Secret of happy relationships

My dear friends...

I spoke in this space last week about the fact that loneliness is the biggest social issue on our planet today. I said that we’ve been living in a world of increasing isolation, where extended families have been disappearing and the opportunities for closeness with others have been vanishing. The sudden rise and almost addictive use of social networking sites on the Internet by millions around the globe is, without doubt, humanity’s collective compensatory behavior.

Yet we don’t have to turn a computer on when we can turn another human being on—to himself or herself and to us. And nothing turns people on more than moments of being authentically vulnerable, truly close, or completely naked. My best advice is to find someone with whom you can be all three.

But not just anyone. I want to strongly suggest that this be a person who is very special to you—and to whom you are willing to be very special. So there are two questions you would do well to always ask yourself when choosing a person with whom to be all three. And this is especially true if you are thinking of forming a lifelong partnership with that person.

I am sharing this with you now because I am often asked, “What is the secret of happy relationships?” I have had many unhappy ones, and I openly confess that I contributed greatly to creating them as unhappy ones. I wish I knew earlier in my life what I know now. Especially, the Two Questions to Ask Yourself in Every Relationship.

Are you ready? Here are the questions:

Where am I going?


Who’s going with me?

Now...and most important...when you make this deep self-inquiry, do
not reverse the order of the questions.

If you do, you could wind up asking yourself in times to come, “How is the world did I get here? What happened to my dream?”

So it is important to select a person who can share your dream. Or, at least, support you in living it. And not begrudgingly, either, but enthusiastically, joyfully, and wholeheartedly, wherever your dream takes you.

Of course, another person cannot find out what your dream is unless you are at least two of the three—vulnerable and close—somewhere along the way, and hopefully from the outset, of your relationship.

When two people support each other in each having their dream, and in being vulnerable, close, and naked while doing it, then a Fairy Tale is written.

It becomes “Once Upon A Time” time.

And this is the Holy Experience.

A few days after we were married, my wife, the American poet Em Claire, wrote about this kind of partnership. It is what she saw for us. It is what she hoped for us. It is what she chose to create for us.

We say that we will have a Good Life.


This is a guarantee

if we are kind to one another.


If we are patient.


If, when I speak, you listen

and if when you speak, I hear you.


This is assured,

if we continue to look for one another.


If we want to find.


If, when I am here, I am seen,

and if, when you are here, I see you.


We say that this will be a Good Life.


This is a guarantee

if We are Naked with one another.


If We are clotheless.


If, when I am vulnerable,

you shelter,

and if, when you are defenseless,

I protect.



(© 2007. From the book Silent Sacred Holy Deepening Heart by the American poet Em Claire)


I’ll leave you with that for now, and, should you choose, we’ll meet here again next week.

Hugs and love,

Read this week's Letter to Neale here


Read a message from one of the prisoners impacted by our Prison Outreach HERE



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