The Healing Process of Shared Vision
What draws a couple closer to each other, or pushes them further apart, is their everyday behaviour, the way that they choose, or manage, to relate to each other during the many moments of connection that fill their lives. This behaviour is closely tied to values and principles, and the behaviour of each partner will reflect what is held in their core which, in turn, influences their vision of life, be it conscious or unconscious. These components are all related, none are isolated or stand alone.
Completion of Duties.
Duties are all the things that need doing to enable us to function as a family. For the couple there will usually be a natural distribution, some duties fit well because they are related to our personal talents and capabilities, but there are always those tasks that nobody particularly likes and their completion can easily become a source of conflict between the partners, unless there exists a clear and shared vision and we have the ability to make such an agreement and go through with it. The components of a vision are there because they are valued by the couple.
Creating a vision.
Your vision is a photograph taken in the present of what you want for yourself in the future. It identifies your values, principles and goals, providing direction to your activities and motivating you to move forward. Creating begins by stating your dreams in writing. Take your life as a whole into account, including mind, body, emotions and spirit. Consider your family, your work and social life and the world around you. Your vision should be positive and encouraging. Your natural gifts and talents are the tools that you can always rely on to make progress in life, so take into account what you most enjoy doing. Please do not allow the way you interpret your current situation to limit your ideas, because, “There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible and that is the fear of failure”. Once you have declared your vision and outlined your mission (purpose), you can continue, working on the near future by means of short term objectives and your corresponding plan of action. Then share your personal vision with your partner because two have a greater power to make things come true than one alone. The difference between a dream and a vision is that a dream is hypothetical, remaining in thoughts and words, whereas the writing of a vision opens a pathway to follow. “The function of a Vision is to inspire and provide guidelines in times of crisis”.
When we create a vision, we have the feeling that we are co-creators of our future and not just part of something that is happening to us. If we don’t know where we want to go, soon enough we can find ourselves in uncomfortable places and with people whom we didn’t want to be with. Talking of people, “There are three types of people: those who let things occur, those who make them occur and then those who ask themselves what happened”. You have to decide which group you belong to and then accept the responsibility for your decision. Being a visionary is having the inner power to change and create the world around you. When a couple create a shared vision, they are linking the two individual visions. This link will strengthen what they have in common. It also helps them to be aware of their differences and, if necessary, agree to differ.
A relationship will grow in a functional way, and be based on deep foundations, when the shared and chosen pathway is clear to both of the partners. Two people, each with their individual uniqueness, working side by side towards a shared vision will have access to a broader range of capabilities. Together they can build a world of creativity, productivity and fun. They will also run into areas of conflict which the shared vision will help them to resolve. The reason that we create our personal vision and then create a shared vision together with our partner is to take us to conscious interaction and this is the objective of Conscious Relationship.
Principles and Values.
The Vision is grounded on Principles and Values. By implying them, or by making specific reference to them, they affirm the integrity of the Vision. To make it possible to put our Vision into practice and not just get stuck with the dream, we must clearly express in it the things that we value, what we believe in and what are the principles that we adhere to, that govern our lives.
Values are Traditional, Cultural and Individual. For example: cleanliness, orderliness, punctuality, dependability, achievement, discipline, obedience, sincerity, politeness, faithfulness, thrift, entertainment, recreation, independency, knowledge, etc.
Principles are Universal. For example: Love, Justice, Freedom, Contact, Trust, Sex, Respect and Meaning.
Conduct and Behaviour.
In a couple relationships, people will always be facing trans-cultural issues, even when both are from the same country or same city. Both Partners will have had different life experiences and different ways that they perceived those experiences. These differences will be manifested in the conduct and behaviour of each individual in the couple and the way how they attribute different levels of importance to the same value. This is why it is necessary to communicate and share the content of your personal vision with your partner. By openly comparing the two personal visions, the partners will see which attitudes they share and where they differ. This important knowledge about each other will bring them closer together and enable a deeper understanding of where possible friction is likely to come from.
Sources of conflict
Many of the conflictual situations in a couple will stem from misunderstandings due to the different levels of importance attributed to a particular Value or Principle. These levels influence how we see the world around us and how we prioritise. The differences in importance levels will be behind the limiting behaviour patterns that appear in the relationship and which, in reaction, trigger defence mechanisms. By talking about the values and discussing these incidents, each member of the couple will see what they can accept and what they can’t, confirm what is highly valued and what can be tolerated or ignored. There will be negotiation. Discussion will help to clarify the reasons underlying the levels of importance and whether these levels can be adjusted in the search for agreement in the process of change.
All the way along this journey of conscious relationship, Vision, Values and Principles will be present, guiding the partners in their decisions as to how they intend to travel, where they want to go to and in achieving what they want. These vital elements contribute to joyful sailing, the sharing of entertainment and hobbies and the resolution of conflicts.
For example, David is a plumber and self employed, he comes home at a different time almost every day. He is informal and laid back. His partner Jessica, is an accountant and leaves work at five on the dot. She is smart and fashion conscious and they both earn good money and enjoy going out together. On this particular evening, they have been invited round to dinner at the home of another couple they are friendly with. Jessica is already well dressed and ready to leave (cleanliness, punctuality) by the time David gets home, dirty and late (oops). On the way home, he detoured to help a friend who had called him in crisis with his heating system (dependability, achievement) and had a good chat with him (contact). This is clearly a powder keg situation waiting for ignition. Jessica is strong on punctuality, reliability, cleanliness and David is strong on dependability, politeness and achievement. She feels uncomfortable and disrespectful if she is late for an invitation or meeting and even more so if David is with her and not looking too tidy. He feels that the dinner friends will understand that it was important for him to help his friend out of a fix and display his capability of delivering the solution. The probable conflict here will be based on a misunderstanding or ignoring of the other’s values. She feels his “casual” attitude displays a lack of respect and love for her and he feels she doesn’t understand how important his skills are in these situations.
A couple that had worked on their shared vision, defined, understood and prioritized their values would be in a different situation. Being conscious of her Values, he would have called her to let her know what was happening and to apologise for not being able to get home on time, ending with a phrase like “I know how important punctuality is for you, I’m sorry that I have made us late Jess, (owning the situation) I love you and I’ll make it up to you” (sincerity, justice). Following this understanding connection, she could have been ready to help him get washed and shaved (cleanliness) and prepared to go out in the shortest time (love, patience).
Achieving the dream
In summary, to achieve our dream relationship, we need to know ourselves well and be familiar with what is in our heart. We should develop awareness, both of our own values and the values of anyone with whom we are considering intimately sharing our life, not only listening to what we say about ourselves but also observing how we actually model those beliefs, how we act them out in our lives. It will be just as important to patiently observe how the partner acts out their values. The relationship will be stronger and healthier if these practical, day to day values are held in common with the chosen partner. The lack of balance in these values should be a subject of discussion, as you search for ways to resolve the differences and come to solid agreements. To follow this process is just as essential to a couple before their engagement as it is to a couple who have been in a committed relationship for a long time.
This article has been inspired by discussions with Neida Guasamucare, Consultant of Conscious Movement, in Caracas Venezuela.
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About Viola & Michael
Viola came to Cyprus from Venezuela in 2002 to join Michael who was born on the island and returned from France in 1999. Viola and Michael are both therapists and trainers in Breathwork and they founded Kayana Ltd. in 2003. Viola specialises in Relationship Coaching, Business Consulting and Colour and Image. Michael has an engineering background and specialises in Massage and Watsu.