Love Lingers Here: Intimate Enduring Relationships–VIII. Compatibility and Covenant
Moore suggests that at these times the couple is doing “soul work.” Put in more secular terms, the couple is working through a complex issue that often triggers very deep feelings, old ghosts (both from their own relationship and relationships from their childhood) and ancient fears (only partially known or understood). Moore (1994, p. 29) suggested that “we may have to enter the confusion of [our partner’s] soul, with no hope of ever finding clarity, without demanding that the other be clear in expressing [his or] her feelings, and without the hope that one day this person will finally grow up or get better or express (himself or] herself more plainly.”
In this final stage, through the acknowledgement of one’s inability to fully understand someone who is deeply loved and through the acknowledgement of one’s own ignorance and continuing search for self-understanding, the covenant is re-invigorated and reestablished on the basis of “mutual vulnerability” (Moore, 1994, p. 30) along with mutual commitment to the relationship. The covenant becomes more explicit and discussable. A couple can appreciate the important role it has played in their shared life over the years, having often served as a guardian of their relationship. Yet, the covenant is now often set aside or at least supplemented with a more flexible and consciously negotiated set of statements about what each partner and the couple (as a separate entity) needs for personal nourishment and growth—as well as the nourishment and growth of the relationship.