For a long time I thought that a relationship, especially a soul mate relationship was meant to complete me. The idealized version of the one big love was that all of my wonderful light qualities would be reflected back to me through my partner.
What a shock when I found out the opposite was actually true. More often than not it was my shadow side – or the part of me that I am less than in love with – that showed up in my partner.
Love is like that and relationships are definitely like that. While we wish for the ideal it is often all things unlike the ideal that appear. This is why a soul mate relationship is really a very 'big love' relationship because you need to sincerely love yourself a whole lot to love your partner and yourself exactly as you are.
How many of us go into a relationship with expectations and dreams of how wonderful it will be? And yes, a lot of the time it is wonderful – but certainly not all the time. It is those times when the relationship is difficult that we do indeed grow. That is the point of a 'soul mate' relationship – to grow at the level of your soul.
Embracing the relationship as it is – letting go of expectations of how it should be – this is the stuff of 'spiritual growth' and the path of true love.