Adult love in the couple relationship

by Bert Hellinger (June 2005)

Rilke:
Don’t ever despair, when something is lost, everything improves for us

Love in a couple

What happens when we hug? We open our arms, we ally with each other, we go towards each other, we hug, we are close. We are in a deep bond. And the question is: How long can we stand this? After some time, we need to separate a little. Arms remain open. And we look beyond the other, at something greater. We see his family, his fate, life in its whole. And we hug the whole. And we look again. We approach, but this time keeping some distance. We look at each other and see the other surrounded by something wider. Ourselves too. And from that point the relationship is secure and great: this is the other look, the look that reaches far. From there, there is wholeness.

Vibrating

When you are in vibration, something has started moving in the soul. And that is enough. While we are in the vibration we are moving, whatever the direction that is taken. We make room in the soul for someone who did not have it. Looking and searching for the vibration.

Helping a couple

The therapist vibrates, then he vibrates with the world, then he vibrates with the other. The therapist helps the couple find that vibration. The therapist starts vibrating, then he vibrates with the couple, and the couple with him.

What does it mean to help a couple? The therapist imagines what could be the most fair for the couple, but it is about other forces. It is necessary that the therapist withdraws and lets life live through the man and the woman, to let life live as it wills, and only wait, and be surprised of the movement of the soul.

Often, when we want to help, we search for a solution and we imagine it. Sometimes this is impossible, it goes beyond a psychotherapy. Deep down we have life strengths beyond what may be imagined. Then we look beyond each individual, towards something more powerful, where everything is great, and just as it was, and it is usually different from what we had imagined. If we listen to ourselves to feel the effect, we see how we change. When we have wishes about the relationship, let us be humble and let ourselves be carried by other forces. And there we will find wholeness.

Look at which of the members of a couple needs the other less. The best relationship is when both need each other. Look at which of the two has more difficulties.

How to be successful in a couple relationship?

Where does this relationship start? In the love toward the mother. If the relationship with the mother is achieved, the couple relationship will be too.

Mother equals motherland. The country where we come from is our mother. The relationship with the mother and the motherland is the condition for a good couple relationship. The motherland is something of ours. It is the mother. It is linked to our fate. Only in it can we grow and serve peace.

The couple: a relationship between two groups

A relationship between two people is an illusion, it does not exist. It is about a relationship between two groups, between two powerful groups, two family systems. A group is in the service of the other. Every group looks for another group to put order in his, and sometimes it succeeds.

When a group looks for another group to solve something, what takes place is beyond the love between man and woman, there are other forces. There, the woman becomes the man’s fate, and vice versa. But it is the origins of each one what becomes the other’s fate. Each one is caught in a net of entanglements, therefore in their common fate they have part of the other’s fate, and sometimes they execute positively their own fate.

Men die, women live.

But sometimes their fates are so much in contradiction that they have to separate. When one has had to take the other’s fate and this stops him from growing and realizing, he has to separate out of fidelity to his own fate.

The couple relationship is the start of a new family. We have grown up within a family, we go out of it and create a new one. In this new family we continue experiencing what we lived before.

We always live within a family. And only within a family.

The start of the family: love between man and woman. And then, the children.

Each one comes from a different tradition and they must find each other even if they are different, both families shall find each other, and they find their continuation in that new family.

Fate

It is about a community of fates. What are fates?: The dead, above all the excluded ones, the rejected ones. They have the effect of a fate over those who come after them.

How can fate be turned around so it is better? How can we escape the entanglement?

By giving those dead a place in our heart, in our soul. We vibrate with them. We absorb their resonance and vibrate together with them. Then, a greater wholeness gives strength to the relationship. For many families, aborted children become a particular fate, and if we vibrate with them, they are under the family’s protection and instead of being the origin of a grave fate, they become into a favorable fate.

Abortions, life and death

What is grave for an aborted child is not the fact of having being aborted, but that they have wished to get rid of him.

Looking at the course of life, life feeds on death, life continues because other die. And those who die are in the service of life, even the aborted ones, by themselves, in their soul, are in the service of life.

In the Sonnets to Orpheus by Rilke:  “the son, fruit of one of my encounters, died and made a little place for himself in my ear, there he has his little bed, and this death vibrates in my ear and dreams the world. This death perceives everything through me, then where is his death? It dreams the world, it vibrates with all that happens, what I hear, what I say and sing. He has all he needs. * Lets listen to the aborted children in our ear, lets vibrate with them, and they will have all they need.

With that gaze, a happiness is found in wholeness, one in which the living and the dead continue vibrating with life as a whole.

Children from a previous relationship

When there were children from another relationship, something new has to come with the new relationship without replacing what was, and in this way the bond will be deeper. It would be far too easy, too cheap, to proceed otherwise. The old happiness, the previous one, has room in the new one.

The new is made possible thanks to a new understanding. Looking at what was or reproducing it is an obstacle to life.

Individual Exercise

Go back to the past, go back to your previous relationships, look at their result, at the children. Look at those previous partners in the context of the greatness that was, and say to them: thanks.

Look at all the past, all what was great, and say to it: thanks.

Say to your previous partner: I take everything into my heart, with love. And I keep it, I keep it with love.

Respect for men

Few men are respected. The key to happiness for the male children is that their parents are respected.

Daddy’s daughter has no respect for men, nor for her father. She feels she is better than her mother for her father, and in this way she places herself above both. There, all loose.

The morphogenetic field

All members of the family, all the secrets, all the dead, belong to the morphogenetic field. There is no secret, there is only memory, everything is in the field.

New orientation

When I respect someone’s fate, when it is grave, and because of its depth and gravity I know I must not intervene, many of those who help, the psychotherapists, get scandalised. Criticism against me and against this work comes from those who cannot stand this, the depth of this reality. Let’s imagine what disasters they would cause to those families. This is why I disengage from this kind of work. I move in a different work direction, I go with the deep movements of the strength of the soul, a movement that creates strength. And it is different to what we think it ought to be.

To encourage this movement, vibrating with it and following it, without listening to others, in an attitude of respect towards this movement, this is to serve life in its greatness.

This is my current orientation, I am in the service of life.

It is not learnt. There is no method. This deep movement lives. I put myself in its service, to go into it. In this way, it is possible to help in a way that has been awaited for a long time.

If one is left alone he weakens, it is necessary to go together in this movement. The strength comes from the presence of every one of you supporting what happened and from each of you going into that movement. Thus, you can make a circle of friends, once a month, with more people, and train in the service of life, one hour, and everyone says what she feels, what she finds in the other’s experience, without giving advice.

When there is no ambition, nor illusion, only love, it is not harmful.

The dead of war

The dead become the fate of the living. What shall be done for it to become a good fate? It is above all the dead of war who become fate for the living.

In a park, in Belgrade, I could not move forward, there was too much energy against me. I asked and I was told that it had been a battle field. Then I looked at the forgotten dead, I gave them a place in my heart, and then I could continue walking.

In Poland, there where the Jews were taken away, or where the concentration camps were, there is a weight over today’s life. In the souls of the Polish the dead Jews are missing. I told them they had to give them a place in their souls and they understood.

In Silesia I realised those who were missing were the natives. If we look at the Germans we can see that the Jews are missing. People are angry with the murderers and have forgotten the dead.

I have to say what I see, I am not afraid to say it. Therapists do not stand evidence generally. If I withdraw when I see something hard, something terrible can happen to me. Rilke says: “he who removes the truth from his soul once, loses the path forever”. To take your eyes away from truth is very dangerous.

In schizophrenia, there is a hidden murder. When what is hidden is brought to light, they heal. The schizophrenic is free when both [victim and perpetrator] are reconciled in his soul.

When someone who was born later stops meddling with what happened earlier, that is when everything is freed.

The strength of wars comes from the descendants revenging their ancestors, with joy. And from, later, presenting them with medals for having killed people.

And the dead? They become swords in children’s hands.

Justice

Justice is a myth. It has never existed. It is searched for, and never found.

What do I look for in justice? Someone else’s death. Does he who has been hurt think with killer ideas, or does he think with love? No, he wants to be avenged. “May he be killed and go to hell!” Is that person punished enough? No, justice is never satisfied.

There is a tribe in Canada in which there is no word for “justice”, “guilty” or “murderer”. Then, what is someone who has hurt someone else called? “Badly taught” or “ill”. And what happens when there is a murder? The victim’s family adopts the murderer.

Our western culture has a great God, a just God, who condemns. A just God cannot be God because he is in the service of another God, an idol. He is in the service of a supreme idol: justice, the most bloodthirsty idol there is.

Wars and retaliations are sacrifices to the idol of justice.

Balance in the couple relationship

Exchange is possible because of the need for balance. When we receive we need to give, to return, irresistibly, within a couple and in the history of countries also. If a country has spread out too much, then an opposite pressure takes place until it becomes like the rest. For instance Colombia, Venezuela: the return of the conquest of the Spanish is the current exit of the natives. See the Slavonic countries, how they are finding their dignity now.

The couple relationship is one of love, it happens with love. One gives with love, love returns with love; it gives some more, the other returns some more, exchange and happiness increase, the bond deepens.

The one that has given too much threatens the relationship. I shall not give more than what the other can return to me. There is a limit to what is given and what is requested from the other. He who gives too much is in a posture of power, forcing the other. If I give too much, I act like a mother.

Freedom, what is it? It is: I give nothing, I receive nothing, I am not linked, I am free and empty.

Love, what is it? To be full and linked.

Negative balance

If one hurts another, the other feels the need to return that hurt, and only if he does, is the relationship reestablished.

Forgiveness

What prevents the reestablishment of the relationship? Forgiveness. Forgiveness is a poison. One places herself above the other. Forgiveness separates.

The instinct of revenge

If I am hurt, I wish to hurt the other and hurt him even more. It is not a bad intention, it is an archaic movement that develops in the soul: ”I want to destroy the other, I have killing desires”. It is not evilness, it is a basic process that links us with the primitive movements of our history, one of survival of the species, to have security with regards to our group.

This survival instinct must not be underestimated. It leads to mutual destruction.

There are couples that get together and give the power of destruction to a higher instance –the state-, and that protects them from their own destruction will (it is an instinct that exists inside every one of us). Then mutual plunder and destruction starts.

Order protects us because it tames our destructive will. Then we displace our destructive will, we transfer it to criticism, to debates, especially through the media. Destruction has total freedom there.

The established order allows us to channel our destructive will: reporting, accusations, justice. God is also moved by the destructive will: the Christian hell.

Atoning is destructive will directed toward oneself. The desire of the sacred is also the same: Ascetics destroy themselves.

In a couple, something may be done if one has hurt the other: the other shall take revenge with love, in order to save the relationship. He does something lesser than what he has received, the other then is surprised, and love starts again.

How to go beyond the moral in a relationship? Each one gives the other permission for ten faults, and in this way, the relationship remains human and ordinary.

Loyalty, to whom or what?

I love you and love that which guides us, I love what guides you, and I love what guides me” It is a double loyalty. In a couple relationship, it is a mistake to think that one must be loyal in everything. One has to be loyal, first and foremost, to his own fate, to something greater, to the divine in his soul, to the deep movement of his soul. Sometimes this forces us to separate, because the other does not want to follow it, or blocks it. Then it will be about a separation with love. I love the other and his fate, I love myself. Each one can support the other even when they separate.

Sexuality

When there is a problem in a couple’s sexual life, the man needs to support himself on his male ancestors, and the woman on her female ancestors. And each of the two says to the other: “you are more than my mother, you are my wife and I am happy with you as my wife”.

Each one alone, with regards to his sex, would have little strength in the relationship, little courage, s/he would not be very reliable, but if s/he is with all of those in his family of his/her same sex, what a difference!

In the past all the family was invited to a wedding, that gave more strength, the couple was joined with all the tradition.

The place

Many place themselves above their parents, they believe they are better, then they have no strength and fall soon.

Every one arrives into the last place, in the valley. In it all waters come together. Down at the bottom are all the waters. Looking up from there, at the source of the water, I am small; and taking from the ancestors, supporting myself on them and looking forward, I grow and come to be like them. First, I am small, and then I am big.

Love and death

The institution of the couple relationship is an institution against death, against the end, for the children. When a couple is made it shall confront the goodbye, whatever their love is, it will end.

Eternal love is short.

Some fear that goodbye. They fear that their great love finishes. Then they have doubts about a couple relationship, since the more love, the more painful is the goodbye.

Some want to suffer little, then they prefer not to have a relationship.

The great love looks at the goodbye and the end face to face. Thanks to that, it is incandescent. And the more that is looked at, the strongest is the present moment.

In the relationship, both train in the final goodbye, they part from what is visible, from illusions. And every crisis is a departing from an illusion. After the crisis, they are both more humble, love is greater and more reliable.

Then the final goodbye comes.

In a terminal illness, look at each other’s eyes and say to each other: “I remain by your side while I can”.

Love is like a light in the sunset. Then the goodbye comes, the death of one of the two. The one who stays, abandons herself to the pain. Great love equals great pain. It is good to abandon oneself to this pain, it allows the farewell, the separation, and it frees, it prepares you for what comes next.

Some think that one has to remain faithful to the dead partner. Speaking about Wilson, who got married again after one year of his wife’s death, Freud said that it was the signal of his great love for his first wife. Love is in the service of life, it is benevolent towards the other, beyond death.

Saying goodbye and then looking forward, in the service of life, reveals love.

A long grief is an absence of love, it is a manifestation of atonement, of guilt and no-love.

 


* This is a direct translation from the article in Spanish and does not seek to emulate the rhythm or language used in the original poem by Rilke, of which there are more lyric translations available.


Translation by María Escribano from the Spanish version of the article entitled “El amor adulto en la pareja”, Neuchâtel Congress, 3-4 June 2005,  published by Brigitte Champetier de Ribes in http://www.insconsfa.com/arth_el_amor_adulto_en_la_pareja.shtmlPublished in www.constellations.ie with Brigitte Champetier’s authorisation.