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Is it ever right to give up on a relationship?
Question: This is a difficult question to ask. Is it ever right to give up on a relationship? Is it always the ego that is seeking for love and not finding it? I seem to see some couples that seem to have "loving" relationships, and yet, this eludes me, although I have been in the same relationship for over 35 years.
I have struggled so often with the feeling that I am flogging a dead horse. Yet, because I have studied the Course for several years, I am deeply aware that the Son of God (my partner), always deserves my love, and honor. When I get depressed about my relationship, I remind myself not to focus on what I want, but to refocus on how much I can give to the relationship—knowing that giving is receiving. Occasionally, there is a glimmer of light, but for the most part, it's cloudy.
I don't want to give up on this person, or relationship–but it sure doesn't feel good.
Answer: Thanks for writing. In ACIM, Christ teaches that the one right use of judgment is "how do you feel?" Yes, it is always the ego that is seeking for love and not finding it. And yes the Son of God always deserves our love and honor, for Christ is our Self. You have written: "When I get depressed about my relationship, I remind myself not to focus on what I want, but to refocus on how much I can give to the relationship - knowing that giving is receiving." Focus on the state of mind that you truly want, peace, and see that your peace of mind is the gift you give. It is true that giving is receiving, for Christ extends peace and experiences the peace that is extended. Just remember that gifts are not made through bodies if they be truly given. Your beatitude of peace is the gift, and if you seem to be depressed it is because you are attempting to deprive yourself of giving/receiving the gift.
As a metaphor for Awakening in ACIM, Christ describes three seeming "levels" of teaching. These are stepping stones to learning that giving and receiving are one, for in Truth there are no levels of Love and this is a Course in Teaching Only Love:
"The teachers of God have no set teaching level. Each teaching-learning situation involves a different relationship at the beginning, although the ultimate goal is always the same: to make of the relationship a holy relationship, in which both can look upon the Son of God as sinless. There is no one from whom a teacher of God cannot learn, so there is no one whom he cannot teach. However, from a practical point of view he cannot meet everyone, nor can everyone find him. Therefore, the plan includes very specific contacts to be made for each teacher of God. There are no accidents in salvation. Those who are to meet will meet, because together they have the potential for a holy relationship. They are ready for each other.
The simplest level of teaching appears to be quite superficial. It consists of what seem to be very casual encounters; a ‘chance’ meeting of two apparent strangers in an elevator, a child who is not looking where he is going running into an adult ‘by chance,’ two students ‘happening' to walk home together. These are not chance encounters. Each of them has the potential for becoming a teaching-learning situation. Perhaps the seeming strangers in the elevator will smile to one another, perhaps the adult will not scold the child for bumping into him; perhaps the students will become friends. Even at the level of the most casual encounter, it is possible for two people to lose sight of separate interests, if only for a moment. That moment will be enough. Salvation has come.
It is difficult to understand that levels of teaching the universal course is a concept as meaningless in reality as is time. The illusion of one permits the illusion of the other. In time, the teacher of God seems to begin to change his mind about the world with a single decision, and then learns more and more about the new direction as he teaches it. We have covered the illusion of time already, but the illusion of levels of teaching seems to be something different. Perhaps the best way to demonstrate that these levels cannot exist is simply to say that any level of the teaching-learning situation is part of God's plan for Atonement, and His plan can have no levels, being a reflection of His Will. Salvation is always ready and always there. God's teachers work at different levels, but the result is always the same.
Each teaching-learning situation is maximal in the sense that each person involved will learn the most that he can from the other person at that time. In this sense, and in this sense only, we can speak of levels of teaching. Using the term in this way, the second level of teaching is a more sustained relationship, in which, for a time, two people enter into a fairly intense teaching-learning situation and then appear to separate. As with the first level, these meetings are not accidental, nor is what appears to be the end of the relationship a real end. Again, each has learned the most he can at the time. Yet all who meet will someday meet again, for it is the destiny of all relationships to become holy. God is not mistaken in His Son.
The third level of teaching occurs in relationships which, once they are formed, are lifelong. These are teaching-learning situations in which each person is given a chosen learning partner who presents him with unlimited opportunities for learning. These relationships are generally few, because their existence implies that those involved have reached a stage simultaneously in which the teaching-learning balance is actually perfect. This does not mean that they necessarily recognize this; in fact, they generally do not. They may even be quite hostile to each other for some time, and perhaps for life. Yet should they decide to learn it, the perfect lesson is before them and can be learned. And if they decide to learn that lesson, they become the saviors of the teachers who falter and may even seem to fail. No teacher of God can fail to find the Help he needs." (A Course In Miracles, Manual, 3.1)
Your relationship with your partner is similar to most interpersonal,”couple" relationships and has been "...a more sustained relationship, in which, for a time, two people enter into a fairly intense teaching-learning situation and then appear to separate. As with the first level, these meetings are not accidental, nor is what appears to be the end of the relationship a real end. Again, each has learned the most he can at the time. Yet all who meet will someday meet again, for it is the destiny of all relationships to become holy. God is not mistaken in His Son." Very few "couple" relationships are third-level teaching-learning situations "...because their existence implies that those involved have reached a stage simultaneously in which the teaching-learning balance is actually perfect." In third "level" teaching-learning situations there is always an inner experience of rapid spiritual growth or ego undoing. If you are experiencing sustained depression or a feeling of sustained stagnation in your relationship this is a Call to go within and listen carefully to the instructions of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit needs happy learners and this requires the willingness to be flexible and trusting and follow the prompts that are given to you. The illusion of depression comes from a sense of being deprived of something that you want and do not have. Remember that you are deprived of nothing except by your own decision, and be willing to allow the Holy Spirit to decide for God for you by aligning with the Holy Spirit.
Let the Holy Spirit Guide you with all seeming decisions, including the "to stay or to go decisions" involving relationships, jobs, locations, etc. You will seem to go through many changes as you Awaken, yet these changes are as temporary as is the forgiveness to which they lead. An experience will come that will end all doubting, and this experience touches the Changelessness of Spirit. Be willing to follow all the prompts of the Holy Spirit, and you will know you have by the light-heartedness, peace, and joy you feel within. This is the one right use of judgment and this discernment will lead you into the forgiven world and on to Waking from the dream of separation entirely.
We are joined in this Awakening, and Joy and Happiness are inevitable for God's Will is for Perfect Happiness. It is impossible that God's Love remain unrecognized.
I love You forever and ever! David