How to Envision Your Ideal Relationship

Thanks to a comment by David on my last post, I was moved to dig out the “Vision of Our Relationship” that my partner I co-created about 3 years ago. Prominently posted to the bathroom mirror for a couple of years, it was more recently lost in the shuffle of back-to-back household moves. Anyway, I just made three new copies – one for the bathroom mirror, again, and one for each of our computer areas, where we both tend to spend a lot of time. Ideally, being the most-sane-with-structure kind of person that I am, my partner and I would revisit this vision, together, over a cup of tea each year on some momentous occasion such as our anniversary. Luckily, for me, my partner responds well to these types of suggestions, but, I have to admit, I haven’t suggested it lately. I guess I’ve been in too much disarray with all this moving. Visioning (or is it Envisioning) Really Works!Anyway, in looking at the relationship vision we put together three years ago, I’m happy to say that most of our vision is becoming reality — even some parts that we thought were pretty far-fetched have come to fruition… WAY COOL! This makes me realize that even though I have issues with the highly materialistic parts of The Secret, I have to say that this Law of Attraction stuff really works!

How Do You Create a Relationship Vision?

There are several different approaches that can be used to envision your ideal relationship. Others will be covered in future posts, but for now, since the Imago approach is what my partner and I used, I’ll share that one. First of all, at least in the edition of the book that I have (Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples by Harville Hendrix, Ph.D.) “Your Relationship Vision” is Exercise 1 in the back of the book. These are the steps, paraphrased (you and your partner do this exercise together).

Working separately, each of you will write down on a piece of paper short sentences that capture your ideal vision of a deeply satisfying love relationship.

Each sentence should be written in the present tense, as if it is already happening, and should be stated positively– i.e. don’t use words like “We don’t” or “We won’t”. Some of the visions we wrote down were:

  • We laugh a lot with each other!
  • We are freely affectionate with each other
  • We fight fairly

Get together and share your sentences, noting the ones that you have in common. If your partner has written statements that you also would like to see in your relationship, add them to your list.

Separately, again, each of you will rank each item on your list with a number from 1 to 5–1 being “very important” and 5 being “not so important.”

Together again, design a mutual relationship vision with input from both of your lists, starting (obviously) with items you both have ranked as most important. Hendrix also suggested that you put check marks next to items that either of you feel would be difficult to achieve. (I found this eye-opening when, looking at our list years later, we saw that we had definitely achieved those — it made us both feel that more was possible).

This last step is to bring the list into your life! Post it somewhere that you can see it daily. Hendrix even recommends that you read it aloud to each other weekly. For us, that wasn’t necessary, but some people may find it helpful.

Here is an example vision, given in the book (I would question the autonomy of the last item, but this is Hendrix’ example).
Shared Vision Sample

If you haven’t already done this type of exercise, or if its been awhile, get together with your partner and take a crack at it. And….. VERY IMPORTANT~ if you are single, this is a great approach to envision the relationship that you want to attract into your life! Have You Created a Relationship Vision? I’d be interested in hearing from others who do this exercise, and from those of you who have already done it. Please share, at the level of disclosure you are comfortable with:

  • The immediate benefits, if any, of doing the exercise, itself
  • Whether or not any issue came up for you and your partner while doing the exercise
  • How often you talk about the vision with your partner
  • What the results have been

Looking forward to supporting all of our relationships through sharing insights,

Becky

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5 responses to “How to Envision Your Ideal Relationship

  1. Copied from relationships501.typepad.com before blog was moved to a different blogging host.
    —-

    Becky, I LOVE that exercise! J. and I did that about a year ago, though I have to say I haven’t looked at it in a while. I will have to dig it up and see how we are doing on our relationship vision. I am guessing that we will be able to see that most of our vision has come true. Since you brought up the Secret I would like to say that something I really like about it is the fact that the whole Law of Attraction is grounded in gratefulness. The fact already appreciating our lives can bring more abundance and satisfaction is a very important concept and one that I think is lost in our culture, for the most part, and is an important message for all of us to hear. To draw a parallel with this Relationship Visioning exercise, I like that Harville asks that we write our vision in the present tense. For me, this implies a gratefulness and appreciation for what is already happening in our relationship and making note of positive energies already in place and working in the relationship.

    Thanks again for your thoughts, and providing this blog to stimulate discussion of these important issues.

    Metta,

    David

  2. Copied from relationships501.typepad.com before blog was moved to a different blogging host.
    —-

    I am really impressed with the wealth of relationship knowledge you are putting together in clear and understandable ways. I was actually an Imago Therapy “FLUNKY” as after a previous partner and I attended couples therapy with an Imago Therapist, as well as doing one of her trainings, we walked into therapy one day and she threw her hands in the air and claimed there was not much she could do for us. My partner and I walked out of the office and with shocked looks on our faces began to laugh. Being “fired” by our therapist was actually a very bonding experience. Which I suppose I am grateful for, because of course we could have gone into the “blame game” in which case we may have ended our relationship right then and there. We stayed together for about 6 more years and actually did some great work with another couples’ therapist who studied and trained with the other Hendricks’ Gay and Katie Hendricks. I am curious that you haven’t delved into their work yet. Their personal and couples’ work is based on “taking 100% responsibility” for creating what arises in your relationship to self and other. It really short circuits the “blame game” and asks for in depth self exploration into motivations, patterns, and awareness of how we create what is happening in our lives. Very “The Secret” Very Law of Attraction. In fact Gay Hendricks has done some great work on Manifestation that parallels “the Secret.” One point he makes is that when we begin to manifest a particular thing, we will often be met with all of our fears and resistances. It’s almost like we wake them up. So as I have manifested the most loving, nurturing, supportive, sexy relationship of my life, I get to meet all my fears of receiving, surrendering and self-acceptance. A juicy chunk of growth to step right on into. And I take fully responsibility for knowing what my needs are. Determining if they fit in categories of either autnomy or connection and then deciding how to get them met. Tolerating the differences, because of course when I want connection sometimes my partner is off in another world and not available for connection, so I ask for a later time when connection is more of an option. I’m guessing many of you have mastered this and learned how to get what you want even if you get to wait. I am surprised at how much interest this provoked in me and am curious to see how it progresses. Thanks for the opportunity to ramble.
    Peace,
    Deb Azorsky
    dazorsky@earthlink.net

  3. This looks like a very cool exercise. My spouse and I have not done anything like that together, even though we do talk about these things quite a bit. We both are strong visual learners, so the act of writing down the relationship and posting it might prove to be beneficial. I’m positive about the idea.

  4. My co-worker said to check out this web site. (We live in different states, have different jobs, but work for the same company.)

    I read the example worksheet wrong. Several times. I kept thinking that 1 was “not important” and 5 was “important.” The people in the example were so alien to me that I had trouble getting it.

    My wife heard me mumbling and came over and saw the screen. She was intrigued. We’ll see. It looks like a good idea, but I’m a little nervous of what our results will be.

  5. Pingback: Feeling Like a "Relationship Failure?" « Relationships 501: Deep Discourse on Relating

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