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Excerpted from Happily Even After by Alan Cohen. Copyright 1999 by Alan Cohen. Excerpted by permission of Hay House, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright by SpiritSite.com.

"Big Love acknowledges that our happiness does not hinge on the actions of another person, but proceeds from a Source deep inside us."

  Alan Cohen, Happily Even After, Part 2

Can this really be the way we were meant to live? Must heart-break and enmity be the natural end products of love? Or is there another way in which we can approach relationship parting that bestows us with strength and empowerment rather than pain and sadness?

Yes, there is. The way in which Carol chose to end her relationship is called "Big Love." The purpose of a Big Love relationship is to open, learn, grow, discover more about who we are, enjoy the unique riches we bring to each other, and expand as spiritual beings. 

Big Love defines the success of a relationship not by the weight of the diamond in an engagement ring or how long the marriage lasts, but by the quality of aliveness we experience while the relationship thrives. Big Love recognizes that how we part is as important as how we were together; that love and harmony are more important than being right; and that mutual support is more vital than sex, romance, or even staying together. Big Love acknowledges that our happiness does not hinge on the actions of another person, but proceeds from a Source deep inside us. No matter what a mate does for or against us, we always have the power to choose love--perhaps not always the romantic love that we were taught to pursue, but a higher and greater spiritual love that endures forever.

Those who practice Big Love understand one crucial principle that is painfully absent in its more popular yet more limiting relative, shaky love: The key to enjoying a better relationship with your next partner is to find healing and completion with the last one, and to appreciate both the joys you shared and what you learned through the challenges. Unless you have come to greater self-understanding through your last relationship, you will most likely repeat it the next time around. Then you'll wring your hands and shout to the universe, "Why is this happening to me again?" Sooner or later it becomes obvious that we do not attract relationship partners by chance. Who shows up depends on who we are, and who we are depends on what we've learned from who we've been. Before we can expand, we must heal.

Happily Even After brings Big Love to life and focuses in detail on what it takes to move from fear and separateness to mutual empowerment. If you are ready to grow beyond struggle, this book offers you a new vision and many tools to live it. In the pages to come; you will meet more than two dozen couples who have found creative ways to love themselves and their former mates, and who have moved on to more satisfying relationships with their exes and, eventually, their new partners. They are real people, just like you and me, who in some cases ascended from the deepest dregs of bitterness and resentment and chose to get on with their lives by cultivating honest appreciation.

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