LOVE LINGERS HERE: INTIMATE ENDURING RELATIONSHIPS XVI. PLATE THREE: DECIDING WHAT’S IMPORTANT (IDENTIFYING SHARED VALUES)
The founding story of Nancy and Erik specifically describes their mutual attraction and spontaneity. Yet, underlying this passion was their mutual passion about politics: ‘I [Erik] think of it in terms of how we met. For me, that’s a big dimension of our relationship. We went to jail for our beliefs. That was part of the attraction.” They still agree on most political issues and share many common values and ideals; however, there are also several major differences in terms of life style preferences that have confronted Erik and Nancy during their relationship. Nancy notes that:
Erik is a very gentle, loving person. He’s very giving emotionally, in certain areas For a long time, we didn’t even share money. . . .Money was the last frontier . . . When I first met Erik, I was a workaholic . . . My self-esteem was inextricably tied with my work . . . I did not want to be that way . . . Meeting Erik helped . . . He has a premium on having fun. I didn’t know how to have fun. I began taking pieces of Erik and putting them in Nancy. There were a few brick walls I ran into. One was that Erik always wanted to have fun. He never wanted to sit down and talk about economic realities, which got to be a real headache and power struggle, even now . . Erik didn’t want to take on [more work]. I wanted to divest [work], but . . . the money has to come from ‘somewhere. I didn’t have a partner who was willing to assume the work past a certain point.
It appears that Erik’s values with regard to lifestyle ha6/ had a tempering influence on Nancy and vice versa. She has given-up her workaholism to move more toward his need to enjoy daily life with a minimum of competition, to be free to be spontaneous. As they were when they first met: “A value for me [Nancy] as a person and a value in our relationship is spontaneity and the ability to be flexible enough to go kind of with the flow, to no my fears get in the way and halt the process.”