Sunday, March 14, 2010


This week I’m expanding on my answers to a question asked on our Human Sexuality discussion board. And I’m curious whether you have considered your answers.

Q: What are your top relationship priorities?

My A's:
Honesty and Trust
-- Being honest, both with myself and my partner, is crucial to the health of my relationship. Knowing that we are both committed to telling the truth builds trust and belief in our own and each other’s integrity. Trust creates safety and security, allowing us both to open up even more. It’s a lovely, expanding, self-perpetuating cycle.

Respect -- Respecting each other and ourselves keeps our attention on the positive, encourages kindness, and boosts our self-esteem and sense of value. Choosing to (1) be respectful and (2) not invest time and energy in disrespectful people are empowering practices. I have been in relationships with a lack of respect, and will write more about that in my next blog post.

Shared values, interests and sense of humor -- Sharing values gives us a common world view to live from. For example, if I see the world as benevolent, attempting to have a relationship with someone who believes the world is hostile is pretty difficult. Additionally, I learned the hard way that no matter how much I love someone, if we don't laugh at the same things, or have at least a few things in common that give us both a charge, the connection does not last, no matter how hard we try.

Communication -- To quote my partner: "Silence may be golden, but communication is priceless." If we're not sharing ourselves with each other, are we really in relationship? Believe me, it is possible to be extremely lonely within a marriage. I wouldn’t recommend it. There are quiet people and chatty people and everything in between. Sometimes opposites attract here and it works. More often, I think finding a bird from a similar flock will be a better fit and be more fulfilling for both partners.

Love, attraction and passion -- I believe love is a practice, a verb coming from a moment by moment decision. Attraction to and passion for my partner may start out as lust or chemistry, but as time goes on it requires effort to steer clear of the taking-for-granted or boredom ditches. That effort pays off not only in better sex, but in a happier, closer relationship all around.

Regarding physical/sexual compatibility... Finding someone who has a similar desire (or non-desire) for sex is a delightful thing! I know VERY happy couples who are rarely, or no longer sexual. That works when it is a mutual choice. Talking about where my partner and I stand on the scale from “sex is ho-hum, and great for making babies” to “sex is one of my favorite adult play activities” (and listening carefully to your partner’s answers) is wise, especially before committing to a lifetime together.

These priorities have definitely changed over my life. When I was in my 20's, life was much more about having fun, without as much depth or regard for the consequences of my choices. Now in my 50's, I'm much more conscious of my values, how powerful words and attitudes are, and how much the people in our lives affect us. As much as possible, I choose to surround myself with positive, empowering people who are learning and growing and who enjoy life.

How about you? What is most important
in your relationships?

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