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Illustration of a couple in a row boat

As you discuss your relationship, with the goal of becoming more secure-functioning, ask each other three questions:

  • What is our purpose as a couple?
  • What principles of partnership do we both believe in?
  • What do we do for each other that no one else could do?

Mutual purpose. It can be helpful to establish the purpose and vision for your union. Discuss the goals you agree on and those you don’t (for example, whether to have kids, where you want to live). Look for commonalities as well as deal breakers. What will you both do to sustain your mutual purpose?

Shared principles of partnership. When choosing your own principles, both of you must buy in and commit to follow-through, regardless of circumstances or feelings in a given moment. In other words, your agreed-upon principles must serve both a personal and a mutual good. For instance, my spouse and I have a shared principle that if either of us is in distress, the other will drop everything and help. We know how to pick each other up when we’re down and how to settle the other when unsettled, so we’ve agreed to do this without question.

Exclusive benefits. The third question sounds the most complex, but it’s probably the easiest to answer. What do you do for each other that no one else can do? There are as many answers for this question as there are couples in the world. So have fun with it.

This originally appeared in “Anchors, Islands, and Waves” in the June 2019 print issue of Experience Life.

Illustration by: Chris O'Leary

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