to express that in romantic ways.
This phase is about discovering each other’s needs and desires, giving and receiving affection, checking each other out, and game playing to the win the other’s love and acceptance, especially if, as a child, love and acceptance were withheld from one or both parents. This might be part of the attraction — a way to get that need met.
Many people during this phase become convinced that they’ve found their soulmate. It just seems that they are so well matched it could be a God thing. I do believe in soul contracts, and I have observed relationships that look like past life connections, but on the whole, I think this is just their higher selves trying to lock them into this relationship so when they get to phases two and three, there is no easy escape. Lovers at this stage are very prone to delusionary thinking and romantic dreaming, and on the whole, the soulmate thing is part of that. I also think that we are all soulmates for each other anyway at some level since we are all One.
Dreaming of having a special soulmate is just another way to think we’re separate, so it serves a purpose in that sense.
The shadow side of this phase can include quite a bit of deception, defensiveness, withholding of the truth about oneself, pretension, and lack of vulnerability. Shadow stuff remains largely hidden or at best selectively revealed as a way to test each other’s ability to be compassionate and understanding. It also isn’t long
before the issues of control and domination of one over the other start to creep in. Towards the end of this phase, being in love begins to give way to a form of love that is more conditional and maybe even quite demanding, but the partners adjust to whatever roles get established, still believing that they’re in a perfect relationship.
Phase Two comes right at the end of the honeymoon period. However, it qualifies as a separate phase in its own right in that it begins to shatter the illusion of perfection, brings the relationship down to earth, and either moves it slowly into Phase Three or dramatically brings the relationship to an abrupt end.
It has its origins in how the couple came together in the first place. There are no accidents as you know, so what happened is that one partner, let’s say it was the female, had come to a place in her life where her Higher Self wanted her to heal her shadow.
So, she subconsciously put out a signal and attracted into her life a healing angel, whose job it was to become her perfect relationship partner, lull her into thinking she had met her sacred beloved, and then, at some point in the relationship, when they were really hooked into it and had established intimacy (into-me-see), this sweet loving person would, all of a sudden, become a cruel, hypercritical, judgmental, and abusive tyrant.
What she hadn’t seen all the way through the honeymoon period was that he had a great deal of the same stuff in his consciousness that precisely matched her own repressed shadow stuff. But, he’d had it nicely covered up so she no idea that it was there. But it had suddenly leaked out and was now in her face. She had attracted her healing angel. He’d held the mirror up to her so she could see her own self-hatred. And, what a shock that was!
What happens next determines whether the relationship moves into phase three or dies. The woman has basically three choices. The first is that she only sees him for what she thinks he is and leaves immediately.
She doesn’t get it that he is a healing angel for her, just someone who lied to her, betrayed her, and hurt her. That’s the end of the relationship for her. The love she felt for him during the honeymoon stage turns to hate.
Since she didn’t get the message (that is, unless she comes to you and you enlighten her), she will simply go on and find another man who will do exactly the same. It’s OK though because eventually she will see the pattern and begin to wake up. But, almost always through relationship. How else can we do it?
The second choice, the nature of which we will explore in Phase Three is that she doesn’t see that he is a healing angel for her, but in her own mind feels that her need to be in a relationship is so strong that she will put up with his crap anyway, no matter what. She settles, and stays in the relationship, and remains in denial
about it being an unhappy liaison at least for the first few years. She is also likely to delude herself into thinking that she can change him. She will think to herself, “If I love him enough he will change and will become what I want him to be.” As a codependent, she will spend her life trying to please him hoping he will reciprocate, but he never does. If he is a narcissist, it will be a marriage made in hell.
However, while in human terms she has sold herself out and made a bad choice, in terms of the spiritual purpose for the relationship she’s actually made a good decision. That’s because this relationship will give her many opportunities to experience the pain of separation, which in turn will provide a lot of growth opportunities for years to come, until such time as she awakens. Sadly though, people like this often do not.
They get cancer or something like that and die. The third choice she might make, assuming she’s close to her awakening and doesn’t need many more karmic units before doing so, is to recognize him as her healing angel. Whether she stays with him or not,
she uses the insights and awareness that she has gained from the experience to begin the process of healing her shadow, waking up, and becoming whole.
What often happens, in this case, is that the healing angel either moves on, the purpose of that relationship having been served, or he drops the behavior that caused the problem in the first place and the relationship continues on through phase three and perhaps even to phase four. His seemingly errant behavior was actually put on just for her — without his awareness though, of course.
OK, so now let’s assume that the relationship survives and the couple has entered Phase Three. The honeymoon period is over and even if there had been no big shake up at the end of it such as we have just described, both parties have begun to revert to their true natures and habitual ways of being.
They begin to relax into the relationship and become comfortable with each other, perhaps to the point where they begin to take each other for granted. As the years go by they continue to push each other’s buttons, create lots of dramas and conflicts, with each one fighting for their position, grabbing or ceding control and power in their respective roles within the relationship. Love slowly shifts to a more storgic kind of love which is less eros and more a friendship based love. They may even start to drift apart.
Sexually each will have reverted to their type, which while they were in the honeymoon period seemed the same, but may well be very different now, more often than not with one person driven by a fear of rejection which makes them very insecure but extremely demanding with a high sex drive, while the other is driven by
a fear of intimacy which makes them want more alone time and only occasional sex. Plenty of room for conflict there then.
In Phase Three the relationship can get very shaky at times and but for the fact that they have by this time gotten children, a mortgage, and other commitments that might make separation difficult, they might have called it a day and gone their separate ways a few times.
It is often the case that an affair has precipitated a crisis and it is frequently that which is the breakdown experience that precipitates the breakdown that precedes the awakening. So, be ready for that being the case.
Most of the clients you will get will be at this stage in this third phase of the relationship. They may even be at the point of make-it-or-break-it. I made a VIP Day out of this, and I actually call it, “Make It or Break It.” Using the Relationship Assessment Worksheet, we spend a day, sometimes two, helping them assess
their relationship just for them to get clarity about where they are, but not to make a decision, yet anyway.
Then we met again a month later, and the goal then is to help them make the decision one way or another if they haven’t already done so in the meantime. There are a number of ways that you can design premium products like this. Another might be to create one where you help a couple deal with one of them having had
an affair. Now that is a great niche.
But no matter what is happening in the relationship you will have it in mind that it is perfect in the sense that both parties are assisting each other in feeling the pain of separation and that the purpose eventually is to bring them both to their awakening. Not that you share that of course, but hopefully, when the time is right,
the work you do with them will bring them to that point, hopefully together. That’s not always the case, unfortunately. It would be nice if they were to awaken together and, in time, make it together into Phase Four.
If this doesn’t happen, and only one partner awakens and wants to have a wholly different kind of relationship, he or she can either leave and find another partner who has the same spiritual yearning for a relationship based on unconditional love, freedom, mutual respect, and acceptance, or stick with their lifetime mate and
accept the spiritual challenge of loving him or her unconditionally in spite of his or her resistance to making the shift.
The period we are calling the awakening is part of Phase Three and a little bit of part Four, but it is definitely a prerequisite for part Four. The period of awakening never really ends, but for our purpose here, if we think of it as being, say the first 2 – 5 years of spiritual discovery and opening up to things like Radical Forgiveness,
there is a list of things that you might help them with, beyond forgiving the past, that impinge on their relationships now and will prepare them for Phase Four.
1. Forgive their current and past partners using the worksheets or the 3-Letters.
2. Understand their own sexual personalities and adjust to that of their partner’s. (Now, for more information about that, see my book, Radical Self-Forgiveness, The Direct Path to True Self-Acceptance. There is a whole chapter of that.)
3. Assess their relationship, define their values, and set their boundaries.
4. Release unrealistic expectations and demands.
5. Stop trying to change your partner and accept him or her the way he or she is.
6. Recognize when the relationship is over and let it go.
Phase Four is definitely a sea change. Few people ever reach it, even if they have awakened to some degree. It’s very hard to break the habits of the past with the partner that you may have lived with for 20, 30, 40, or even 50 years. But for those who are truly awake and know the truth of who they are, it can be done.
A couple might even have grown into it without making a conscious effort to shift their relationship to this degree. So, what does a relationship that has reached Phase Four look like?
Well, first of all, it features Agape Love. This kind of love is as close to unconditional love and acceptance as it is possible for any human being to get. It is a love that is deep and enduring and has roots that go back a long way. In some cases, many lifetimes back. It is a love that does not demand, does not expect, respects each other’s values, boundaries, needs, and desires and gives the other complete freedom to be who they are.
It is a relationship based on mutual respect, honesty, and integrity. Power, control, and decision making is shared equally. Differences exist but are understood and where possible resolved easily and quickly.
Codependence, narcissism, perfectionism, and other tendencies left over from childhood are recognized and balanced out in a loving manner. Partners in Phase Four are usually best friends and love to be with each other and at times not. They are committed to each other’s spiritual growth and are happy most of the time.
So, that’s what we aspire to — and hopefully, you’ll be able to help people reach that level of loving acceptance of each other. To this end, I urge you to complete your task for this module which is to study the book in depth, Expanding into Love Through Radical Forgiveness.
This brings us to the end of Module 17, but there’s more about relationships and how to coach people in specific aspects of them in the next two modules.
See you in Module 18.