Relationship Help Quick Tip
Is your relationship worldview advancing your marriage/relationship or holding it hostage?
While most of us want to be in a relationship, to feel and give love, to have that special someone share and witness our life, how we go about creating this type of relationship varies widely. Your experience of what a loving, committed, long-term relationship entails may vary (slightly or dramatically) from your spouse’s/partner’s vision–it’s often the case that couples have inconsistent relationship expectations and differing emotional needs that stem in part from our unique individualities.
Relationship Help: What Is Your Relationship Worldview?
A relationship worldview is our over-arching viewpoint: Our beliefs and feelings about love, relationships and intimacy that are formed by our emotional needs, personality styles, values, temperament, interests, etc. All of these factors (and others) mix together to form your unique relationship worldview—and this worldview has a profound impact on how you relate to your spouse/partner.
For some, their relationship worldview is tightly wound, a static and unyielding viewpoint that is resistant to change (typically this resistance arises out of some type of fear-based, negative expectation in the face of change or the unknown. In this instance, change is experienced as a threat to the security of the relationship). Resistance emerges when your marital or relationship experiences deviate from your ingrained beliefs and expectations about how a relationship is supposed to be—this is fine as long as your partner’s relationship worldview also remains somewhat static and overlaps with your own.
While for others, their relationship worldview is more malleable, an evolving kaleidescope of beliefs that take into consideration the nuances of context and the potential growth of each person. In this worldview, you remain open to the possibility of change and may even see change as inevitable (in this instance, change equates to growth even when it is potentially disruptive to the comfortable status quo). It is understood that your and your partner’s needs, interests and goals may not hold steady throughout your lives together and that the relationship will have to evolve to accommodate these changes.
Relationship Help Self-Reflection:
List 5 beliefs, values and expectations that define your relationship worldview:
After listing these beliefs, reflect on the following questions (and, if s/he is open to it, discuss your responses with your partner):
- Are the above expectations that make up your relationship worldview a closed system of long-held beliefs that your relationship must honor? If so, what are the potential consequences if your partner changes in ways that challenge any of these beliefs/expectations?
- Is your relationship worldview an open system of beliefs that take into consideration the context and the changing needs of you and your partner? In this system of beliefs, are there any “non-negotiables” that you feel must be upheld, regardless of the circumstance?
- In what ways does your relationship worldview allow the marriage/relationship to transcend your individual needs? In what ways does your worldview potentially keep the relationship frozen in time?
Until next time,
Dr. Rich Nicastro