Couple relationships have to do with life. Life is passed on through the couple relationship. From where do couples receive life? Does it belong to them? Or does it only flow through them? It flows through them, from afar.
Regardless of how the man and the woman are as individuals, life flows through them in its fullness. Man and woman pass the full life on, as they received it from their parents, and as their parents received it from very far away.
So, life is not dependent on how the father and the mother of a child are in any other regard. From this perspective parents must look differently at their children. With awe. The child looks at the parents, and it looks right through the parents, into the distant past, there where life originally comes from. When the child takes its life from its parents, it does not only take it from its parents, but at the same time from afar.
Therefore, all parents are right. Seen like this there are no better or worse parents. There are just parents. Once we recognize this and also submit to it, we realize that through our parents, the full life is there for us.
But when we internally reject one of our parents, when there are things we hold against them, we close our heart to the fullness of life. Then we only get one half of it, or more precisely, we take only one half. Nevertheless, we are still defined through our parents in a specific way.
The tree of life
I have before me the image of a tree. In autumn the wind blows and scatters the seeds. One seed falls on fertile soil, another falls on rubble. Each seed must develop where it has fallen. It cannot choose the location. In the same way we can’t choose our parents either. They are the place where our life sprouts and grows.
Now whether a seed of a tree has fallen on fertile soil or on rocky ground, how ever it grows, it becomes a real tree. And it also bears fruit. Its seeds are scattered again, and the seeds from the same tree grow differently at different locations. In order to grow, we must therefore agree to the place we are bound to, no matter what kind of a place it is. Whether it has ‘advantages’ or ‘disadvantages’, every place forces us into a special development. If offers special opportunities and poses special limitations. But life as such is equally pure and untainted in one place as in any other.
The whole of life
Now I will apply this to the couple relationship. A child is born to a couple. In the child man and woman unite and become parents. Now some mothers want the child to take after them, and some fathers want the child to take after them. What happens in this moment? The child’s life is not respected. For the way its life comes through the father it is right, and the way it comes through the mother it is right. When a couple has really understood that, then in his child the father also loves life as it comes through the mother, and in her child the mother also loves life as it comes through the father, with all the particularities that either of them have.
This is humble. Respecting life as it comes from our partner, we bow to life as a whole. When a husband says, life as it comes from me is better than life as it comes from my wife, he takes life into his hand as it were. He believes he has life as something personal and he rises above life. This harms his soul. It harms the couple relationship. It harms the child.
Bert Hellinger, Help for the Soul in every day life.