I was talking to a good friend lately about relationships and love - not from a professional standpoint, but from a personal one. We talked about what our priorities are now in our current stage in life.
My friend shared some wise words with me. Something along the lines of,
"...my priorities are about love, safety, and [emotional] security...".
I was touched by her sentiment. Because at the core, her message resonated with a deep sense of longing that I recognize in myself, and in most of the individuals and couples I have the privilege to work with.
We all want this: a love that prioritizes care, comfort, and [emotional and physical] safety. Because what good is it to be sharing a life with someone when there is an empty space in the midst of two?
I talk [a lot] about expectations in relationships:
What are yours, what are mine, what are ours? Did we define and clarify them? Have they stayed the same or have they evolved as our relationship has grown? Which ones are flexible and which ones are not? Are we on the same page?
But truthfully, I realized that I have not talked much, explicitly, about priorities in a relationship. Because I'm working from a premise that the couple sitting in front of me wants the same thing. But, what if they don't?
These same questions should be asked about our priorities in love:
- What are your priorities in your relationship?
- How do you envision attaining them?
- And, cultivating them as your relationship evolves?
- Do they align with your partner's priorities?
The difference between these two is that expectations are beliefs that 'something' will happen - and in a relationship, this mostly refers to behaviors, attitudes, actions; things that can be shifted, changed, compromised with.
Priorities, however, are conditions that are regarded as important, as a definite must - more in line with our values. These are harder to change and compromise. And maybe you shouldn't - but you should make sure that whoever you're sharing your life with in love, has the same priorities as you.
From now on, I will make an adjustment in my way of approaching love talk - at work and outside.
I hope you feel encouraged to do the same.