Talk about a spark! You look across the table and catch your partner’s eye. The glance is only momentary, and no words are said, but there’s a deep unspoken understanding about the situation and its context.
He hasn’t eaten a kiwi in 10 years, not since the texture freaked him out during that fruit salad at his mom’s house on the 4th of July. But there’s a kiwi slice on his fork, and he’s weighing whether to try it again. Should he take the plunge? Yes, you can do it, Dear; that kiwi 10 years ago was overly ripe. This one is better.
It is like you’re sharing a secret conversation with your eyes. You’re reading his mind, and he’s reading yours. You’re sharing the emotional experience, too, and in that moment there no longer is you and your partner sitting across the table. There’s just you as a couple; one mind, one body.
We can spend thousands of dollars on a romantic vacation by the Bosphorus or purchase a thrilling Dodge Viper, but this simple knowing glance over kiwi will bring us more true joy and happiness. There’s nothing more blissful and satisfying than being deeply understood and connected. We spend our entire lives chasing it, whether we know it or not. That’s because this is the goods; this is what really matters in life.
Identifying and sharing with your partner on this level comes from both knowing them and breaking down the narrative that you and your partner are unconnected. When you start thinking and treating your partner as part of yourself, you not only build the intimacy of a good relationship, you build the identification and understanding that creates a mind-blowing relationship.
Narrative plays an important role both in understanding your partner and forging this strong connection.
The Importance of Narrative
Most of us create our identity and make sense of our daily experiences based on the life story we’ve created in our head. We build this narrative based on our history, our past experiences, and our understanding of how the world works. But we make this narrative alone.
The first step toward a deeper union with our partner comes from knowing their personal narrative. We need their facts and their understanding of the world so we in turn can understand what is going on in their head and in their heart.
If we don’t know this history and outlook, we still can share the moment. Without context, however, we cannot fully understand what is going on behind the scenes. We don’t know the subtle significance of the kiwi on the fork, so we cannot fully share and connect in the moment.
Most good relationships stop at this level; we think knowing our partner is as far as we can go. But there’s a deeper connection we can share, one that comes from full identification with our partner, not just understanding how they think and see the world. We create this identification when we not only know our partner’s narrative, we also own it as our own.
We give lip service to the ideal of two people coming together as one, but in our heads we’re still operating from a narrative that has us separate from our partner. We have our narrative, and they have theirs. Creating those magical moments of connection and near telepathy requires going a step further with the union: adopting their narrative as part of our own.
When our personal narrative encompasses both our experiences and those of our partner, we subtly shift from partnership to union. When we have two narratives, we have two people. When we take ownership of not only our narrative but also that of our partner, we expand ourselves and become something larger. This is true union and the basis of a deep, satisfying, rock-solid relationship.
Sharing the Experience
In practice, this means adopting your partner’s history as your own. You must forget where your experience ends and your partner’s experience begins.
First you rewrite your narrative by affirming that you and your partner are separated by body but not by soul. Your whole life you’ve been told that you are separate from others, that the whole of you is what you can experience directly with your five senses. Free yourself of this limiting belief because it is not true either experientially or on the scientific level. Start with the assumption that you and your partner are connected.
Once you’ve rewritten the rules of your narrative, the second step is living your partner’s stories. When your partner tells you about his bad kiwi experience on the 4th of July, taste that fruit with him. Put yourself in his shoes. Live the experience in your mind, and ideally also in your heart and in your body.
Don’t watch your partner in the story, be him in the story. Make your partner’s story yours.
All it Takes is Practice
Encompassing your partner’s narrative as part of your own is not magic. It doesn’t take special skill or require mystical belief. All it requires is changing your frame of reference so your definition of yourself is you and your partner collectively, not you alone.
While owning your partner’s narrative is not magic, it might feel like it. When you fully understand and identify with your partner, great things happen. They happen a lot, and they blow you away with connection, love, peace and true happiness.
We’re all searching for those moments when we lock eyes with our partner and share something deep. When you own your partner’s narrative, you set the scene for those magical moments; you lay the foundation for love, connection and understanding.
Getting there is not always easy, however. If you need help building that shared narrative with your partner, reach out to me for individual guidance. If you haven’t done so already, I also invite you to get my free weekly email with additional tips for building an extraordinary relationship.
We all deserve the magic of looking into our partner’s eyes and knowing we are not alone. We all deserve the pleasure of giving this gift to those we truly love.
Peter is founder of Kowalke Coaching. He also is founding director of the Philia Mission, a small charitable organization. Contact Peter.