- Realistic expectations
We compare a great relationship to a garden. It is alive and in the process of continuous change. It requires our attention and needs to be cultivated to flourish and bear fruit.
This is different to the opinion that intimate committed relationships come naturally and simply depend on finding the right partner.
Just like a shared garden needs a plan, it is helpful to create a shared vision of why and what we want in a relationship. Are we looking in a similar direction with regard to our values, norms and goals? (question of children, upbringing, world-view, diet, form of medicine, religion)
It is also helpful to expect difficulties and view them as opportunities for growth rather than as a threat to the relationship. That helps us to face difficulties in a creative and cooperative manner. We work on our problems together. Constructive change doesn’t take place because we get rid of problems, but because we develop mutual empathy and understanding in response to them.
A way to cultivate the relationship is to spend time together. We identified four ways to do that.
- Times of being productive together, working together (e.g. Cooking, reading, writing, renovating, gardening)
- Times of rest and peace (e.g. Snuggling up, shared bath)
- Times in natural environment with all our senses (e.g. Smelling roses, watching sunset, enjoying views, listening to birds)
- Times to celebrate special events to break routines and create meaning (e.g. Anniversaries); Daily rituals (e.g. shared meals, intimate dialogue) to create rhythm.
A genuine interest in each other is the prerequisite to open up and be transparent. When we open up to each other, truly make ourselves vulnerable, we develop an understanding that deepens our connection and love for each other.
To make ourselves vulnerable means, to be fully ourselves, honest with ourselves and each other, truthful and genuine. We expose places where we hurt, we share our feelings and needs – hopes and dreams, doubts and fears, our insecurities and sensitivities.
Faithfulness is the commitment to honour the sacred trust between partners and develop trustworthiness with each other. This provides a safe container, or boundary and shelter that allows us the freedom to be fully who we are.
We appreciate difference. We don’t try to change our partner to become like us. We honour and respect gender, cultural and temperamental differences and allow different interests, friendships, hobbies, activities.
We explore and consider each other’s love language, ways we each give and receive love. We value our partner’s difference as an enrichment to our lives. This nurtures mutual fondness and admiration. We refrain from judgements, are patient and forgiving when partners make mistakes.
- Allow growth
We view ourselves and our partner as unique and connected to a larger whole. We value each other’s ideas and ideals and support each other to fulfil our potential. We support each other’s spiritual development.
We are willing to reach out for support from friends, family, professionals (e.g. Counsellors, spiritual friend), who respect the relationship. We choose wisely.
Mirjam Busch & Rudolf Jarosewitsch, 5 December 2006
Copyright © 12/2006 by Rumijabu | From Tia Talk, a TV programme, published in “Partners in Dialogue” December 2006