6. Shouldering the Load
All relationships have access to resources from which to nurture and support each other. They can choose to allocate when they will be available, how much energy they want to put into any interaction, whether or not they want to offer support, and how present they will be when they attend.
When either partner is overloaded or unable to carry his or her fair share of the current load, the other willingly steps up to help without questioning the need. Devoted partners don’t keep score or worry that they might be taken advantage of if they have to give more in certain situations. They accept that there will be unexpected challenges that require more commitment and are ready to do that when necessary.
7. Making Room for Each Other’s Dreams
Even the most loving couples can forget to encourage each other’s separate paths to fulfillment. New lovers willingly push aside their individual goals in order to concentrate on those that are mutual. They understandably want their lives to intertwine and to grow stronger as a unit, and do not mind sacrificing personal dreams when necessary to make that happen.
As time passes, those back-burnered desires may re-emerge. Though they may have temporarily become lost in the couple’s commitment to mutual dreams, they begin to beg attention. Partners who respect and support those buried desires want them to happen. They know that some of their relationship priorities may have to be rescheduled, and the resources to make that happen must be willingly reallocated.
8. Making Room for Each Other’s Broken Places
No one escapes sorrow. Though some suffer more than others, everyone has had experiences of terrifying vulnerability, moments of humiliation, and anguishing loss. When people truly love and respect each other, they are fully present and supportive when their partners express those memories and the emotions that accompany them. They do not challenge, invalidate, or question their partners’ feelings.
In quality love relationships, partners realize that broken places will emerge naturally for both of them from time to time. They feel grateful that they can be there for each other when that happens.
When a sorrow affects either person’s heart, the other partner attending without judgment, giving support without the need to change the experience, and offering unconditional love during those moments can help those damaged places to heal.