All living things grow and change. This is a basic fact of nature. It includes us as individuals, and our relationships, too. Growth is fostered by both light and dark, sun and rain. Growth comes from the heart, from the willingness to face all that we encounter – not rejecting the darkness, not pushing away the rain.

In facing the dark – that is, in facing the many challenges and problems that arise as a natural part of relating – we grow. In allowing the rain to touch us, rather than demanding that the sun always shine, we grow.

Each time we truly face a difficult situation, whether we succeed or fail, we learn things and we grow. We learn not to repeat a mistake. We learn to do something differently. We discover new strengths and abilities that we didn’t realize we had. We choose better options.

How have you grown by facing challenges and difficulties? What challenges exist in your relationship now? And what personal skills can you learn in facing those challenges?

The card GROWTH suggests that each relationship you have is a “training course” in how to relate. It’s a chance to grow. So, be open to the lessons at hand. Our past training in how to relate was mostly unconscious, taken from parents who had not necessarily mastered healthy relating themselves. We were also told a fairy tale – that relationships should always be free of problems and satisfy all of our needs.

Every time we try to avoid the challenges or difficulties in relationships, we only extend our poor education. In relating, challenges show us exactly what we need to learn. Difficulties show us what we need to heal or transform in ourselves. This card invites you to recognize your challenges and difficulties for what they really are – seeds for new growth!

Unfortunately, we do one thing that seriously impairs our growth: We blame others. In blaming, we don’t see the part we play in a situation. Instead, we look only at what the other person is doing. We view them as the cause of what we think is “wrong.” In doing this, we miss learning the lesson that the relationship is giving to us. We miss our opportunity to learn and grow from that challenge.

The card GROWTH encourages you to face each challenge that comes up. Accept that difficulties are a normal part of all relationships. With any partner, you will get light and dark, sun and rain, better and worse; these are the natural elements for growth.

Rather than viewing difficulties as signs that a relationship is going “wrong,” see them as signs that point toward areas of growth for you. Be assured that in the future, when you look back, each of these signs has the potential to read “I learned something important about relating.”

Even healthy relationships go through times of not having easy answers or quick solutions. It’s important to remember that growth will continue to happen if you’re willing to face whatever presents itself – and resist the urge to reject what feels uncomfortable. In this way, you will find that the sun and the rain are both important sources of nourishment that will further your growth.