LOVE LINGERS HERE: INTIMATE ENDURING RELATIONSHIPS XVI. PLATE THREE: DECIDING WHAT’S IMPORTANT (IDENTIFYING SHARED VALUES)
Erik, in turn, has taken on more responsibility for Saving money and has already begun to make plans for their eventual retirement (blending his interest in independence and—spontaneity and her concern for financial security). Erik has also taken on more responsibility for household duties so that Nancy can find time to relax and be spontaneous when she isn’t working: “I [Erik] do all the laundry and the grocery shopping so that Nancy . . . has more time apart from work. I don’t have a problem with that, because I have the time to do it.”
Increasingly, Nancy and Erik have also identified and built mutual commitment to other emerging values:
We have a lot of values that [Erik and I] share in common, like good communication, play, having fun with each other on many different levels, good health . . . having a loving relationship as a couple, the companionship, that’s real important . . . Begin a loving couple. . good sex . . . having similar world views A style of negotiation . . . working through differences . . . We have a certain level of commitment to attempting to integrate the differences into the relationship.
While many other couples would probably agree with Erik and Nancy regarding these central ingredients of a successful relationships, this man and woman are a bit different in that they speak of these ingredients not in terms of what they do with each other in their relationship, but rather in terms of the value they assign to each of these actions. They are people who greatly appreciate a clearly stated set of principles that they expect themselves and other people to emulate in their daily activities. Though they value spontaneity, they also value consistency and want to know that they will be there for each other in a world that might at times seem to be rather hostile toward their political values or other lifestyle choices.