So, a wonderful member of our community wrote to us this week and talked about how her relationship has reached the stage in which; ‘we continue to peel back the onion and reveal a lot more of our deepest thoughts and feelings’.
This is a huge moment of celebration in any relationship. The sad thing is, if we don’t embrace it and recognise this moment for what it is, we can be really put off and feel like things are just going wrong.
Let’s look at this more closely. Onions are tricky things to peel, aren’t they? Anyone who’s ever tackled onions whilst preparing food, knows just how tricky!
At the beginning, that whole onion looks so perfect, with its glossy, shiny skin – just like the wonderful first flush of being in love, when everything’s brilliant and beautiful.
Crunch time, a few months into the relationship, and the skin comes off. Then we find that there’s usually a sticky, spongy layer just underneath the surface too, which needs to be peeled back – we hit that point with our partner when our issues reach the surface, and we have to stay focused – we need to navigate those moments when things get really real, and for many of us that’s terrifying.
As the relationship continues to grow, the layers continue to come off.
Sometimes the layers are thick, and they can really make your eyes sting. Other times those layers are lighter, sweeter, less effort.
Just like an onion, our relationship journey undulates, it’s not uniform in shape, and just like an onion, those sweeter, softer moments almost always follow the tougher, more resistant ones.
We learn that to tackle those tough, sticky layers, we need to lean into the onion, apply a little more pressure, stay focused. When the softer layer arrives just underneath, we can back off and soften again… it’s actually pretty easy.
Relationship layers are very much like an onion. The trick is to recognise when to lean into them, and when to soften and really enjoy the ride. And, it’s really helpful to remember that when we hit a tough layer, it’s because we are headed towards a much sweeter, more loving place.
Just as there’s something satisfying about peeling that onion, there’s so much to be gained from moving through the layers of depth in our relationships. Those deeper layers are where the juiciest, sweetest parts in us all reside. Sharing what we keep close to our hearts with the person we choose, honouring our ‘layers’ as they surface, these are some of the most precious experiences that we can have in life. In a relationship they are the juice and the glue. They strengthen our bond, our ‘we container’. They anchor us in rough times, and give us safe port in life’s storms.