Maintaining Effective Relationships

Ground Rules for Maintaining
Effective Relationships

Unity Based Marriage Intimacy Rules for sharing life experiences inductive
to the spiritual and personal growth of both partners.

Purpose of Rules:

The purpose of the ground rules is to create a safe and healthy environment for
the group.  It is important that the group review these ground rules and that there
is consensus before setting marriage goals and directions.


1.  Confidentiality: Everything shared is confidential. What is said to the partner stays
     with them only. Sharing of personal conversations and confidentialities does not
     work for either partner or the good health of the marriage. Revealing another
     person’s secrets feels like betrayal to the other spouse.

2.  Compassion: Partners relate to each other with unconditional, compassionate
     acceptance of each other as human beings. Judgmental comments, unspoken
     thoughts and judgments threaten the relationship.  Read the Compassion Exercise.

3.  Truth and Integrity: Partners should be encouraged and supported by each other to
     honestly and authentically be who they are. Speaking the truth involves risk and can
     only occur safely in a compassionate environment where the listener acts with integrity.
     Partners agree not to throw their partners events, feelings and personality traits back
     in the face of their partner but rather to treat such confidences about past events with
     understanding and

4.  Respect: Partners must show respect for each other’s standing by not interrupting
     each other, arriving on time for routine events in the home such as meals, for
     appointments outside the home, and by not monopolizing the conversations.

5.  Conflict:  Whenever people come together and speak truthfully about their
     feelings, desires, and needs, the potential for misunderstanding, hurt feelings,
     and conflict exists.  If such a situation arises, the partners agree to address it within
     their own relationship on a one on one with each other and not take it to friends for
     their advice. Only you know your marriage and only the two of you can solve your own
     problems and make the appropriate adjustments.  Advice from friends, [not a therapist]
     can complicate a marital situation which might otherwise have been resolved easily by
     the partners. Unresolved conflict is toxic to the relationship as well as to each of the

6.  Participation: Partners agree to participate in discussions and activities
     Together, maintaining a good an fair balance of requests for the needs
     and desires of the partner. Each partner has the right to ask that a topic
     or outing be postponed to a more convenient or appropriate time.

7.  Each partner agrees to be a friend as well as partner, and support their 
      partner in processing their issues in a loving, respectful, and sup- 
      portive manner without the use of criticism, judgments, fault finding
      or blame assignment.

8.  Each partner agrees to use good listening techniques and good communication skills. 
     Cursing, disapproving, put downs, criticisms, judgments and labeling your partner or his
     actions just further complicates matters, shows a lack of understanding and care for the
     partner, and makes the partner’s efforts to heal whatever issue he is working on more
     difficult for him.

9.   Partners agree to treat each other as adults with minds, opinions,
      beliefs, and human foibles of their own, without fixing, saving, or  
      correcting them or treating them like children or lesser than competent

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