Usually, when we think of love and happiness in terms of happy relationships, our concern is about how much or how well love is given and received. It's assumed that this love must be present, which is true, and that we are responsible for supplying that love, which actually is not true.
As mentioned in the article on expectations, whenever we make our partner responsible for supplying anything in the relationship, we place a burden on the partner that he or she will experience in many subtle ways, and will naturally push against. When the partner fails to fulfill his/her end of the 'bargain', then there is resentment, usually followed by compromise. Neither the original bargain, nor the attempt at compromise has any place in happy relationships simply because happy relationships are not business arrangements.
What destroys love and happiness in a relationship is the need to love and be loved. In order to understand what that means, it may be necessary to see the difference between conceptual love and genuine Love.
Conceptual love is the term I use to refer to the kind of love most of us are familiar with, the one defined by it's polar opposite of hate (or, if you prefer, fear). In this case, love means 'not angry', 'not hateful', 'not vengeful', 'not cruel', or conversely, kind, generous, helpful, considerate, appreciative, etc. The difficulty is that for the most part these are not things that one can do but rather states of being. Of course, one can act in a kind, considerate way, but if it is not one's state of being but merely a doing, as in 'being loving', the doing comes with strings attached, which is the placing of expectations again.
In this scenario, as long as one is feeling genuinely loving there is no problem and the doing follows naturally from that, but states of mind change rather continuously and so the idea that one will always be in that state is itself an unreasonable expectation.
So what must happen in order for love and happiness to be present at all times in a relationship? I use the term 'come empty' to describe how one is to approach all relationships in their lives. What this means is letting go of all expectations for how the other should be or what the other should do, and instead encountering the other as he or she actually is.
Mind will likely immediately object with the notion that if needs are not brought to the other, they will never be fulfilled, and yet it is precisely these needs, when brought into the relationship, that ensures that love and happiness will not be present.
Genuine Love is not dualistic. It actually has no opposite. As such, it is present at all times when not being obscured by your personal needs and expectations, and after all, the goal is simply to experience Love. This is the reason why the needs are there to begin with. Genuine love is present only in 'your' absence.
As odd as it may sound, genuine Love is impersonal, meaning it does not favor your needs over that of your partner's. It does not recognize your fears, judgments, expectations, and so if you wish to experience Love flowing between you, you must get yourself out of the way and let it flow. Naturally, this is effortless and results in a happy relationship.
The result is a continually fresh encounter with who your partner actually is, along with a deep appreciation, gratitude, acceptance and enjoyment. This is genuine Love and happiness, wherein all needs are fulfilled simply by not bringing them into the relationship.
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