Relationship Rules and Agreements
They can help when the relationship road gets bumpy.
In order for us to have a safe environment in which to reveal our vulnerable truth and share what is in our hearts we need to begin with good boundaries.
Rules are one way of setting boundaries. Though we often think of rules as being restrictive they can actually allow us to express ourselves fully. Think of the rules we follow on the highway.
Without them we would be all over the road, there would be chaos; danger, injury and we wouldn’t be able to trust each other. The same is true in relationships. We need to have agreed upon rules in order to have trust, safety and openness. In order to create safety and order in this class we have our own basic rules that we ask everyone to adhere to.
Along with the necessity of having good rules in order to have healthy relationships we also need to have agreements.
Let me put that another way. There are always agreements in a relationship but most often they are unspoken, hidden and come from fear.
We can actually request the way we want to be treated by others!
For Example just the other day Curtis and I were taking a look at an issue that seemed to be a trigger point for us as a couple.
I had a negative opinion about how often he was –on- the computer. I thought of it just that way too. Like he was - on - drugs or something. I found myself reacting whenever I walked into the office and there he was with his nose in his computer.
We followed our own rules and went to our favorite coffee shop before we dove into the conversation. First we put it out in front of us on the table. No longer a hidden issue that was between us.
Then Curtis told me how much he didn’t like having his computer use monitored. He requested that I simply stop even thinking critical thoughts about it and in turn stop saying anything with words, tones, looks or sighs.
When he made the request my first thought was NO I can’t do that. I do think he spends way too much time –on-the computer. But then another thought quickly followed. I thought of a request I had for him that was just as outlandish at first glance.
I knew I couldn’t make it one of those if I do this you have to do that kind of deal. Honoring requests needs to be free and clear of obligation. But I knew it would instill a positive connection between us if I agreed. I also saw how much energy I had been extending toward this issue and the thought of simply shifting my thinking and no longer having it in my mind was surprisingly freeing!
So I said yes. Over the next few weeks I caught myself many times with my old thinking interfering. But I was able to catch it quickly and say…oh right that’s right I don’t care about that anymore. After awhile I felt all my resentment melt away.
You might be thinking to your self right about now…well sure that works for you guys, you do this work all the time you already have a framework and understanding about requests.
While that is true the bigger truth is each and every one of us is always making requests of each other, we just aren’t always aware of it. And it just doesn’t occur to us to be up front about it. I guarantee if you take a small step in this direction it will be well worth your time and effort. When you engage the people you love most to make an agreement or two you will find the road to relationship happiness is much smoother and satisfying.