Bette Cundiff

Sucessful Relationships

By Bette Jean Cundiff*
[as it appeared in the February 2011 Newsletter]

Reprinted with permission from her book “Hand in Hand-Recovery and Miracles”

Ah, sweet mystery of life — finding that perfect mate who matches your personality, who emotionally and sexually fits like a glove and who is committed to you through thick and thin for always! To be able to unravel that mystery unfailingly would be worth, well, more than is imaginable.

Finding the perfect mate in a world of imperfect personalities seems highly impossible and the journey just a touch risky. But, oh, how humanity struggles on. Perhaps a reality check is in order.

Let’s start with a few points to remember:

1. Perfection is in the eye of the beholder.
2. You see only what you want to see.
3. When depressed you actually look for a bleak world, and when enthused you look for upliftment. You find just what you are looking for.
4. The see-saw of unstable emotions will create an unstable environment.
5. How can anyone seem perfect if you are constantly seeing them mutate according to your own shifting emotional state?

Finding the perfect mate under these conditions demands a stabilizing of your own emotions. Psychic shock absorbers are going to be a necessity.

In my classes and counseling sessions I consistently need to review the Deadly Cycle of devolving focus into problems rather than solutions, and then once again review the alternative called the Healing Cycle of acceptance, forgiveness and peace. Go back to the sections in this book to review this if you have forgotten what they are about. This practical, step by step process can help anyone stop rocking his or her emotional boat. From this placid position the world and the people who surround you can be seen with clarity and serenity.

Surprise, surprise! Clarity brings insight followed by appropriate decisions. And the individuals who come into your life can be experienced accurately. Acquaintances, friends and lovers will fall naturally into the right categories. No more stretching and squeezing yourself into relationships that simply don’t fit – everything is now customed sized.

Let’s define intimacy not as action and behavior, but instead as attitude. What will make successful relationships? The right attitude!

To be open means being willing to look at the issues within yourself – to look inside and say to yourself, “What needs to happen here? The buck starts and stops here and I am the one ultimately responsible.”

Most of the time our breakdowns will be from not looking at who we are, how we feel, and what we need to do. We tend to focus on everyone out there. Earlier, (in my book) we talked about the Deadly Cycle and the need to project guilt out and find fault in others. We just love to say, “If they would just fix themselves we could have a great relationship!”

It just doesn’t work that way. We must start with ourselves. This means willingness to look at our own issues with courageous clarity – to be truly open.

Here is the willingness to bring all of your hidden concerns, fears, as well as your dreams, up for discussion with your partner. This may include your spouse, a friend, or family member, or an associate at work. And to bring these issues up honestly – not to walk around the edges, but to be clear and concise and to tell what you mean without blame.

Remember the first secret is looking at yourself and acknowledging your own emotions and needs and desires, as well as your own breakdown areas.

Be honest discussing this with your relationships. Share your desires, your needs and your requests. Don’t spend time blaming yourself and certainly don’t find fault with your partner.

For intimacy to succeed it is really important to like the other person.

We will look more closely at this secret in the next section on the components of a successful marriage. But for now just remember that you need to like the person, not necessarily agree with or approve of their behavior and actions all the time. But it is important to like the person.

Here is a spin on the Golden Rule. Like others just as you would like to be liked.


Sharing — to give and receive freely in your relationship. No game playing, hidden agendas, power plays, and no psychological accounting being done to make sure that what is given is received in fair share.

Too often relationships seem to work only if an unspoken bargain is kept meticulously. When one of the partners doesn’t show just the right amount of affection, or agree with the other’s opinions, or heaven forbid, enjoys the company of other friends, the bargain seems broken and the relationship on the rocks.

Sharing is giving fully because giving is enjoyable in and of itself. It’s as simple as that.

Respect your partner and free them to make his or her own decisions without your interference. Allow them to succeed as well as fail in their own process of growth. This is how we all learn and we can’t do it for others. We can’t fix things for others.

It is our responsibility to learn the appropriate boundaries for ourseslves and others — and then respect them!

Now here is when you get a chance to actually give advice or actually do something concrete to help your partner. But guess what? You don’t do it until you are asked!

Don’t intrude your advice or help into a situation in which it is simply not wanted. When someone shows you in some way that they want your help, then you can involve yourself. They must give you permission first.

The challenge is not to be attached to your advice. Remember to share without identifying with your advice or help. Through prayer and meditation you can find that powerful place within yourself that frees you to be spiritually detached – loving, helpful when appropriate — and not feel hurt if your advice is refused.

Appreciate all the efforts your partner makes toward the success of your relationship.

There are only two messages sent, no matter what is really said.

1 – “I am helping in the only way I know how”.
2 – “I am frightened and confused and need help”.

Make the effort to hear these messages hidden within your conversations, and they will then elicit from you a sense of gratitude and love which you will want to share.

Remember, say “thank you” often!

And by the way, how about creating real healing for yourself too?

Will you be open and honest with yourself?

Will you like yourself and share freely, not denying yourself what you need and desire?

Will you respect your own boundaries and help yourself whenever you need to?

And will you thank yourself for all the efforts you make to heal yourself and your world?

If you do apply these Seven Secrets of Intimacy to yourself the world will see the light of love and forgiveness shining brightly through you.

“HAND IN HAND ~ Recovery & Miracles: Companion Book to Side by Side the Twelve Steps and A Course in Miracles”  


 * Bette Cundiff has been a teacher of A Course in Miracles since 1977 and has traveled throughout the US, Canada and Australia setting up conferences which teach about forgiveness. She is author of the internationally recognized children’s version of A Course in Miracles, “The Children’s Material” and has also produced a full miracles course in a novel for the young reader “Help is on the Way!”. In addition Bette is author of “Side by Side, the Twelve Steps and A Course in Miracles”. Many of her books have been translated into Spanish.

Here is Bette, in her own words:

In 1976 a powerful light filled ‘voice’ impressed onto my mind wonderful thoughts that I could not help but write down. Writing books naturally followed. Over the years this Guiding Light has occasionally assumed a sense of personality, but no matter, I knew the wisdom given to me came from That which fills us, directs us and of course loves us all. For more than thirty years I lectured around the world on spiritual psychology, comparative religions, spirituality, A Course in Miracles, the Twelve Steps and co-dependency recovery and so much more. From that time on, studying, sharing, starting up study groups globally, and writing about what I had learned and what was ‘given to me’ through inner guidance has been my passion.