Relationships are powerful in our life. Good ones can help us thrive and reach heights of happiness, depths of fulfillment and help make our wildest dreams a reality. Bad ones have the opposite effect. They can destroy the soul; deplete our energy, self-worth and resources. Medium ones have the potential to be good and those are the ones that can benefit from therapy...as long as both partners are committed to making the effort.
Try out these rules if you're in a relationship that could benefit from a little improvement. Print them out or email a copy to your partner and promise each other that you'll follow the rules. It's a great opportunity for the New Year.
1. I’ll face my emptiness; you need not fill me up.
2. I will trust, and I’ll tell you when I don’t.
3. I will be there; you can count on me.
4. I will tell you if I’m leaving.
5. I will let you know my thoughts and feelings to the extent that it is possible.
6. I will be vulnerable with you as often as I can.
7. I will disagree, and I’ll stay when I do and I’ll say when I do.
8. I will comment on my reality. I can speak aloud about what I see and hear.
9. I will take the consequences for what I say and do.
10. I'll be receptive to giving and taking.
11. I promise to respect your struggles and have compassion for yours as well as for my own.
12. I shall understand that my needs for intimacy may be different from yours and I can respect and rejoice that you have found your own creative expression.
(Rules are from “Rules for Relationships” tape by Marilyn Mason, Ph.D. April 17, 1990)