The Cornerstones of Love
posted: Jan. 18, 2024.
In the past 15 years my couples therapy clinic in Los Angeles, California, helped hundreds of couples transform their relationships, heal the wounds of the past, and co-create a better, more fulfilling future together. Some couples come for marriage counseling after they have spent decades together, and some come for pre-marital counseling after knowing each other for less than a year. Different age groups and cultures, gay couples and transgender partners, monogamy through polyamory, I had the privilege of working with the full gamut of unions.
In this beautiful diversity, one of the recurring themes is the “fix my partner” motif. When my clients start psychotherapy, there is often a secret wish on their part for me to work my magic and “fix” their beloved, since the partner is seen as the source of the problem.
Although couples therapy often involves change for both partners, as well as for the relationship as a whole, there are three cornerstones of trust that build a firm foundation for our union. These are principles that you can apply today and see how your relationship transforms:
1. Acting in Good Faith
Acting in good faith means consistently having our partner’s best interest in mind. We want to show our partner we love them and are committed to them by taking them into account in all decisions we make and all actions we take. This sends a powerful message and produces an incredible boost to the trust and connection in our relationship.
In each healthy relationship, it is vital to have both, personal space for the aspects of our life that are our own (thoughts, feelings, career, hobbies, fantasy, etc) and shared space where the relationship and shared experiences unfold (romance, family planning, finances, shared adventures etc). Our partner requires our permission to access our personal space and transparency does not mean that they are entitled to full access to our experience. It means that we share important aspects of our experience with them because they are important enough for us to invite them in. The opposite of transparency is intentionally omitting information relevant to the relationship or outright lying. Transparency in the relationship strengthens our sense of safety and connection.
3. Attitude of generosity
The opposite of the attitude of generosity is keeping a tally. Few things in intimate relationships are less attractive than that. The attitude of generosity means extending and giving to our partner as much as we give ourselves. Here we speak of resources of all kinds – material and otherwise. To summarize it in words would sound something along the lines of “all that is mine is yours and I give you as much as I give myself.” It is the expression of our love and appreciation for our beloved and it will reward us with the same in return.
Now that you are armed with the 3 cornerstones of love and trust, try it out.