I recently visited the Mosque-Cathedral in Cordoba, Spain. It is one of the most unique monuments in the world today because it is an example of how humankind from different cultures can co-exist and create something spectacular together. This splendid holy temple was first established in the mid-6th century (hard to imagine how long ago that was) and over the years it has been transformed by many people and cultures. What makes it special is that art and faith from both the Islamic and Christian worlds came together at a special time in history. I marveled at how knowledge, openness, understanding and cooperation could blend in a way that allowed everyone to move about in harmony way back then.
While inside the Mosque-Cathedral, I snapped a photo of a bright light peeking through a beautiful keyhole-shaped doorway. I was drawn to walk toward it – step by step – breathing in the air of curiosity and beauty. I wanted to experience what it was like to make a passage into the unknown and to see where the light would lead me if I opened my heart, put aside my fear and just followed it to the other side. It’s hard to describe the feelings of both curiosity and exhilaration I experienced as I passed through the keyhole door to the other side that opened onto the daylight outside the temple where there were beautiful gardens, birds singing and butterflies everywhere.
I thought about the correlation of my experience that day in this grand temple with what happens in relationships. We should ask ourselves, are we truly seeking to understand and embrace the beauty of our relationship with our partner, or are we constantly looking for and criticizing differences because we feel uncomfortable or threatened by something we don’t understand? Are we seeking to find common ground, or resisting the new thoughts and ideas our partner may offer?
A relationship where two partners think and behave in exactly the same way may make things easier from day to day. But when two partners represent different cultures and are willing to share their love, knowledge and experience, the two individuals can “come alive” together as a couple.
Try blending your unique qualities. You will see that you and your partner can make that passage into the glowing light of the relationship and discover the beauty and joy that awaits you. I say, embrace the differences in your relationship. It works. History has already proven that.