LOVE LINGERS HERE: INTIMATE ENDURING RELATIONSHIPS XVI. PLATE THREE: DECIDING WHAT’S IMPORTANT (IDENTIFYING SHARED VALUES)
The psychic also encouraged Derrick and Catherine to use their talent for and shared interest in conversation and reflection. They were to reflect on what love is all about for the two of them. They struggled with the ideal of romantic love and came to the conclusion that their relationship is built on a different kind of love. Catherine feels that her love is wrapped up not only in Derrick but also their daughter, April. She loves her role as mother and finds that April has brought purpose to her life. Both Catherine and Derrick see their love also wrapped up in their shared value, which is their spiritual quest. Derrick, in particular, looks forward to the day when they can meditate together (which is not possible while April is still at home).
Like Derrick and Catherine, John and Nancy came together around shared religious values, and they now build their relationship on these values and a community of family and friends that also abide by these values. Like Derrick and Catherine, they found that their conflicts (regarding child-raising) can be endured in part because they have established such a strong base of common values regarding domains in which they experience no conflict at all. When asked what they “mutually value,” John looked at Nancy and asked: “Do you want to go first?” “Our faith,” she responded. John added, “Family values.” He elaborates:
. . . following more traditional patterns for family living, and vocational honesty. To expand on that, you could say we each were taught to follow the Biblical standards of life. We have each accepted these standards for ourselves. We try to follow them, too. Things like the Ten Commandments. We aren’t too great on keeping the Sabbath, but we still work on it. I don’t think it’s a completely outmoded commandment.
John thought for a while, then continued:
Other areas [of shared values] would be like that of mutual friends. We get those from Sunday School. Even though Sunday School is old-fashioned, I still think it’s of great value. For years we weren’t members of a couples class, but now we think that’s where your true friends are. That’s where you get support from others for your marriage, and those are the people who stand by you when things get tough.