Promises take flight from our lips like migrating birds. Many times, without comprehending why--simply determined to reach a safe, familiar harbor where warmth and sustenance can be found.

Assurances are exchanged like goods. Offers to provide unconditional love, constant happiness, security, safety, and, that which we may not even be capable of. We hope to give what we believe the other needs. Not realizing that what we offer is often our own greatest need.

No one goes in believing they may disappoint. Err. Wound.

The truth is, love leaves you completely open to the potential for pain.

Why can't we simply enjoy what time we have together? Why can't we like children, laugh, play and live lightly? Why can't we put past pains and grief behind us?

We all have someone who raised, guided, or provided insight into life early on. Even those without parents. These 'guides' may have been supportive and kind, thoughtful and intentional, irritable and callous, cold and distant, or at worst...monstrous. Albeit, human. It is the one flaw we all share. We are human.

That which is bestowed upon us (or the lack thereof) early in life has a profound impact on the nature of our interactions and how we function in relationships. Especially the most intimate ones. Some of us jump in feet first with reckless abandon--only to find that there are sharks swimming below the surface. Others walk the shore alone, maybe joining paths briefly with a fellow traveler, but going on to live in a state of wonder as to what could be. Ever noncommittal, yet hopeful. Some simply sit on the sand bundled up, admiring the beauty from afar. Maybe content with a life of self-partnership. Some walk hand-in-hand, looking forward and not back. Knowing that despite the ever-changing weather, together they can battle what may lie ahead.

Like our Mother Earth, relationships are riddled with sunshine, storms, rainbows, and even life-threatening tornadoes for some. Each of us has a different animal instinct when it comes to dealing with conflict. Some of us want to get closer--in attempts to feel reassured. Some retreat and pull away--as they cannot handle the depth of emotion. Some seemingly don't take it seriously and pretend there is no problem--a mirage to cloak their pain and grief. Yet others lash out, putting up a shield against transparency and vulnerability.

Whatever the impact of the early years of our lives, we are all in a vessel. Simply rowing, simply trying to stay afloat. Simply wanting to be loved.

Conflict can be a message. A lesson. If approached in the appropriate fashion, used as a tool. Conflict resolution can lead us out from sheltering, to set our faces to the warmth of another sunny day.