How often does it seem that within weeks of starting a relationship we find ourselves dealing with the unpleasant feelings of a conflict. In my younger years, I’d work to avoid them by quickly twisting myself into the kind of person I thought my new friend or lover wanted me to be. But in spite of all my efforts, the conflicts would still arise. Before long I’d be stuffing hurt and anger and would eventually find enough reasons to end the relationship. What I didn’t understand was that I had no idea how to take care of myself in a relationship. All I knew was how to be in a relationship the same way my mother had. Like many women she lost herself in her marriage, giving up her dreams for his and putting her needs last in order to serve the needs of her family. Neither my mother nor I knew that we had the right to set boundaries and get our needs met. Consequently we both felt dissatisfied in our relationships.
In early 1993 Devin, my spirit guide, contacted me during a dream state for the first time. I learned he had come to help me change how I interact in my relationships. Among other things, he taught me the importance of boundaries. For the next five years I worked on boundaries, learning to set them in all areas and all relationships. By 1995, I had changed my life from one that was self-destructive on many levels to one that was much more fulfilling. I ended a 3-year love relationship which had been so painful that each time we broke up; I’d pray that I wouldn’t have to go back. When it finally came to an end, I was not only relieved to be free of the pain but felt as if I had just graduated from a very tough training program.
For the following two years, except for an occasional date, I steered clear of men, choosing to focus on my spiritual education instead. When my husband Jonathan appeared on the scene in late 1997, I felt I was ready to make the leap into a marriage again. It had been nine years since my divorce from Rick, my second husband and father of our daughter, Danielle. I felt I had learned all I needed to know to ensure I’d have a marriage that was enriching and satisfying, but I was about to find out differently. Marriage tends to bring to light all the areas in which we aren’t dong what it necessary to be safe and get our needs met in a relationship. Before long I realized that the boundaries I had established to that point were not enough. In fact, they had become a real point of conflict. What I didn’t realize was that unless I verbally stated them they were hidden expectations and Jonathan had to read my mind to discover them. That was anything but fair. And to make matters worse , when he didn’t intuit them correctly, causing me pain, I made him feel guilty for hurting me by telling him that if he loved me, he’d know what I needed. But that was not all. I didn’t negotiate with him so that my boundaries were a win/win for both of us. In other words, in return for honoring one of my boundaries, I’d honor one of his.
The years that followed saw me learning the lessons of agreements from a man who had become an expert at creating and negotiating them. To say it was challenging for me was an understatement. Initially, I felt that his agreements were just another way to manipulate me, but with time and a whole lot of patience on his part, I finally saw the light. I discovered, to my surprise, that trust, something I had always wanted in relationships but just couldn’t seem to get, was created by agreements. I also found that agreements enabled me to feel safe and satisfied. And, as that was not enough, I discovered that my quest to develop self-esteem, something that always seemed to elude me, came to an end. Agreements build self-esteem because when we honor our agreements, even when we don’t want to, we develop integrity and integrity is the foundation of self-esteem. We have value when our word means something. Thanks to Jonathan and agreements I no longer feel bad about myself and my life has changed to reflect that.
In this booklet I explore the various aspects of agreements and how Jonathan and I apply them in our lives. I hope the information within will be as helpful to you as it has been to me.