conscious loving

Conscious Loving: 9 Keys to Building a Sustainable Passionate Relationship

The ability to bring conscious loving into a relationship makes all the difference between having a so-so, “it works” relationship and one that truly makes your hearts sing over the long term. Being in a consciously loving relationship doesn’t mean everything comes up roses all the time. Quite the opposite in fact. 

Real human relationships, even truly authentic ones, get messy. Hurt feelings happen. Unconscious behaviors show up. Regrets arise. Real relationships are definitely imperfect, especially when you share a soul-to-soul connection. Given that all relationships will struggle, given that you can’t avoid upsets (and stay in love), you must learn the art of conscious living and loving. The level of consciousness each person holds, combined with each one’s capacity for love, will determine the happiness and sustainability of the partnership. 

Maybe even more importantly, when two people live and love consciously, if they happen to realize their partnership isn’t destined for forever, their commitment to consciousness will ensure a healthy completion and ending of their relationship. That consciously navigated ending will allow each person to move on with a healed heart, genuinely available for their next loving connection, instead of suffering repeatedly with a walled off heart and threads of resentment that sabotage future romantic potential. 

Knowing what conscious loving looks makes possible, let’s look at what it means. 


What does conscious loving mean?

At its essence, conscious loving means you love with authentic presence. It means you love intentionally. In consciously loving relationships, you know and embrace the fact that both people will make mistakes. You also each realize that your ability to consciously clean up and repair hurt feelings, misunderstandings, and natural human imperfection – with forgiveness and compassion – has everything to do with your individual happiness and peace of mind, as well as the sustainability of the love you share. 

In conscious loving relationships the quality and continuity of the connection matters deeply to both people. With that, conscious couples cultivate connection over and over again. They ensure that the space between them remains clear of unresolved hurts, upsets, resentments, disappointments, judgments and anything of the sort. Instead, they value themselves and each other just as they each imperfectly are. They love as close to unconditionally as possible.


9 keys to conscious loving

Let’s dive in more deeply to explore the nine key practices that those in conscious connection practice (even if they’re on their very first date).

1. Never assume you know your partner. When it comes to conscious loving we meet every moment newly. That means meeting our partner freshly in every moment too. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been together for decades. Your partner, in this moment, is a different person than they were this morning. They have had new experiences and they have surely changed. It may be ever so subtle over the course of a single day, yet over the course of a month, a year, a decade, your partner will not be the same person. Don’t assume they are and please don’t try to make them fit your molded image. 

    You too are different than you were before. You have evolved, as has your partner. One of the great expressions of conscious loving happens when you meet each other with innocent curiosity, beyond assumptions, each time you come together. This kind of meeting in the here and now offers a rare and generous love. Ask each other questions, learn about each other over and over. Every. Single. Day. 

    2. Make authenticity a “rule”. While society would have us believe differently, authenticity rests at the core of every strong sustainable relationship. Love begins and ends with authenticity. it’s impossible to fully love someone that isn’t being authentic. Who are you actually attempting to love? When two people have the courage to be genuinely authentic with each other, this automatically sets the foundation for the most conscious relationship they could ever share. As a matter of fact, making authenticity the rule in conscious loving means that you have the safest relationship possible. When you commit to authenticity neither partner has to question or wonder how the other one feels. They never have to doubt whether their partner actually wants to be in the relationship or wants to be making love, for that matter. Authenticity means that we can relax and trust. And nothing could be more important in conscious loving.

      3. Communicate intentionally. We’ve used the word intentionally a few times now and it couldn’t have more meaning than when it comes to communication. Too many couples when going through rough moments will experience one partner or the other shutting down, withdrawing, hiding, placating, blaming, or defending, among a myriad of other strategies that only serve to separate the two further. Communicating intentionally means that you care as much about listening and hearing as you do about speaking and being heard. You also realize that words offer only imperfect representations of our actual experiences, especially experiences of the heart. Conscious loving means that you communicate with each other in a way that always intends to unite over separate. Every human being wants to be, to feel, seen and heard and that’s exactly what conscious communication in relationship offers and delivers.

        4. Embrace conflict. If two people commit to authenticity in a relationship, which is highly recommended, then those two will have upsets, guaranteed. No two souls are the same. No matter how aligned the two are, they won’t see eye to eye on everything. Their needs will conflict at times and that’s ok. You just need to know what to do about it. 

          Beyond the commitment to authenticity and intentional communication, we all exist as human beings with egos that regularly navigate past hurts and personal insecurities. We all have these wounds and triggers, and in their presence, or better said, in their activation, we will often “go unconscious”. In that, we will do things that, in hindsight, we wish we hadn’t. Even the best of us will occasionally say something hurtful and immediately regret it. What you do in those moments matters immensely. 

          Those couples who practice conscious loving commit to embracing the inevitable conflicts that show up in their relationship. They commit to practicing these keys to conscious loving, particularly in moments of upset. They know, or have come to know through inner work and past challenges, that if they don’t tend to an upset in a timely way, it will fester and turn into resentment. Then those resentments make future  upsets appear so much bigger than they actually are. Little things become big things when we don’t embrace conflict. 

          For those couples who might have a “conflict avoider” among them, this basically guarantees the presence of unspoken and unresolved hurts, upsets, pains, and resentments in their relationship. When a couple starts to practice conscious loving, they commit to clearing and resolving those old and outdated upsets so that the space between them becomes unobscured and they can once again rest in the deepest of loving intimate connection. 

          5. Own your part. Speaking of upsets, conscious loving couples always remember that, as they say, it takes two people to Tango. When upsets happen the response that frequently feels the easiest, the most righteous, and even the most empowered usually arises from looking exclusively at how your partner caused the problem, AKA blaming. Unfortunately the habit of blaming disempowers the one blaming and also sabotages the potential for resolving the upset quickly. No situation in a relationship, no matter how clear it might seem to the mind, was created by only one of the two partners. Ever.

            If you want to stay in conscious loving connection, then you’re invited to find the courage, humility, and commitment to look for, to actively seek, and understand your part in any of your relational dynamics. If you come to your partner consciously admitting your contribution to a challenge the two of you face, your partner will find themselves much more likely to drop their defenses, resistance, or blaming and also admit their part. This puts you together on the fastest path to not only keeping the space between the two of you unobscured, as we talked about previously, it also offers the fastest path to repair and reconnection.

            6. Put yourself first. Contrary to common myth, always putting your partner first is not a genuine expression of love. Making your partner’s needs, wants, and desires, even their peace of mind, more important than your own needs, wants, desires and peace is an act of self abandonment, not an act of love. The well known Dr. Margaret Paul tells us that self abandonment is the number one destroyer of intimate relationships. 

              Too often we put the other first because we’re afraid that if they get upset, they will leave us. At other times we avoid telling the truth to our partners in order to keep the peace, in order to avoid conflict. But, we already know what happens to couples who avoid conflict. Of course, it’s certainly ok to sacrifice something you desire once in a while in favor of your partner. Making a habit of it tells another story. 

              Not putting yourself first consistently means that, in your abandonment of yourself, you cause more damage to the relationship. This habit that tries to keep the relationship together actually threatens its sustainability more than being rawly honest with each other ever could. As we said, authentic relationships are the safest relationships

              7. Create polarity. Attraction, at the beginning of a relationship and throughout it, rests on the fact that energetic polarity creates a magnetic force that draws, and keeps, two people together in partnership. For most couples, it also ignites sexual desire. Yet, today’s modern world has told us that in romantic connections we need to ignore, or see beyond, our “gender differences”. Misunderstanding and denying our innate differences will serve only to damage, not improve, a relationship. 

                Society has actually conditioned masculine beings to be more like feminine beings and feminine beings to be more like masculine beings. The net effect neuters or neutralizes romantic attraction and sexual chemistry. So at least for conscious romantic relationships, each individual will want to understand their innate and authentic expression of masculine and feminine energies within themselves. They will want to understand and honor these energies in their partner as well. With this understanding and embodiment, the partners will have mastery of attraction that sustains their loving in heart, body, and spirit over the decades.

                8. Develop your sexual identities. Speaking of attraction and chemistry, a happy lasting romantic relationship will have some form of sexual interaction. Unfortunately, when we’re not practicing these keys to conscious loving, for example when we’re not embracing conflict and being authentic, sexual attraction will often quickly disappear. Couples who haven’t  been physically intimate for long periods of time often argue about the difference between making love and having sex. This argument again often correlates with the misunderstanding of masculine feminine energies and their unique needs, desires, and turn-ons. 

                  When a couple wants to maintain their sexual connection it means that each partner needs to first understand their own authentic sexual expression. They need to develop, claim, and learn to genuinely express their unique sexual identities. Bringing authenticity to sexuality has the capacity to ignite indescribable passion and deep union on innumerable levels.

                  9. Play together. This key matters immeasurably regardless of whether we’re talking about conscious living or conscious loving. “Play” plays a critical role in our well-being and our happiness, even to our vitality. In today’s modern masculine-oriented world, our attention is driven towards accomplishment and doing. Busyness has become a badge of honor and leaves little room for the essential element of fun in our life and in our relationships. We realize in conscious loving that working through and navigating our challenges absolutely creates a glue that deepens the bond and increases the sustainability of a connection. On the path of Soul love we refer to this by saying “challenges and conflicts become connection and communion,” if we embrace them. Yet, if we focus only on working through the hard moments in a relationship, the love will still likely fade. 

                    So, in addition to engaging in conscious conflict, the other deeply bonding experience that healthy couples share happens through playing together – and playing includes much more than just what happens in the bedroom. Play means having fun and laughing together. It even means being silly together at times. You and your relationship will benefit from remembering to not take life too seriously all the time. Our hearts and bodies thrive on laughter. So you’re invited to cultivate play in your life and in your relationships, especially your romantic ones.


                    Choose and choose and choose again 

                    Here you have the bonus and most essential key to sustaining your romantic connection. Never become the victim of it. Victim is a strong word, yet at its essence it means powerlessness and that means we feel as if we have no choice. To sustain loving intimacy, you must always feel and know that you have a choice. Anytime we stay in a relationship because we have to, true love cannot exist. Period. End of story.

                    Therefore, you are invited every single day, every single moment, to remember that you have a choice. You always have choice. Even when it seems we are trapped, if we truly look, if we ask for help (which is sometimes needed to create possibility) we will always find choices. We may not always like the options, but remembering we have them matters. 

                    So choose your relationship, choose your partner, over and over again. If you can’t or don’t want to choose your relationship or your partner, this offers a strong indicator that you and your partnership need support. You’re encouraged to seek it. So many relationship challenges that seem impossible, merely need loving attention. And love can return in full force.


                    As you practice integrating these 9, truly 10, keys to conscious loving, you will find a three step approach most supportive and efficient. Start, as we mentioned in key 5, by looking at your role, your part, in the conscious and unconscious dynamics that play out in your current or past relationships – or in your romantic connections if you’re dating. Resist the likely strong temptation to evaluate your partner or past partner’s capacity to be consciously loving.

                    The most transformative way forward comes from your courage to honestly reflect on how well you embody each of these practices. This happens as part of the Ecstatic Authenticity phase of the Soul Love journey as we call it. Here you discover who you are, what matters to you, what you’re great at and what you’re not so great at. Then, as you strengthen this inner connection, you can bring your imperfect self fully to your romantic connection.

                    Once you’re grounded in embracing and loving yourself – your consciousness and your unconsciousness – you move into the Ecstatic Intimacy part of the journey where you work through the challenges together, deepening your love every time. But remember, you can’t work things out together if you’re not owning your contribution to what’s happening between you.

                    Finally, once you practice conscious loving together consistently, you open the door to the third Ecstatic Ecstasy phase of the journey. Here you revel in the power of divine union.

                    The question we’ll leave you with… Do you have the courage to be conscious?


                    *At Ecstatic Intimacy, an all-inclusive website for singles and couples, we welcome all sexual orientation(s), gender(s) and relationship expressions. In this article we utilize the pronouns he/she/him/her.

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