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Make Your Relationship Commitment About Intention, Not Obligation

Dolls in wedding attireMaude was describing our relationship as having an element of peace, a lack of anxiety; of there never being any distance between us; that we could trust that no weird thing would suddenly appear between us, that no Jeckyll and Hyde aspect exists.

Phil put it down to commitment, but one of intention and choice, not duty and obligation, so we decided to each write about how we see our commitment and intentions.

PHIL: I want to be in a peaceful relationship, and in order for this to be the case, I choose not to act unkindly. That’s not the same as not expressing my dissatisfaction at times; it means never intending to hurt Maude or feel superior. That is made much easier by seeing her as another human being with feelings that are affected by my choices.

But dissatisfactions are personal; they are mine not Maude’s, so I do not tackle them using blame. Additionally, I find that by looking at the positive aspects of my life, they eclipse many of the would-be dissatisfactions.

Helping all this is trust – the accumulated knowledge of Maude’s good will and good nature, her acceptance of me, and knowing that she also acts as I have described above.

Of course our relationship is made easier by many of our living choices being roughly aligned: politics, travel, how to run a household, personal space. Yet differences are not a problem because we accept them, knowing that they are no hindrance to our commitment to and desire for a peaceful relationship.

MAUDE: My intentional commitments for our relationship are:

  • Doing my part to have a peaceful co-creative life together.
  • Supporting each other’s growth and happiness.
  • To share joy and laughter.
  • Coming from love as the prime value response always.
  • Openly communicating and not withholding feelings or information.
  • To remain aware that we are on the same side.
  • Being honest and truthful.
  • Being faithful in my heart and mind.
  • Imbuing our life together with the highest qualities.
  • To be of service to others and the world, individually and together.
  • Listening, hearing and seeing each other.
  • Knowing that the cup is (at least) half full.
  • Acknowledging grace in our life and feeling and expressing gratitude.
  • Being present with and for ourselves and each other.
  • Continuing to grow and work on myself.
  • Living together without blame or accusation.
  • Practicing kindness.
  • Practicing respect.

This exercise has been a rich experience: revealing, a good reminder and fun! We highly recommend you take some time and try it together. Print your answers out and put them up .where you can look at them every now and then. We think you will get much out of doing this with your partner, as well as close friends and relatives.

Photo credit: Maude Mayes, dolls by Nicole Turofsky

What do you think commitment is? Tell us by clicking here and writing directly on the blog so everyone can read your take on this.
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Successful Relationship Reading Corner


Books on shelfThis week we wrote that a relationship commitment should be one of intention and choice, not duty and obligation. Here are some writers on how to put intention foremost in your life.

Make this “Your Year!” An Intention Setting Guide for Couples and Individuals "A goal is measurable, it places value, either you achieve your goal or you fail (that seems harsh)! It is often born in the rational, 3-D mind, is black or white and can be non-forgiving. Intentions come from within, your deepest desires, the song in your heart and the energy of your soul coming together to create an intention. Intentions are compassionate, forgiving, ever growing, and evolving."

Collaborative Influence "Collaborative Intention: Maintaining a non-defensive presence and making a conscious personal commitment to seeking mutual gains in your relationships. We call this being in the Green Zone, as opposed to being in the Red Zone which is a more adversarial attitude that we can slip into unconsciously. People in the Green Zone consciously seek solutions rather than blame. They think both short-term and long-term. They are interested in other points of view and welcome feedback. The key is remaining conscious of building mutual success. People in the Red Zone respond defensively, which triggers defensiveness in others."

How to Shift From Expectations to Intentions "Shift the way you view the future, and the world around you will shift, too. Setting intentions for your day, your relationship, and your life could be one of the most beneficial things you do to steer yourself in a positive direction. But not all intentions are made equal. If you feel downtrodden, frustrated, or downright disappointed, chances are you have set an expectation—the sneaky cousin of the intention, that is far less forgiving, accommodating, and beneficial to a life well-lived."

Spreading peace one relationship at a time
Phil and Maude
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