Our most intimate experience of self is often that of what we need, wish for, or want, and so it is natural for us to imagine and hope for what we desire in another.
Sometimes this wishing comes from our better self - the part that knows what we truly need and has higher aspirations for ourselves and others. But sometimes we wish for less than what is good for us, and more of what is comfortable or reassuring for us in the moment.
This dilemma of 'need' and 'want' often gets projected onto relationships in which we want the 'other' to be who we want them to be or need them to be, rather than who they are. When tendencies are strong in this direction, we no longer see another as who they truly are. Rather, we see them through the prism of our own fears and projections. This creates a great burden for relationships, since mutual projections of one onto the other prevent the natural expression and evolution of intimacy and shared growth. They bring the relationship into a more perilous place of trying to satisfy the immediate needs of each person - needs that are not fully disclosed. Such relationships may be considered 'karmic relationships' rather than sacred relationships, (if we are speaking of the consciousness in which they are held, rather than the innate sacredness of every relationship), for they are based on the unconscious needs and fears of each participant, often carried from lifetime to lifetime and projected into each new situation.
Sacred relationships are very different, for they are based on the interaction of two souls with one another who aspire to, and are beginning to have the capacity to share life with each other from the standpoint of the soul.
This soul-perspective is available to each of us, for it is who we are at the most fundamental level. Our soul rejoices in the individuality and uniqueness of each blade of grass, each ray of light, and each individual being. Our soul-self does not need another to restore comfort to us since it is embedded in, and embraced by, the fullness of God's love. This is why, at the level of the soul, we are able to be with others in a freer way, and to set others free to be themselves.
To move to this level of the sacred in our relationships with others is difficult for many because it requires a letting go by the ego - a letting go that cannot be an act of thought or of will, but that is made possible by an anchoring in our relationship with the Divine. Such anchoring, which brings to us an inner source of nourishment rather than an outer, does not mean that we no longer need relationships, but rather that we may seek them for different reasons.
Instead of using relationships to cover our own emptiness or to mask our fear, we can cherish them for the expansion they bring to our hearts and souls and for the richness of life they make possible. Relationships offer an opportunity for sharing love in a very deep way, not only for each other, but for God.
When the heart has become free enough of ego-influences (need-desire-want-fear) to do this, relationships can truly become sacred. For a central aspect of a sacred relationship is the integrity and wholeness that each participant brings to it, and the fundamental root of such wholeness is one's experience as a soul - a part of the Oneness of all that is.
The heart that is free can set others free. The heart that longs for the sacred can begin within each particular relationship to create a sacred life. This is the path to the future, and it is built, step by step, out of love.