Partnership as a "Way with Heart"
... Is it a way with heart?
If it is, the way will be good; if it is not, it will be useless.
Both ways lead to nowhere, but one of them is the way of the heart, and the other one is not.
On the first one the journey will be full of joy, and as long as you follow, you will be at one with it.
The second one will make you curse your life.
The first one will strengthen you, the second one will weaken you..."1
(Carlos Castaneda, The Teachings of Don Juan, p88)
There are people who think that the basic rules of a relationship are already put down in the first 20 minutes, when the future partners meet for the first time. Already in these first moments all the joy that can be experienced in this relationship, as well as all the difficulties and the painful experiences may appear in outlines. It already may become evident where both partners harmonize, where they go together well, where they have the same interests, and where they are different, where there are disagreements and potential conflicts.
And maybe they can take those things that work out fine from the very beginning as strengths whereas they can take those things that seem to be hard from the very beginning as tasks. They can take them as a chance to point out things to his/her partner of which this partner would perhaps not be aware by himself, or where nobody else would force him/her to do something about it.
These "hard matters" may appear again and again only to put the relationship to a test and to make it uncertain. In my opinion these difficulties can only be overcome under pain. It is the pain of letting go of something. For example to let go of a fixed idea that something can only be done in one way and no other. It may be the pain that you are going through when you have to admit that you did something wrong to your partner.
It may be the pain of saying: "I'm sorry, I was wrong although I thought I was right!" This admitting of a mistake and the attempt to try something new from now on can also be seen as some kind of "refining-process".
All the characteristics of a partner that may appear somewhat rough, rude and square at the beginning of a relationship may acquire polish and may "fall off". Maybe this acquiring polish and letting go of fixed ideas is meant by Matthew's 3,12 in the Bible, where it says:
... And he holds his throwing shovel in his hand; he will clean his threshing floor and he will gather the wheat in his barn; but the chaff he will burn with the eternal flame.
What I want to say is that two people may let go of unnecessary things in their relationship like sifting the chaff from the wheat. And this burning of the chaff may of course cause pain.
(Comparison Gottfried Hutter, Auferstehung vor dem Tod, p123 and http://www.resurrection.de)
1 This quotation was translated from german into english by myself and may slightly differ from the original.