Building a Foundation for Your Relationship

Sample Set

For whom are these cards designed?
They’re designed for those of us who are interested in building a strong foundation for our relationships. This generally requires an understanding of basic relationship dynamics, and the typical challenges and opportunities that are presented in virtually all the important relationships in our lives.

How to use these cards:

  1. Ask yourself, “What’s the most important issue for me to deal with in my relationship today (or this week, this month)?”
  2. Click on a card and read the description of the theme.
  3. Trust that the message is perfect for you at this time (there are no accidents!).
  4. Take a few minutes to do the exercise. Some of them will require pen and paper, while others can be done in your mind. The exercises are most effective when completed in a relaxed environment, where you have sufficient time to give them your full attention.
  5. Return to this site tomorrow (or next week, next month) and pick another lesson. The cards are shuffled after each pick, so you will likely get a different card. But if you get the same card twice in a row, you may want to more seriously consider the importance of the message.
  6. It is suggested that you only pick one card a day in order to fully digest the information and effects of the exercise.

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Important Info
Reload the page to re-arrange the cards and choose a new random theme.

Being Right

All interpersonal conflicts are sustained by the need to be right.

Being Right

All interpersonal conflicts are sustained by the need to be right.

This theme indicates that you will experience an emotional separation from your partner whenever you try to make him or her wrong. The desire to make your partner wrong is actually instigated by feelings of old pain and guilt coming up inside you. People in relationship will naturally experience deeper and deeper levels of feeling, the longer they are together. Many of these feelings are hurts that are simply part of the human experience. People tend to hold the idea that they must’ve done something wrong in order to be hurt, thus there is typically a feeling of guilt that accompanies human discomfort. When these old hurts arise, in order to protect yourself from feeling the guilt that might attract further punishment, you will protect yourself by making your partner the guilty one. Being right is your ego’s antidote to your guilt. You must notice when it is so important for you to be right, that first, you have to make your partner wrong, and second, you are not happy. By making your partner wrong, you make an enemy and create a battlefield by vehemently holding onto your righteous position, and exclude the potential for true harmony in the relationship. Do you want to hold on to being right in the situation, or do you want to enjoy being with your partner?

No matter how much your intellectual or rational mind supports your position in the conflict, the only reason you are holding on to being right is to protect yourself from your own vulnerability. But as long as you protect your vulnerability, you never get the chance to face it, and see the wonderful power hiding behind it.

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Solitude

In solitude, the spirit can be known; in solitude the voice of the heart can be heard.

Solitude

In solitude, the spirit can be known; in solitude the voice of the heart can be heard.

The message in this theme is that of encouraging you to take time for yourself. Possibly you are facing obstacles or disappointments, and are resorting to more mental or physical activity in order to overcome these. There may be a problem in your relationship which no amount of communication, counselling, analysis or behaviour modification seems to help in any way. Or possibly you are in a situation where there seem to be a number of choices and you don’t see which one is the best option.There is an opportunity here for quiet introspection, introversion, recuperation, and patient waiting.

“In quietness are all things answered, and is every problem quietly resolved.” (A Course in Miracles) Sometimes solitude is required so that you can establish a deeper connection with the wisdom of your soul, and allow it to give you the direction and clarity you require.

Solitude does not come easily to most people, and so a period of being alone may lead to restlessness and then loneliness. Remember that the lonely way is the lighted way, and when the illusion of loneliness dissolves you see that you are never really alone.

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Appreciation

The value of your partner is easy to underestimate, but impossible to overestimate.

Appreciation

The value of your partner is easy to underestimate, but impossible to overestimate.

As you grow in responsiveness and maturity, you get the chance to see that your partner is your teacher of emotional adulthood and true happiness. As such, he/she is endowed with all the gifts and tools necessary to guide you in your growth. This is not to say that your partner is superior to you; he/she is in fact your equal, and if you consciously appreciate all of the gifts that manifest from your partner’s essence,  you will also see those same qualities in yourself.

This theme is encouraging you to more actively give your partner the appreciation he or she deserves. As you consciously do so, judgment and criticism dissolve from your life, and you are less likely to fall into the habit of taking him/her for granted. A greater vitality will fill you, as you grow to recognize who you partner really is!

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Polarities

A battery with only one pole doesn’t work. A person who views life from only one perspective – whether it’s positive or negative – is blind.

Polarities

A battery with only one pole doesn’t work. A person who views life from only one perspective – whether it’s positive or negative – is blind.

Two people in a relationship will tend to take complementary points of view concerning many of the issues that arise. As a problem comes up, usually accompanied by a feeling of anxiety or irritation, one of you will tend to take on a positive point of view. You will want to find a solution right away, deny the severity of the problem, and not want to feel any discomfort around it. In fact you may not be aware of any unpleasant feelings at all. Positive people tend to live by mottos such as: No sense making a mountain out of a mole hill; ignore it and it’ll go away; things will look better in the morning, and; every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better.

As a positive person, you may tend to think that your partner is making more out of the problem then there really is, and even go so far as to believe that the only existing problem is your partner.

If you lean toward the negative side, you will examine many details of the problem, indulge in the negative emotions that come up, and dwell on the impossibility of the situation, possibly being frustrated or even overwhelmed by it’s enormity. You may feel that there is no hope and no way out, and any solution that your positive counterpart proposes will be either not good enough, or will cause other problems. Therefore you have one viewpoint based on denial, dissociation, and avoidance, and the other on indulgence, dramatization, and emotional entanglement. Thus, a dynamic tension occurs in the relationship, caused by the polarization of the two approaches to the problem.

There are many other polarities in the relationship as well, including the introvert/extrovert, thinker/feeler, abstract/logical, and the dependant/independent, to name a few. The opposite polarity is simply the aspect of your humanness from which you fractured in order to become the singular identity that you are. By being willing to walk in the other person’s shoes and comprehend his/her view of the world, you can experience a greater intimacy that dissolves the sense of separation – and sometimes even enmity – with which many relationships struggle.

Problems will cause separation in the relationship when you stop seeing the value in the other polarity. A wonderful transformation occurs when you realize that the other point of view is the other ‘point of you’.

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Pain

In life, pain is a given, while suffering is an option.

Pain

In life, pain is a given, while suffering is an option.

It’s been said that Buddha discovered any evolution or growth in consciousness is typically preceded by a period of pain. Thus he began to see that pain was the liberator of human beings from the trap of this illusionary world. If there were no pain, human beings would never realize that they were living in an illusion. This is a very noble understanding, but it is of small comfort to someone when they’re in the grasp of some deep painful situation in their life. Usually, when the pain surfaces between two people in a relationship, both wish for nothing more than the pain to go away, and will sometimes sacrifice the partner in order to be free of it. It is a human reaction to reject pain and it’s perceived source (the perceived source in this case being your partner!), but in a relationship, pain is actually one of love’s meeting places, the emergence of which signals a time for you to take another step in love toward your partner, and thus grow in emotional maturity. This cannot be done if you reject the pain, because if you reject the pain, your partner becomes your enemy.

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Specialness

Love doesn’t play favourites

Specialness

Love doesn’t play favourites

This theme invites you to take some time in order to examine the purpose of your relationship. Most intimate relationships begin with the overwhelming need to be special, so when you entered yours you most likely wanted to be special to your partner. You don’t want him or her to like being with someone else more than he/she likes being with you. You have to be Number One in your partner’s eyes!

The need to be special will drive you to try and manipulate or control your partner, to ensure you are his/her priority, and that he/she won’t do anything to diminish your stature as a special human being. You will create rules for how your partner should behave and speak privately and publicly, so you are never embarrassed, you are not made to feel insecure or look small, and you are always held in the highest esteem. After all, to be special you have to be at the top of the pyramid, and there’s only room for one at the top.

Thus the drive to be special ultimately leads you into the insecurity of a “cautious relationship” with your partner (and all the others whom you want to be more special than), which can be a very isolating experience. Choosing this theme gives you the chance to see how your endeavours to be special keep ending up in sadness, jealousy, envy, anxiety, and/or disappointment. Is it time to give up the unfulfilling quest for specialness in the name of love?

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Surrender

This too shall pass –  Sufi adage

Surrender

This too shall pass –  Sufi adage

Problems come and go in life. Attacking the situation with judgment and criticism will make a problem even more uncomfortable for you. This theme is provided to support you when there is a situation in your relationship that you are not willing or able to accept as it is. On those occasions, you are likely to make the situation and/or your partner wrong. Often, the most serious issues are concerned with money, sex, children, in-laws, or communication, while other issues such as lifestyle habits, behaviours and physical appearance can be less serious but still uncomfortable for you to live with. Whatever the issue is, the unwillingness to accept its existence in your life will both aggravate and complicate the problem and create a distance between you and your partner, as well as distancing you from the chance for inner peace.

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Responsiveness

Nothing happens in life that is beyond your ability to respond to it, because there is nothing beyond you.

Responsiveness

Nothing happens in life that is beyond your ability to respond to it, because there is nothing beyond you.

To be responsive in your relationship involves not seeking to judge or blame your partner or yourself when conflicts or difficulties arise. Responsiveness is an openness that allows you to see every situation as part of an overall process that is designed to point you to the experience of true happiness. This theme invites you to see that you can respond to your present situation with maturity, power, and the sense that you are, in Truth, greater than any problem the world puts before you.

Whatever happens around you can only be a reflection of what is happening inside of you, and with a peaceful response you can grow in awareness of who you are and what your purpose here is. Responsiveness draws on your capacity for understanding, acceptance, and trust. Reacting to your partner or the situation with blame and judgment will not enhance your responsiveness but rather will maintain your enslavement to your compulsive emotional reactions.

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Risk

If you knew the power you carry within you as you walk on this path of life, fear would be impossible.

Risk

If you knew the power you carry within you as you walk on this path of life, fear would be impossible.

The message in this “risk” theme indicates that you may be stuck in one or more areas of your relationship. This inertia may manifest as boredom, tiredness, deadness, or a sense of being weighed down. You might also experience the frustration of being stuck and not knowing how to get out of this inertia. A good rule of thumb for situations such as this is that taking an emotional risk will open you up to the influences and energies that will uplift you and bring you to a more fulfilling experience in the relationship.

It’s important, however, not to confuse risk with recklessness, which comes from a desperate need to catapult oneself away from the discomfort of the stuckness. Risk comes from the heart. It may be sudden, but it’s not impulsive. In may involve the possibility of losing or giving up something, but it’s not self-destructive. The challenge of risk is in the facing of your own doubts and uncertainties in order to step beyond them, and doing so can certainly give you a sense of who and what you really are.

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