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Why is Mutuality Important in Your Relationships?

Two cats sleepingMAUDE: The cornerstone of peaceful conflict-free relating is the practice of mutuality: the certainty that it is possible to find mutual solutions and the act of creating them. This requires the ability to search beyond differences to find the matching values. It requires the desire to understand and honor the needs of the other.

This can be applied in all intimate relationships, and the same principles carry over into larger and larger groups of relationships, your family, friends, community, country, the planet.

Just as it is necessary to believe in and desire mutuality, concomitant aspects are also required: not seeking out argument or division, not being driven by a need to be right, not looking for power dominance over others or always wanting your way (not seeing that the ‘other’ way might actually be the same only dressed up in different details.)

It is easiest to start with those you have an intimate relationship with, those who you know and trust, and with whom you can be vulnerable. Finding mutuality requires being vulnerable, sharing your innermost meanings and values, expressing your needs and desires.

It is for this reason that we espouse spreading peace one relationship at a time. Through the experience of finding and practicing mutuality, you learn the path of unity and union. The more direct knowledge you have of this process, the easier it will be to start applying it to a wider and wider sphere of relating.

The first step on this path of embracing mutuality is to dive into who you are and what your foundational values are. As this self-knowledge develops it will also reveal your needs and desires. Access to this two-pronged information opens up a deeper understanding and respect for the same in others.

Then reach out to the others within your sphere of intimacy and spread this understanding. Look for ways to connect on value, and marvel at how so many other people express the same values in such different ways.

For us, this has been an amazing journey, one we often liken to magic. We have described a process of finding this mutuality; one filled with adventure and revelation. The importance of this discovery is the result of practicing it. Peace can be the living reality of your relationships. We share a relationship steeped in the calm, loving, safe, embrace of this peace. This is not a concept. It is not a goal. It is a way of life and it is available to all who desire it.

PHIL: Maude writes about mutuality in our relationship, and I want to expand on that further. To say that we practice it is to imply some intention and effort, but it is rarely like that. Instead, we flow together without consciously doing anything at all. I imagine a cook and a waitress who have worked together for many years might achieve this same effortless quality. The experience is not one of accommodating each other, of having roles or lists; instead, it is that we each live our own life and also find joy in supporting the other.

I think that a number of things contribute to this. Certainly we fit together well in many areas, like agreeing on the balance between connection and space, and, like most couples, we have interests in common, but it is far more than just a good fit.

We maintain a balance between us without thinking about it because we see our relationship in terms of cooperation, not competition. This balance is much helped by our both being relatively laid back about how things ought to be. You might call this a form of non-attachment.

But I think that most importantly, all of these things come about because we want them and because it is possible to live this way. Even so, the end result is, as Maude says, magical. The elements that make it possible all blend together into a space of peace, love and acceptance.

Photo credit: Maude Mayes

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Phil and Maude’s Friday Feature: Launch of A Global Voice Of Peace

Logo for AGVOP

We’re happy to share the opening of a web site dedicated to global peace. A Global Voice of Peace (AGVOP) is A Hub, A Conduit, Connecting People, and Peace Initiatives World-Wide. Click here for founder Gylian Solay's description of how it came about and visit A Global Voice of Peace.

Successful Relationship Reading Corner


Books on shelfThis week, we wrote about finding mutuality in relationships. Here are some other thoughts on this topic. The first link is both academic and perceptive.

Movement Toward Mutuality "RCT suggests that constructive movement or positive change in relationship (a.k.a., growth) depends on three essential, inseparable factors: mutual empathy, mutual empowerment, and movement toward mutuality"

The 3 core skills that every person needs for healthy romantic relationships "'We may know what a healthy relationship looks like, but most people have no idea how to get one — and no one teaches us how to do so.' That’s what Joanne Davila, a professor of psychology and the director of clinical training at Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, New York, contends in a TEDxSBU talk"

Deciding together: Can we be strong and independent, and yet make mutually satisfying decisions as partners? "What I have witnessed in a lot of unhappy relationships is that two people come together to live a happy life but they don’t know how to establish and maintain a collaborative relationship! So, now that they are together, they bring in to the relationship, their separate individual lives with their independent decision-making styles they have had before their togetherness…"

Spreading peace one relationship at a time
Phil and Maude
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