Have you stopped?
Given our dedication to relationships, we find ourselves dismayed when we hear that partners are at odds with each other and/or are ending their partnership. When we ask what happened, we almost always find that promises haven't been kept, and new promises haven't been made.
The foundation for any relationship is promises: agreements, contracts, vows, covenants, rules, etc. And it could be said that, just as a game is formed by rules, a relationship is formed by promises. Just as a game isn't being played if the rules aren't adhered to, a relationship goes out of existence when the promises aren't adhered to. Promises are designed to carry us through times of misunderstandings, losses, disappointments and upsets (which we all know are going to happen). Have you stopped keeping your promises?
The purpose of promises is to turn possibilities and goals into reality. But when you're not creating possibilities together, promises devolve to a means of control, to avoid "bad" things happening. Have you stopped creating a future together?
Commitments and promises are relational in nature; they always involve more than one individual. Have you stopped making requests and promises together?
Actions [to fulfill commitments/promises] are individual in nature. You donít actually observe an "us" (relationship/team/group) do anything. You see individuals doing things Ė coordinated by promises. Have each of you stopped taking actions to fulfill the promises you made?
Have you stopped discovering each other?
Perhaps the greatest joy in life is the experience of being known and appreciated by another. But also there is perhaps no greater frustration than to be seen with no new possibility, taken for granted - "oh, it's you again".
Our game is to simultaneously know each other [like no one else knows us] and yet not know each other. To the extent we are "on our game", our life together is both extraordinarily joyous and extraordinarily fresh - even after more than 50 years of marriage.
Are you interested in discovering where you have stopped, and exploring where you might go with each other?
Sandy and Lon
More about relationships
Assumptions are the termites of relationships. - Henry Winkler
What is it about assumptions that undermines relationships?
Consider that while some assumptions are based on trust, most are rooted in fantasy. We assume that our partners will behave the right way all the time, about everything, everywhere, with everyone, forever. When that doesn't happen we get upset.
To make matters worse, our expectations of ourselves are rooted in the same fantasy. So we end up displeased with ourselves.
On top of all that, we assume that we and/or our partners are doing something wrong if life doesn't go the way we assume it should go (all the time, everywhere, with everyone, forever). We end up trying to fix or change our partners, ourselves and our surroundings rather than simply experience our lives.
Think of your relationships as games to be designed and played. Together, establish goals, and set up boundaries and rules, beginning and ending times, principles for playing effectively, and consequences for playing well or "poorly". You might find it more fun and fulfilling than assuming life will, or should, go a particular way.
We wish you joy beyond what you assume you deserve.
Sandy and Lon Golnick