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Excerpted from Conscious Loving: The Journey to Co-Commitment by Gay and Kathlyn Hendricks. Copyright 1990 by Gay and Kathlyn Hendricks. Excerpted by permission of Bantam Books, a division of Random 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.

"In close relationships, conflict is not necessary or desirable, although it is what most of us know."

Kathlyn and Gay Hendricks, Conscious Loving, Part 2

When we first began to "wake up" we found ourselves mired in many patterns of unconscious loving. Both of us came from dysfunctional families, and in adulthood we had re-created many of their patterns in our own relationships. Unless you are very blessed, you are also trapped in some aspect of dysfunctional relationships. We developed the ideas in this book during our journey to co-commitment. Eventually, an exciting new state unfolded, which we call co-creativity. A co-creative relationship is passionate, productive, and harmonious. We turned the energy that would have been wasted through conflict into creative projects such as writing books, giving seminars and lectures, volunteering for activities, and building a happy family. We found that we had access to much more creativity as a partnership than each of us ever had on our own. Now we have applied the techniques to a substantial number of people in therapy and workshops. We have determined to our satisfaction that, with some intense work on themselves, people can move from co-dependence to co-commitment and co-creativity. Now we want to make the material avail-able to a wider audience.

The Questions that Began Our Search

Our approach to relationship therapy grew out of questions we began asking ourselves many years ago. These are questions that you have no doubt asked yourself, such as: Why are close relationships, which are supposed to be about love, often so painful? What are we doing that causes the pain? What are we overlooking? How can we have more love and less pain? The answers came, not always in the way we expected or in a kindly manner. Sometimes we were so stubborn and resistant to learning that life had to take a sledgehammer approach to teaching us. Ultimately, we got the relationship we wanted, but it was many times better than we ever could have imagined.

Most of us are born into families that are full of conflict or the avoidance of conflict. Both of us came from families in which conflict was always avoided, so we had to learn to acknowledge conflict before we learned to transform it. It is important, however, not to stop there. In close relationships, conflict is not necessary or desirable, although it is what most of us know. In this book you will learn how to resolve conflict effectively and you will find a path that will take you beyond conflict, if you are willing.

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