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Romance is the urge to live and the willingness to die for another. Marriage is the urge to possess another.

— Karmayogi

Level 9 Freedom

In relationships at this level disagreements are rare. If they come at all, they come to remind the partners of their complementary natures and individual uniqueness and to bring them even closer together. Partners feel an unvarying and intense goodwill for one another. They have the infinite patience needed to give each other complete freedom to express their differences and individuality.

Harmonious intimate relations are not created by finding the perfect mate. True harmony is achieved when we have the goodwill, tolerance, and patience to accept our partner just as they are without passing judgment or trying to alter or change anything about them. That is only possible if we are willing to give our partner complete freedom to be the person they are without pretense or reservation. Giving freedom to another person, be it lover, spouse or a child, is a demanding challenge. For it can only be done when we are willing and capable of imposing self-restraint on our own impulses. For the moment you react against your partner for any reason, you limit their freedom to be who they are.

Freedom is the greatest gift one human being can give to another. Real growth of human personality only occurs in freedom. In the absence of freedom, people may curb their behavior and conform to our wishes, but that does not change who they really are. When the restraints are removed, they can always revert to their previous behavior. That is why giving freedom to children is essential for true individuality to be born. Giving freedom to another is no guarantee that they will behave the way you want them to. On the contrary, real freedom means the freedom to be just the opposite and accepting them when they are.

Mark & Fanny Robarts (Framley Parsonage)

Misfortune is known to sow disharmony, but it seemed from the day of their marriage that neither misfortune or disharmony was ever likely to touch the lives of Mark and Fanny Robarts. They were an attractive, popular couple who had everything a respectable English clergyman and his wife could wish for. They enjoyed a comfortable income, good neighbors, a houseful of cheerful children, and a deeply affectionate relationship with one another. It might seem natural that people with so much to be grateful for should live peacefully and harmoniously together, but very often that is not the case. More money and greater success often bring disagreements and troubles when prosperity and the good things in life eliminate the need for self-restraint and good behavior.

But Fanny and Mark were not the type to quarrel just because things were going very well. They were known to their friends to be deeply in love. Whenever their wealthy patroness, Lady Lufton, made the mistake of criticizing anything Mark did, Fanny was ready to leap to his defense and slay any number of windmills on his behalf.

Yet a time came when their relationship was sorely challenged. Mark made some foolish loans to an unscrupulous acquaintance, incurred a huge debt and brought the family to the edge of ruin. Worse still, he kept his folly secret from his wife until the creditors were ready to descend on his house to confiscate the furniture and the whole world would come to know about it. Finally resigned to ruin and public disgrace, he approached Fanny and asked her to sit down so he could speak to her on an important issue. Sensing that calamity was at the door, she refused to sit at a distance and listen to his confession. She jumped up, went to his side, embraced him and demanded the right to bear equally whatever misfortune was going to fall on her husband. It is said that true loyalty and affection are more powerful than life. It proved to be true in this case. Within moments, Lady Lufton's son arrived back from Europe and rushed in to settle Mark's debts before misfortune could strike. That is the power of harmony based on total acceptance.

To raise your relationship to a higher level of harmony, see Strategies to Increase Harmony in Your Relationship

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