How to be Separate Individuals with a Successful Relationship
A topic that is basic to having a successful relationship is individuality: seeing your partner as a complete and separate individual, and honoring and celebrating them for that fact.
This one understanding leads to almost all the other elements of relating without conflict. The source of much conflict is the uneasy feeling that you are both adversaries, a feeling which arises from the lack of safety and complete trust in a partner. But once you have affirmed that you and your partner match in the area of core values, you can practice a respect for the other and an understanding that although you are both there to support each other as completely as possible, this does not involve changing or altering the other person.
How your partner stacks the dishes or parks or balances their checkbook is just how they do it; if their way is different, why would you want them to change? There are many reasons you may be tempted to do so. Maybe you are convinced your way is best. Maybe you feel they need to be taught the correct way, as you would a child. Maybe you see a different way as a criticism of your choice. Whatever your motivation, it can at first be hard to resist the attempt at control. But the benefit of doing so is enormous. Just imagine that they have given you the same freedom.
When your partner is not trying to change you, not being a back seat driver to your behavior, and you know for sure that you will not be attacked or pressured, you have the opportunity to relax into a free expression of yourself. When you can accept this gift by relinquishing the oughts and shoulds in your head and looking beyond them to see what you want, it leads to a state of peace that is unimagined until experienced.
When you know your essence is not being assailed it brings out not only peacefulness, but a knowledge of trust and support. You will be able to celebrate the difference by enjoying how you and your partner express the same core values through two very different personalities. You will share an intimacy which is colored by the knowledge that you are both on the same side and that mutual solutions are the goal for both of you. This way of being together creates a delectable sense of freedom and intimacy that we encourage you all to explore.