1. Share all your money in a joint account; do not retain any as owned by one person
We decided quite early in our relationship that holding money outside the relationship, i.e. personally, only made sense if we were anticipating splitting up. Since we were planning to be together for the rest of our lives there was no reason for not sharing everything. We also discovered that doing this reinforced our commitment to making the relationship work and observed that couples who did not do this were often missing this level of commitment. However we have also observed one relationship where the income levels were so disparate that the low earner wanted to keep money separate so that presents purchased for the higher earner represented a real gift from their income.
2. Take turns to prioritise each others’ careers
If both people in a relationship have active careers that they wish to advance then conflicts between the requirements of the careers are extremely likely. When we came to such a point we decided to take it in turns. Eva supported me running a business for four years and subsequently I supported her finding her Ukrainian family, reconciling with her step-father and writing a book about the process. One author on enlightenment observed that in successful relationships one person is the power giver and the other the power distributor – the one who is active in the world. This is consistent with the strategy that we have adopted.
3. Never use sex as a weapon in relationship conflicts, instead be willing to satisfy your partner sexually whenever asked to do so.
This is a difficult principle to clarify because sexual issues are often caught up in relationship problems, or may have a history of having been caught up. My first formulation of the principle was “never refuse each other sexually” – but this inevitably ran into difficulties for anyone with a history of having been coerced into having sex. The aim here is not to support coercion but to support the development of sexual intimacy between the partners. We have found this can be done by being willing to give our partner sexual pleasure even when the giver may not feel turned on or even sexual. Someone can still use their hands even if they have a headache!
4. Maintain a level of independence through personal activities and friendships
We have done a very large number of things together; running groups, running Enlightenment Intensives, working in my energy business as well as bringing up four children. But we have also maintained independent activities and friendships. This enables us to bring new stuff into our relationship and develop a sense of ourselves outside the relationship. We sometimes refer to this in terms of there being three entities involved, Jake, Eva and our relationship – and we need to nurture them all.
5. Find explicit ways to learn from each other; avoid competing.
We have very different strengths and character structure – so much so that we come at most issues from diametrically opposed directions. For example Jake is currently learning to allow others to see his vulnerability, Eva is learning to allow others to see her strength and Mastery. What this means is that we each know a lot about what the other needs to learn. Rather than use this as a basis for competing or putting each other down we explicitly address working together and learning from each other.
6. Maintain a practice for increasing personal awareness.
Throughout our relationship we have had a wide range of different practices for developing our individual awareness – and they have often been different. Indeed there is an advantage for each of us to stay in touch with what we need to pay attention to next and to employ a practice that serves that need. Eva has tended to prefer practices based around a teacher or guru whereas Jake has always favoured self-discovery and self-willed approaches. There are various personal awareness techniques described in the <a href="“>Tools section of this website.