The Five Fundamentals of Peaceful Relationships

The Five Fundamentals of Peaceful Relationships

For the last few weeks, we have been writing about subtle aspects of peaceful relationships. It is now time to describe the five principles for creating peaceful relationships, of which these subtle aspects are a part. These are:

  • Knowing and Sharing Your Core Values
  • Recognizing the Uniqueness of Every Individual
  • How to View and Interact with Differences
  • Finding Total Acceptance
  • A Process for Dealing with Decisions and Disagreements

The most practical way to learn how to apply these is within your close intimate relationships. Once you have that experience, you will be able to take that out into the community, and we hope that eventually, you will also find ways to practice this in all relationships. We will give a brief description of these principles here, and then cover each one in depth in the following weeks.

Knowing and Sharing Your Core Values

We are often faced with conflicting driving forces in life. Some are transient wants; the ice cream we crave today may be replaced by pizza tomorrow.

Some are survival needs like food, water, and shelter, and some are psychological needs like security and status. These are less likely to change.

And some are values; the underlying reasons for your actions and interactions in life. These are your core values. They are felt, rather than being mere ideas. You are not always aware of them, and many people have not thought about what theirs are. These, unlike wants or even needs, rarely change. They may find different expression, but they remain, at your core, the same.

We all moderate our behavior and adopt a persona to fit in with other people, to be accepted, and to attract a partner. This makes it difficult to distinguish between wants, needs, and values, but by reflecting on what your core values are, you can act more according to your true self, or in other words, be more authentic.

The most harmonious relationships are based on people having matching or complementary core values, rather than opposing ones. It can be very helpful to set aside some time to reflect on what yours are, and how you can find ways to express them fully in your relationships.

Recognizing the Uniqueness of Every Individual

People are unique, from the music they like to the way they handle setbacks. At times their behavior is baffling, especially when it affects you. But bear in mind that their genes and upbringing have molded them a certain way and led to the choices they make. Maybe those choices are better and you can’t see why; maybe they are worse and it drives you crazy; maybe it’s just how they like to do it. But their choices are just as valid as yours. Why should they change to be like you, when you could just as easily change to be like them? Or maybe the question is whether either of you needs to change.

To have a peaceful relationship, you must be able to recognize and honor the other person as a unique individual. When two people come together in a relationship that acknowledges and honors this separateness, new possibilities for connection are created. A deep appreciation and interest in getting to know and understand this uniqueness occurs, and untold opportunities for the exchange of truth and goodness emerge for that relationship.

How to View and Interact with Differences

Because everybody is unique, differences between two people are, of course, inevitable. Often people react with suspicion, distrust, and a basic fear of differences. This is an opportunity for you to look at why you hold your position and how you view and respond to those differences. Behind any reasons you give are your feelings, and people often come up with reasons to justify those feelings. Looking at the feelings, both yours and those of the other person, is the way to understand and accept those differences.

In your close relationships, you have the advantage of being able to let down those defenses and build trust through honesty and kindness. You can create peace and harmony within your relationships by turning these old kinds of reactions on their head and responding with love, curiosity, and openness.

There is great potential for growth and the expansion of your reality through seeing differences as a way to admit more variety into your life. It is much more fruitful to look at what core values you hold in common, rather than the variance in how each person expresses those shared values.

Finding Total Acceptance

Total acceptance in any given relationship means that you have accepted the person fully as who they are and how they are. You have incorporated the preceding principles, and have come to a state of loving and acknowledging that person. There are no ifs, ands, or buts; there is no holding back, no hidden agendas of correcting or changing their behavior or their person.

There is a way you can practice this in your relationships and it makes a definitive difference in maintaining peace and harmony in those relationships. How do you find your way to this state?

When you are honest with another person, they come to trust you. It works the other way around, too; the more honest, open, and truthful they are, the more you can trust them. With this trust, you can be more open in turn, and this is how trust develops.

Over time, you have more opportunities to see their values in action. At some point, you come to trust that whatever they do is fine. It may be different from how you would do it, but when your values align, it is merely a different way of acting on the same principles.

This is what we call total acceptance, and it has two radical benefits. For you, you can put down your roles as teacher, taskmaster, and parent. For them, they are given the freedom to be themselves, to act without fear of causing dissent or being criticized.

For both of you, live according to the Polish saying “Nie mój cyrk, nie moje ma?py,” not my circus, not my monkeys.

A Process for Dealing with Decisions and Disagreements

For a relationship to thrive harmoniously, you need to have a way of making decisions and turning disagreements into mutual solutions. We have developed a process that helps you search for it in ways that do not descend into anger.

Once you know that you share the same values with someone else, you can deal with decisions and disagreements without generating rancor. It takes time, trust, honesty, and openness. You have to be willing to listen to the other person and find out what their wants and needs are in the particular situation.

There are multiple ways to solve a problem, and by exploring, you can find a solution that works for both of you because it will fit with your shared values. You have to both be willing to delve ever deeper to find out what the underlying meanings and values are for you.

Trust that such a solution exists, and do not forget that you are on the same side. If you can pervade the interaction with the sense of the we in the relationship, your ability to create a solution together will be greatly enhanced.

The extraordinary thing about this process is that through trust and goodwill, you can always reach a solution, even though you cannot initially imagine one is possible.


In all of these parts, being present is essential, because relationships are not ideas; they are experiences. They fill a deep need for connection, and being present is how to escape the language of shoulds and oughts and become more aware of that connection.

Photo credit: Damonza
Photo note: Adapted from our book cover

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10 Comments on “The Five Fundamentals of Peaceful Relationships

    • Thank you Gylian. It’s good to hear from you. It makes us glad that you find the descriptions give clarity. In the next weeks, we will delve into each fundamental at greater length.
      with love

  1. Good morning, Phil and Maude;
    Thank you for this newsletter and blog that you prepare and send out. It is much appreciated.
    I hope you both are well and thriving!
    David Kantor

    • Thank you David. We are well and thriving. We are so glad you receive value from the newsletters and blogs!

  2. What a helpful topic. If more people figured out what they truly value in life, I suspect this world would be a better place. Thanks for sharing these insights.

  3. A comment posted on Facebook in response to our blog:
    Michelle Frenzel TrustLove
    I enjoyed your reflection! Thank you! It seems to expand beautifully the wisdom and heart of Non Violent Communication

  4. I enjoyed your reflection! Thank you! It seems to expand beautifully the wisdom and heart of Non Violent Communication!

    • Thank you Michelle Frenzel TrustLove. Our work does indeed go well with NVC. We write directly from our own personal experience.

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