Two Keys to A Thriving, Mature, Long-Term Partnership

photo by Leland Francisco, flickr, creative commons If you want to thrive and really deepen over the long haul, you must have two components in place for marriage success:

1) shared context and

2) share language/tools.

In other words, if you are growing and your spouse isn’t, it’s not going to work.

You will simply outgrow them.

They will feel judged while you will feel unmet.

Of course, if you want to stay in this type of relationship, you could make it work if you, the growth-oriented person, chooses to abandon yourself and collude with your less growth-oriented partner’s fear. “I love you so much, I will stop growing for you.”


This “agree to disagree” approach is complacency rooted in fear for both of you.

If you do try to make it work, this approach leads to endless frustration and struggle or, an overall giving up, settling, and checking out.

I see it often.

And, there’s another way…

Believe it or not, you can have what  you want relationally.

It’s true.

And it requires that you love yourself much deeper than you think is possible and that you heal your own past that is showing up in your present relationship.

If you commit to this, the game of getting the other person to love you just right way, ends.

When you have a shared context, it means you agree to the foundational framework for your marriage.

For example, you could agree that your framework is to make each other happy.

I think that is a recipe for failure, but many couples want to agree to that one.

Another, more mature example is to agree that you are going to grow, to expand, and to learn from each other, even in the most uncomfortable of times. You won’t run away. You’ll agree to getting under the fight (often a symptom) and address the real issue.

When you have a shared language & tools, it sets you both up for success.

For example, your shared language is to take responsibility for your experience and triggers in the relationship. You both agree to use words like “I” instead of “you.” You agree to talk about resentments and triggers openly, rather than pretend like they are not going on. You find new tools (like everywhere on this website) and use them together, instead of separately.



  • Lindsey H.

    Reply Reply October 16, 2013

    Thanks again for another encouraging and relative read. It’s definitely true what you said about the past peaking its little head in to relationships. There is no getting away from it because they are part of your history and how you’ve learned to be or not be. If your experiences have affected you negatively, and they are not being talked about, it’s going to show up in your relationships. That’s been true for me, anyway. I’m still working on the self-forgiveness part.

  • James Nakamura

    Reply Reply October 23, 2013

    Great stuff as usual Jayson. This article does leave me wanting to know more. It seems like you are saying that both parties need to commit to grow and heal. The issue then is what happens when only one does so? That unbalance looks like a death sentence for relationships. What I found is that my situation looks like we’re not speaking the same language. It is hard for me to determine if I need to grow or she does. Perhaps it’s a little of both.
    Anyway, good food for thought and great insight.

Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field