Excerpt from Return to Love by Marianne Williamson

THE SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP


“The special love relationship is the ego’s chief
weapon for keeping you from Heaven.”


We can all relate to the desire to find Mr. or Ms. Right
It’s almost a cultural obsession. But according to a
Course in Miracles, the search for the perfect person to
“fix” us is one of our biggest psychic wounds, and one
of the ego’s most powerful delusions. It represents a
notion that A Course in Miracles calls the “special relationship.
" Although the word "special" normally
implies something wonderful, from a Course perspective,
special means different, therefore separate, which ia
characteristic of ego rather than spirit. A special relationship
is a relationship based on fear.
‘God created only one begotten Son’ and He loves
all of us as one. To Him, no one is different or special
because no one is actually separate from anyone else.
Since our peace lies in loving as God loves, we must
strive to love everyone. Our desire to find one “special
person,” one part of the Sonship who will complete us,
is hurtful because it is delusional. It means we’re seeking
salvation in separation rather than in oneness. The only
love that completes us is the love of
God, and the love of God is the love of everyone. That
doesn’t mean that the form of our relationships is the
the same with everyone, but is means that we are seeking she
same content in every relationship: a quality of brotherly love and friend-
ship that goes beyond the changes of form and bodies

110

Just as the ‘Holy Spirit was God’s answer to the separation,
the special relationship was then the ego’s answer
to the creation of the Holy Spirit.’ After the sep-
‘jon, we began to feel a huge gaping hole within us,
most of us still feel it. The only antidote for this is
Atonement, or return to God, because the pain we feel
is actually our own denial of love. The ego, however
tells us differently. It argues that the love we need
must come from someone else, and that there’s one
special person out there who can fill up that hole. Since
the desire for that person actually stems from our belief
that we’re separate from God, then the desire itself
symbolizes the separation and the guilt we feel because
of it. Our search then carries the energy of the separation.
It becomes about guilt. This is why so much anger
often aroused in our closest relationships. We’re projecting
onto someone else the rage we feel against ourselves for
cutting off our own love. Often when we think we are “in love”
with a person, as A Course in Miracles indicates, we’re actually
anything but. The special relationship is based not on
love but on guilt. The special relationship is the ego’s
seductive pull away from God. It is a major form of
idolatry, or temptation to think that something other
God can complete us and give us peace. The ego
tells us that there is some special person out there who
will make all the pain go away. We don’t really believe
that, of course, but then on the other hand we really do.
Our culture has bred the idea into us, through

111

books, songs, movies, advertising, and more
importantly, the conspiracy of other egos. It is the job of the
Holy Spirit to transform the energy of special love from
treachery to holiness.
The special relationship makes other people-their
behavior, their choices, their opinions of us-too
important. It makes us think we need another person,
when in fact we are complete and whole as we are. Special
love is a “blind” love, seeking to heal the wrong
wound. It addresses the gap between ourselves and
God, which doesn’t actually exist but which we think
does. By addressing this gap as real, and displacing is
source onto other people, we actually manufacture the
experience we seek to rectify.
Under the Holy Spirit’s guidance, we come
together to share joy. Under the ego’s direction, we
come together to share desperation. Negativity, how-
ever, cannot really be shared because it is an illusion. “A
special relationship is a kind of union from which union
is excluded.”
A relationship is not meant to be the joining at the
hip of two emotional invalids. The purpose of a
relationship is not for two incomplete people to become
one, but rather for two complete people to join
together for the greater glory of God.
The special relationship is a device by which the ego
separates rather than joins us. Based on a belief in internal
emptiness, is is always asking, ‘What can I get?”,
whereas the Holy Spirit asks, “What can I give?” The

112

Ego seeks to use other people to fulfill our needs as we
define them. Certain voices go on endlessly these days
whether or not “our needs are being met” in a
relationship. But when we try to use a relationship to
serve our own purposes, we falter because we are rein-
forcing our illusion of need. Under the ego’s guidance
we’re always looking for something, yet always
sabotaging what we’ve found.
One of my girlfriends called me one day and said
she had had a date with someone she really liked. The
next week, she called and said he had broken a date
with her in order to go out of town. She didn’t like him
after all. “I won’t take that from anyone,” she told me.
I am ready for a relationship.”
“No you’re not ready for a relationship,” I told her.
“Not if another person isn’t allowed to make a mistake,
you are not.”
The ego had told her to reject the man because she
was ready for a relationship, but what it was really
doing was to make sure she wouldn’t have one. The
ego isn’t looking for someone to love; it’s looking for
someone to attack. Its dictate in love is “Seek, and do
find.” It looks for a reflection of itself, another
mask that hides the face of Christ. In the special relationship,
I’m afraid to show you the real truth about
myself- my fears, my weaknesses- because I’m afraid
that if you see them, you’ll leave. I’m assuming you’re
as judgmental as I am. And I’m also not really jumping
up and down wanting to see your weak spots either

113

because it makes me nervous to think I’m involved with
someone who has them. The whole setup mitigates
against authenticity and therefore against real growth.
A special relationship perpetuates the self Punishing
masquerade in which we all seek desperately to attract
love through being someone we’re not. Although we’re
seeking love, we’re actually fostering our own self-
hatred and lack of self-esteem.
What’s our miracle here? It’s a shift from thoughts
of specialness to thoughts of holiness. Our mental patterns
in regard to relationships are so fraught with
fear-attack and defensiveness, guilt and selfishness,
however prettily disguised-that many times we are
brought to our knees. As always, that’s a good place to
be. We pray for God to guide our thoughts and feelings.
" You can place any relationship under the Holy
Spirit’s care and be sure that is will not result in pain.”