Relationships – The power of co-operation (part 3 of 3)
In the mechanics of ‘nature’ it is co-operation that allows a process of working or acting together for the common/mutual benefit, as opposed to working in competition for selfish benefit. There is complete harmony in cooperation. The alternative to cooperation, in terms of disharmony of relating, is a relationship that suffers from ‘co-dependency’.
We firstly need to explore what is underneath the story/ situation within relationship circumstances and begin to crystallise our understanding of the nature of the relationship dynamic that is operating. What are our respective roles that we have been playing out?
In addition to working on their respective roles of the couple, it is crucial that having identified ones own needs and wants, these are communicated effectively, transparently, negotiated fairly, and has a meaningful and beneficial outcome to both individuals. This requires ongoing practice, often with professional support, so as to enhance the skills of communication required in achieving a harmonious relationship.
Organising and building structured times not only for self- care, but also for the range of life areas that exist, facilitate a sound relationship. These life areas may include work, family, friends, social activities, recreation and a host of other aspects to a healthy lifestyle.
To shift the patterns of self-abandonment, and relationship stagnation firstly requires the awareness to see the value in making change. By taking each other for granted this only breeds complacency. By considering what is at stake in allowing things to remain as is, and potentially the trajectory of where the relationship may deteriorate, motivation can then be found for profound change. With this willingness to address these concerns, actions are required to be taken that serve the relationship (e.g. couples counselling), followed by ongoing approaches of maintenance.
So, with these mutual shifts that the couple make within themselves, we transform the relationship from one of constant attraction and repulsion, fraught with intensity and drama, to one with a steady exchange of intimacy and cooperation.
Exercise Question: What steps could you take to shift from a dynamic of competition to that of cooperation?
Author: David Kalmar