The first blush of love is intoxicating. Every touch, every kiss, every thought of one another is enough to quicken your heart and thrill your spirit. You are perfect for one another. Or so it seems at the beginning.
Then things change. Differences show up. Instead of two-who-have-become-as-one, you feel separate and you\’re not sure the other one is somebody you even like anymore. Your relationship has entered into the clash of differences.
Why does that happen? Because love changes. It cannot stay static. The future of what you will have together will grow out of the deeper love that awaits you in the magic of your differences.
True love insists that you move beyond the easy connection of the early days of your relationship and allow your differences to make themselves known. You cannot help but reveal more of your complexity, your limitations, quirks, excellence, and most important, your troublesome self-centeredness. Love is no longer just ecstatic. It demands that you reveal yourself, your whole self. Otherwise, how can you ever know that you are truly loved . . . loved for who you are?
Unfortunately, most couples do not understand that the clash of differences is not only inevitable, but it is also necessary. It is that time when love asks, “Are you serious about your relationship? Are you willing to go where I will take you? Do you want a full
and awesome love, a love that takes root deep inside both of you? Or do you just want to be entertained?”
Since almost no one receives any training in how to date effectively and how to co-create a successful, romantic long-term relationship, far too many couples give up at this point and let go of what could have been a very good relationship. They think that conflicts mean failure; that a spiritually meaningful love will just happen without any effort on their part. They rage or withdraw, believing that something has gone terribly wrong and that love is no longer possible.
This assumption is wrong. Flat wrong. It not only short-changes the spiritual journey love wants for you, but it also denies the natural and necessary challenges you will face when you join your unique self together with your partner who is also one-of-a-kind.
Excluding emotional and/or physical abuse, which absolutely have nothing to do with love, your conflicts are signals that both of you are showing up in your distinctiveness, and that is a fundamental requirement if you are to ever have a relationship you can trust with your heart and soul.
However, we must all have compassion for ourselves. Most people, men and women alike, believe that conflict means that somebody wins and somebody loses. No one likes to lose and the winner never really wins because the loser gets revenge somewhere down the line. So that kind of conflict is not only painful but pointless. Why wouldn\’t we want to stay in the simple and easy pleasures of the first part of love?
Because that isn\’t real. As we said, love changes. It takes all of us into the dark side of who we are so that we can be assured that we are loved wholly — no masks, no games — loved for who we are, through and through. That\’s the only way we can know if we are truly lovable and have the capacity to love someone else in just the same way.
The key to attracting and co-creating trustworthy love is to redefine the notion of conflict. No longer a win/lose battle; open to the understanding that a conflict is like a flare, shot up from the depths of your relationship, alerting you that something
needs attention. Something in your relationship is calling out for care and healing. In other words, do not avoid the conflicts.
That may sound daunting. After all, do you want to risk antagonizing the very person you feel such love for? But if you don\’t bring forth the truth of what you are feeling — the hurt, fear, disappointment, anger, and sadness that are natural and necessary experiences that arise from your clash of differences — then you are not being loving, no matter what you say. You are not letting your partner know the truth. And that is not love. Furthermore, you will end up secretly stuffing your vulnerable and raw feelings, keeping secrets from your partner, and you will drain the life out of your relationship.
Love cannot thrive in pretense. Love can grow only out of what is real.
You may be asking, So where is the magic in all of this? The magic is in the intimacy you will create together, the real, dependable, all-embracing intimacy in which you feel secure and open to the precious, full love that you sensed in the beginning was possible.
There, in your differences, you will discover lasting passion; romance in even the smallest moments; wisdom that guides you through the tough times; joy in simply being together; and a deepening spiritual awareness that love is real and it is what you thought it could be.
Don\’t hide from your conflicts. They are fertile soil for co-creating mutual respect, esteem, trust, intimacy, and the very real joy that is at the heart of the magic of your differences.

And if you\’re wondering, what the heck is real love anyway?
Then be sure to get Judith & Jim\’s life-changing program
“What IS Love?www.judithandjim.com/whatislove/