Pondering series: Definitions


Written in response to a coffee shop conversation and one of those a-ha moments.  The more I talk with people the more I realize very few of us are content. We are all searching for the next thing— constantly trying to find where we are supposed to be, maybe forgetting to live in the moment right then and there and learn whatever we are supposed to learn from that time. 


1) a partner should treasure your person, be kind to your heart and mind and fears, and welcome expressions of sexual interest


2) a partner should feel confident in expressing his/her fears, needs, opinions, successes and future plans and be allowed to retain ownership of his/her own mental property


3) a partner should be a good friend; the friendship should be self-regulating without need for policing, shame or judgement


4) a partner should have interests and passions and goals and friendships outside of the main relationship which may or may not include the other;


CUT: attention should be paid to ensuring friendships/close business partners be the same gender or interactions should occur in the dynamic of couple to couple when gender is not the same.



a) Recipients who get the time and attention of one of the partners should be fully aware of the relationship status and partners should be confident in saying, “i’m hanging out with so and so today, give them a call and let them know it’s okay with you and that I am loved by you.” In other words, “Please know this is my partner in life, I treasure him/her, respect this public partnership by sticking to the traditional boundaries afforded to it.” 

b)  Maybe a better way to say it is- Hold each other accountable with proclamation of love and the give, the acceptance of the value of interaction with other people, but without jealousy.


5) Marriages require attention, investment and flexibility during times of growth and change. Confident partners belie in learning  and exploration in as many areas as possible to allow each to become their fullest and best selves


6) Partners should encourage and support expression and exploration of external family and history and dynamics that feel unhealthy or uncomfortable


7) Both partners should be joyful, able to demonstrate physical and emotional joy in each others presence and be examples of respect and tolerance to the other and evoke both an ease of conversation and radiate positive energy/spirit when the other is present


8) Love ebbs and flows, passion ebbs and flows, but through all of those ups and downs there is a commitment to meeting the emotional needs of a partner even when the physical needs aren’t in sync.


9) confrontations and arguments should be avoided, but constructive pauses, with requests for clarification and the belief that the intent of the others comments/actions are rooted in goodness and kindness should occur and should be encouraged.  This should allow diffusion of angry or controlling actions/ moments.


10) Creative solutions rather than dumbing down to the lowest common denominator should be explored, pursued and preferred to promote best parenting practices (if raising children together is a factor) .  Beyond child rearing, creative solutions to meet a variety of emotional and physical and mental needs of the partners should be explored and vetted, attempted and implemented without embarrassment or manipulation.


Know what you want and ask for it. 
#for Reticent Mental Property.

7 thoughts on “Pondering series: Definitions

  1. I respect that this is your personal list of Should-Haves, and that you are not suggesting this list to be universally applicable.

    For myself though, I can’t say I agree with #4. If I was limited to F-F friendships or business relationships, I would not survive. And if my spouse was constantly giving permission, especially in the form of phone calls to my male friends to say “It’s okay with me,” I would feel a total lack of autonomy. Nothing says “I don’t trust my spouse” like pointed attempts to manage their relationships. As for couple-to-couple interactions, I’ve tried that and found it stifling. He and I are VERY different people. There are pretty much only two couple-friends we’ve found that we can mutually tolerate, in 13 years.

    I agree with the intent though – or at least what I believe to be the intent – in that transparency is important, and that if cheating is a concern (though I think differently about that, being in a non-monogamous relationship structure), honesty is key.

    It all comes down to communication and trust. If both are in place, outside relationships are not a threat, and all the monitoring/policing implied in #4 are unnecessary.

    Which for many, I suppose, is easier said than done.

    Just thinking (writing?) out loud. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m so appreciative of the reply. This is exactly the type of discussion I want to take place here…4 is limiting. Agree– and when I think about the males I know in my life, many of them are my go-to experts and I want them in my life because of the energy and information they bring. I did think of 4 as a way to deter infidelity, but I’d rather see it as a celebration of exemplary love and a show of the depth of it more than a checks and balance system. 4 is also a trust building exercise that is a positive way to address a necessary accountability factor if a couple is recovering from a breech of trust.

    I’ll work on the wording and intent. I’d like to think that 4 could be a proclamation rather than an ownership statement…that being said, everything would be easier if two people would be honest with each other respect whatever agreement they have made.

    And certainly there is no room for jealousy.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I like this list, I would have to tape it to my bathroom mirror and read it everyday to remind myself I can do this. I’m a healthy fully functioning adult and I can do this. Haha! It would have to be taped next to some daily affirmations but I would definitely have to remind myself daily. I’m an adult, I’m a confident, accomplished, adult, I can do these things! Haha. I’m sure I’m not the only person who would have to do this.


      • Haha it should be completely understood for fully functioning, healthy, adults. I’m still working on all of that. I should change my blog to Dysfunctional Mental Poperty. Haha. I think you make a good point though, we assume everyone should know the finer points of having a relationship with a romantic partner or even just friendship but a lot of times the people walking around out there (my self included) have had no idea what a healthy relationship model is. My dysfunction stems from alcoholic parents, and many of the other abuses that come from just learning how to survive day to day. Now that I’m older and realize I’m no longer just to survive but actually live this life and find purpose, even happiness I realize I still have a lot to learn.


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