One of the key characteristics of our relationship is a deep respect for the separate individuality of the other person. We both have a very strong sense of our identities. Neither of us would be comfortable letting go of or changing our inner person. We would not respond favorably to being told how to act or how to be. As a result, we do not try in any manner to alter, reform or impinge upon the other. We do not push, pull or adjust who the other is or should be. And yet, we have opened ourselves up to a deep merging union with each other.
Furthermore, we take pleasure in seeing such autonomy in action. We honor and celebrate the difference. We feel enriched by another person who is actually different; has a different thought pattern, history and a different way of expressing things.To grant such autonomy to the other needs trust. This is something that was assumed in the beginning, then confirmed over a period of time. This confirmation is found not in small things like remembering to pick up milk, but through a consonance of meanings and values: how do we see other people, and how do we treat them? Once these values are seen to be aligned, differences are not threatening or disturbing, and we can relax and revel in the uniqueness of the other. We have shared our deepest inner places and have at the same time retained two totally independent and separate lives. As these mesh more and more, we continue to be present as two whole individuals, even as we deepen in our union.
Secrets of a Successful Relationship Revealed pgs. 15 – 16