There are three of us in my marriage — me, my wife and the “We.” My wife and I cherish the presence of this third entity, the “We,” which forms the triangle of our relationship. Its presence, as “our life,” requires that both of us attend to its health. I advocate the acquiring of this “We” for every person, in any type of relationship.
Relationships are wondrous and complex structures shaping human beings from womb to grave. Housing the challenges of life, relationships provide opportunities for layer upon layer of self-discovery.
“We” is synonymous with a relationship filled with the behaviors that promise self-discovery, rather than just any ordinary interaction between two individuals. Among a larger group of behaviors, there are three that are very important, and help make a quality relationship possible. They are: an environment of positive intent, trust and truthfulness.
I will speak to the environment of positive intent because it is the foundation upon which everything that comes later in a quality relationship is built. The affirming environment of positive intent provides a safe harbor of familiarity, and is the wharf where the stout ships of shared compelling experiences are moored. When it comes time to set sail out of the harbor, a presumption of goodwill will have been gained, giving reason to stay the course without swerving to defend oneself against the “We” or the “other.” Fortunate are the few who, in a lifetime, can have just one such unguarded relationship.
When the presumption of goodwill is coupled with each individual’s commitment to work at their own growth edges, each person is relieved from the trap of being “pinned down” by the other, being blamed for the other’s psychological development and being the one who blames. Ordinary relationships are rife with confusion in many matters of life, because there is no such relief from blame and entrapment. Personal and cultural permission to pin blame for one’s pain, love, happiness or confusion onto the relational “other” obscures oneself and the other behind veils of denial, deflection and distortion.
When blame and entrapment are taken off of the table however, living in the adventure of “We” gifts each person with unparalleled insight into themselves as individuals, and themselves as the third entity, “We.”
The “We” resides in the presumption of goodwill, and this solace is earned on the seas of life that are stirred by an interest to learn in each other’s presence. Over time, life becomes a shared history filled with quality experiences lived together in an excitement that exceeds expectation.
A quality relationship is not the “We” alone however, but a dynamic interaction of the two individuals, and the relationship itself as the third entity. We frequently consider only a one-on-one interaction to be a relationship, but a team, organization, nation, species and planet fall clearly within the same dynamic. With that said, this article has been limited to describing a one-on-one relationship because that relationship embodies the same dynamic of all relationships: the agreement two entities make to be in proximity to each other in a climate of goodwill. This is why it takes three to tango and not just two.
The beauty of being a member of a quality relationship is that the joint wisdom of the creation (“We”) reinvents its creators, the two original individuals of the relationship. This reinvention provides the creators with insights and courage that expand their capacity for relating and self-discovery.
Once awakened to the myriad gifts the presumption of goodwill provides in the environment of positive intent, the continued challenge will be for each person in the relationship to engage the “We” and each other with reverence and respect. In forging this crucible you will be ready for the elevated experiments of trust and truth.
My wish is that you grace yourself with an unguarded “We,” which will provide the opportunity for you to have an unguarded self.