TX Shared Meaning of the Relationship

Posted by: Dr. Justin D'Arienzo, Psy.D., ABPP

4. Shared meaning of the relationship: Supporting each other’s hopes and dreams and having a shared understanding of the meaning brings us to the last section of the Sound Relationship House. If we are able to achieve friendship, see our partner through a positive lens, and resolve conflict, then we are ready for this last component. This component involves having shared rituals, goals, roles and symbols with each other.

  • Rituals: Finding shared rituals is important. Rituals bring us together, give us security, and provide us with an activity that we look forward to. Ask yourself what type of rituals you would consider creating with your partner. What are the rituals that you engage in within your family? Do you eat dinner together, are there special celebrations that you all value, do you share values regarding television, education, time spent together?


  • Goals: Just as it is important to have developed rituals, successful couples have shared goals and visions for their lives and the relationship. An effective relationship is one that supports each person achieving their own personal goals as well as the goals of their partner. Ask yourself and your partner, do you honor each other’s goals, do you have similar financial goals, do you have compatible life dreams, do you each value the accomplishments of the other, and do your life paths fit well together?


  • Roles: In an effective and functional relationship, each person has an agreed-upon role or roles that are supported by the other. Ask yourself, do you support each other in your role in the family, does one of you have an expectation that you hold a particular role that is not shared by the other? How does this impact your relationship?


  • Symbols: In a functional partnership, individuals understand their partner’s meaning behind symbols and factors related to daily living. It is not necessary to have the same understanding or meaning with symbols but it is paramount that we appreciate what the following means to our partner. It is also important not to just appreciate but to honor our partner’s meaning and reality of these symbols.  Some key symbols include:
    • The home
    • Money
    • The meaning of family
    • The role of sex
    • Fun and play
    • Trust
    • Personal freedom
    • Autonomy
    • Sharing power
    • Adventure