Question: Sometimes I feel like my spouse and I are on a different wavelength, or it's difficult for us to communicate. And other times, it seems like we're the perfect couple. Knowing that we will never be perfectly compatible, but we love each other, how do we build on the strengths, while overcoming the weaknesses, of our relationship?

Dear Sometime Perfect Couple:

I recommend you and your spouse sit down on a regular basis and talk specifically about your relationship. Further, I recommend you and your spouse create agreements for your relationship.


It is interesting that all of the significant contracts and legal arrangements we make in our lives - homes, cars, loans, businesses, even our death - involve clear, written agreements. And yet, when it comes to love, we don’t want to be as clear - or as responsible - about the thing we say we value most.

We tell ourselves it’s not necessary because “love will take care of it.” Or that clear agreements around relationships are “cold” or “unromantic,” or belie a lack of love or trust. And yet, it is this “significant” relationship that has the potential to be one of the most worthwhile, fulfilling, and beneficial experiences of our lives. Why do we want to be vague about it?

Fear. We want to keep it vague because we are afraid we don’t know how to “do” relationship. Well, here’s the good news…we don’t!

That’s right, we don’t know how to “do” relationship, how could we? No one ever taught us; we didn’t take a class and even if we were blessed to have parents who had a healthy, happy, well balanced relationship; that was their relationship; tailored to their unique personalities, needs, dreams, and desires.
So perhaps instead of pretending we do know how to have a successful relationship, we acknowledge that we don’t know how, and we begin there. Next is good communication: open, honest, and on-going.

“Oh, but that’s so unromantic!”
“If you really love me we don’t need to talk about it.”
“Don’t you trust me?”

People who are unwilling to talk about their important relationships – to have open communication, clear agreements, and definable boundaries - may not be capable of, or mature enough, for a responsible, adult relationship. It is up to you to see this and to choose not to have a relationship with someone unprepared to do so. Or, to choose to be responsible to create the agreements that honor, respect, and serve you. “Love,” won’t take care of it.

And don’t be fooled by all those pseudo adults who are too “free spirited,” “mysterious,” “spiritual,” or “above it all,” to communicate clearly about their relationships.They are either immature, dusfunctional, or both!

A huge part of relationship is communication. If someone is unable - or unwilling - to talk about how they want to be in relationship, there is no amount of love, chemistry, money, spirituality, or sex that will compensate for that. Anyone who believes otherwise lacks the maturity needed for a fulfilling relationship. An on-going, beneficial, fulfilling relationship requires both partners to be conscious, responsible, and open.

We often believe that if there is love, there is trust. But they are not one in the same. Love is a state of being. And trust is born of self-trust. That’s about you being responsible for you. Both love and trust require consciousness, responsibility, and an on-going desire to cultivate and sustain them in relationship. So if you don’t have agreements that clarify for both partners the purpose and parameters of the relationship, how can the relationship succeed?

Please be clear, I am speaking about agreements here, not commitments or expectations. There are very distinct differences between these words. Let’s start with commitment. Just the word sounds confining! Do you want to be committed? The double entendre here isn’t coincidental! I’m not a fan of using the word commitment to define a relationship; it is static, confining, and restrictive.

And expectations…yuk!

Here’s the problem with expectations, which the dictionary defines with words such as “anticipation” or “assurance,” expectation is you projecting into the future. It is you, energetically, putting limits on someone’s behavior or Self-expression. You are, in essence, saying that you expect someone – or a relationship - to behave, react, or respond in very specific ways. Where’s the fun in that? There isn’t any. And in the long run, it’s a set-up for failure and/or boredom. As I said, yuk!

Seriously, if we want our relationships to be interesting, fulfilling, and meaningful on an on-going basis then “expectations” run completely contrary to what we say we want.

As human beings we are composed of energy. And energy is always in a state of flux. If we can accept this “truth of physics,” and embrace change - rather than set ourselves up for challenge and disappointment or worse, limit who we are and how we interact with one another via “expectations” - we will discover the adventure and exploration relationship can provide.

There is tremendous freedom in that; for you, your friend, lover, spouse, or partner.

Which brings me to the true purpose, as I understand it, of relationship; to see more of you, be more of you, and to learn about love.

(You can read more about that on this site at “Redefining Relationship: love, acceptance, freedom.” )

Briefly, this means that the true purpose of relationship is for you to see more of who you are, become more of who you are, and then to share that “more” with others; in doing so…you learn about love.

Agreements - rather than expectations, assumptions, or commitments – provide the fertile ground upon which you both can expand into who you are, express your Self fully, and together…learn about love.

This applies to casual acquaintances, as well as business partners or lovers. Love runs the gamut from deep passion and desire for true intimacy, to the simple power of recognizing and understanding our shared humanity. So there can be “love” in any relationship.

I would invite you and your spouse to sit down on a continuing basis to discuss, co-create - and re-create as needed - agreements that will allow each of you to explore, experience, expand, and evolve…as individuals.

This in turn becomes a strong foundation for your relationship. Contrary to popular opinion, love is not about “give and take.” Love is about sharing and receiving. It is the “giving and taking” of love that actually creates imbalance. That imbalance has us looking outside of our Self for fulfillment, happiness or “completion.”

It’s okay if that’s where you choose to be. But there is more. There is a more evolved way of being, a more evolved way of relationship; and it begins with loving you well. When you love you well, you then have plenty of love to share. No giving and taking…simply sharing and receiving.

So a relationship that centers on the dreams, ambitions, and goals of each individual, translates into two happy, fulfilled individuals who have plenty of love and support to share with one another. It also means each partner is free to go out into the world and engage, experience, explore, expand, and evolve.

Then both partners bring the joy, fulfillment, and learning of their individual experiences…back to their partner…and into the relationship.  This is the stuff of which truly fulfilling relationships are created, nurtured, and sustained. This is the stuff of which personal evolution is created and transformative, transcendent intimacy is born.

It all begins with...agreements.