Relationships: Prepared for Committment

Serious about your relationship?  Ready to commit to it?

Early preparation.

Generally, parents are our role models for our own choices and behaviours in future relationships.  Where they are functional,  we can learn to be functional,  where they have dysfunction,  we learn dysfunction.  Ideally their example teaches us respect for ourselves,  good self esteem,  and a flexible and adaptive means of communicating and negotiating with others.  Even with the best will in the world,  however,  if positive aspects are absent from the role relationship,  they will not be instilled as values.

How then do I balance myself?  How do I learn the values to help me cope with my future relationships?  In working with clients my basic map for them consists of 1) Who and where they are.  2) Where do they want to be?  and 3) what prevents them from being there.  Here are the required factors needed within the objective – relationship.  By asking these of your partner and providing them equally,  the relationship can find a solid foundation.

I depend on you to tell me whenever you feel mad – sad – glad – scared

I depend on you to treat me with dignity

I depend on you to protect yourself from unnecessary harm

I depend on you to be honest with me in significant matters

I depend on you to keep your word – make agreements and keep them

I depend on you to cherish me – cherish yourself – cherish us together

I depend on you to respect yourself – love yourself – care about yourself

I depend on you to tell me your history so I can know you more fully

I depend on you to listen to me when I talk about myself

I depend on you to not take things personally when I talk about myself

I depend on you to be supportive of me when I am hurt – confused – lonely – tired – stressed

I depend on you to respect that we are different,  and that it is okay that we are different.

I depend on you to be patient with me when I don’t fully understand

I depend on you to support my efforts in personal growth and knowledge

I depend on you to experience difference as okay – not as right or wrong

I depend on you to ask when you do not know, do not take me for granted

I depend on you to take care of yourself,  not rely on me to protect you

I depend on you to play (physically,  emotionally,  intellectually,  socially,  spiritually)

I depend on you to learn (be curious,  grow,   challenge, stretch,  do new things)

I depend on you to reach out to me on purpose – find out how I am – talk to me

I depend on you to be open about yourself – do me no harm

I depend on you to grow with me in our lives together, and for our future also

We are responsible first for our own wellbeing,  and secondly for each others.  We are not respecting a partner who we take first responsibility for – that results in our protecting them by failing to inform.  Give your partner every right you desire for yourself – if you would feel affronted by the loss of a right,  so will they.  Love isn’t all feeling.  It often involves doing the right thing for a partner despite periods where feelings may be lacking.  If you feel this, admit it to yourself,  revisit your contracts and dependencies together.

Love is enhanced by the fallow periods,  your constancy and dilligence are rewarded by adhering to these principles.



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2 responses to “Relationships: Prepared for Committment

  1. samronsilva

    Good point Gina, children of functional parents do have healthy marital relationships. Ours (Indian ) are mostly so. It’s not always about love. Its about care and understanding.

    All those beautiful suggestions normally happens in such families even without teaching it to them. It becomes instinctual with them to do so.

    But can the partners from dysfunctional family backgrounds adopt it wholly? Its a long list to follow and they have to follow it intellectually rather than instinctually . Could there be other methods as well, to bond, resolve differences, and tide over difficulties in marital life?

    • ginatoaster

      Of course, learned actions are more solid than those we have to think about, however, if something matters to us we make time for it. Learning from mistakes and earnestly practicing what we believe in becomes stronger with time. Effectively, the main difference between learning in childhood and learning in adulthood are simply that we learn easier as children, have adopted fewer bad habits, and have to appreciate that change is a better attitude that paralysis from guilt. When something becomes habitual it becomes easier and more natural to do. We are capable of change at any age and do ourselves a disfavour if we give up on ourselves. or those who love, effort is never too much, and love is the best motivator to change for the good. I’m always open minded enough to seek out new ways and means, but so far I’ve found no incentive greater than love.

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