LOVE LINGERS HERE: INTIMATE ENDURING RELATIONSHIPS XVI. PLATE THREE: DECIDING WHAT’S IMPORTANT (IDENTIFYING SHARED VALUES)

LOVE LINGERS HERE: INTIMATE ENDURING RELATIONSHIPS XVI. PLATE THREE: DECIDING WHAT’S IMPORTANT (IDENTIFYING SHARED VALUES)

Bettina also noted that this shared commitment is flexible, given that it shifted when they had children. The children became the center of attention for both Bettina and Neil, as is the case for many couples we interviewed. If both Bettina and Neil don’t make the shift then conflict can occur. One of them remains committed to the relationship as the primary value in their life, while the other partner shifts attention to the children. This shift is often viewed as a betrayal unless it is mutual as it apparently was in the case of Bettina and Neil.

But what happens when the children grow up and leave home? Once again, Bettina and Neil have remained flexible. Bettina notes that they both felt less like a couple when they had children: “but once the kids leave it seems that you are more of a couple. For me it’s a more pronounced feeling of being a couple when we don’t have to think about anything else.” Neil enthusiastically agree It, “That’s right! That’s right!”

KEY CHAPTER POINTS – PLATE THREE: SELECTING VALUES

Enduring couples:
• Choose values structures that reflect their own distinctive life experiences rather than those imposed by society, friends or family.
• Hold deeply rooted, commonly-shared value(s) as a core of their relationship.
• Negotiate with their partners over the priority or importance of their individually held values and their joint values.
• Tend to make the relationship itself a top priority.
• Accept their individual differences in values and are fond of such varying characteristics each other holds.
• Find the best in one another and find ways to use these strengths in their survival as a couple.

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About the Author

William BergquistWilliam Bergquist, Ph.D. An international coach and consultant in the fields of psychology, management and public administration, author of more than 50 books, and president of a psychology institute. Dr. Bergquist consults on and writes about personal, group, organizational and societal transitions and transformations. His published work ranges from the personal transitions of men and women in their 50s and the struggles of men and women in recovering from strokes to the experiences of freedom among the men and women of Eastern Europe following the collapse of the Soviet Union. In recent years, Bergquist has focused on the processes of organizational coaching. He is coauthor with Agnes Mura of coachbook, co-founder of the International Journal of Coaching in Organizations and co-founder of the International Consortium for Coaching in Organizations.

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