When The Hearts of Those We Love are Different

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“Two hearts do not have to beat as one, but they have to hear each other’s beat.”

Among all caring and important relationships, there are moments when we experience little to no symmetry with “the other,”  and it hurts.
Despite feeling out of sync, the love in the heart is seldom in doubt.
Partners (including kids,parents, lovers, friends and marriages) manage to work well together in big crises, and in the small matters that keep a relationship humming along.

Other times, while there are deep pockets of love and kindness, we can feel punctured by painful hurt and misunderstanding leading to a sad loneliness.

I don’t know what “incompatibility” means, but it’s a term I hear used a lot to describe discordance, or being out of harmony with each other or even one’s self.

Maybe it has something to do, as a psychic once said about my wife’s and my relationship, with an “energy imbalance,” or rather, each of us having different kinds of energy.

After a good and caring chat over backgammon and coffee, my wife and I began to think that, yes, couples and partners in relationships of all kinds have different kinds of energy.

Could different energies mean that we have different needs? If each of our hearts has yearnings, and seeks wholeness in different ways and with different kinds of experiences and expressions, does that mean each of our hearts are in fact different?

My heart may need to be held more than hers.
Her heart may seek a fuller expression of life and action than mine.

Mine may need emotional experiences to make me feel whole and soothed.
Hers may derive a fuller expression by being engaged by creating a beautiful meal, or a work of art or dancing across a room.

Of course it’s not an either/or state of the heart. The overlays, when they happen, are thrilling and deeply reassuring.
An act of love making, a shared meal or having a similar emotion or feeling at a movie.
Or sunset.

But in those times when the “differences of the heart” hurt, it’s usually because one or the other partner is impatient or frustrated; somehow they are unable to get on the same page. It becomes difficult to make something simple (a trip, a social engagement, etc.) happen easily, with shared excitement and joy.

It’s hard to know why those strange and disturbing moments happen.
I think it’s because we cannot grasp that even though we’re in love with or have partnered with or parented someone, our heart is often different from theirs.

First, there is nothing to fix.
No one is to blame for anything. We are responding to the murmurs of our hearts, which are so very much our own. We may barely even recognize that they are speaking to us.

Borrowing from the Hippocratic oath, I can at least say, the best thing is to “Do No Harm.”

While my heart’s needs and yours may be different in many ways, there is a common, shared overlay of compatibility.
We must try to find it.

And if we can’t, then Do No Harm.
Try to feel your partner’s heart or at least its expression in his/her words and actions.
See them not as contrary, but as expressions of different hearts.

Support them.
Hold those differences in your body.
Feel them.
See how valuable and meaningful they are for your partner. And for you!
Don’t judge them.

No, you don’t have to sacrifice your own heart.
You don’t have to fix anything.
That’s a martyr’s complex, corrosive for both of you.

Listen to your own heart’s message while being aware that your loved one’s heart may be experiencing messages of their own. Two hearts don’t have to beat as one, but they have to hear each other’s beat.

If you are feeling out of harmony in any of your relationships or with yourself, I would enjoy connecting with you to see how we can help hurt less and listen more.

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