Dream Relationship Checklist

Surviving or Thriving

What if there was a checklist of things we could do to have our DREAM relationship? Dreaming, envisioning, aspiring, these are invitations to curiosity, hope, and self-awareness. When curiosity is on board, connection is possible. Curiosity is a close cousin to safety. Relationships thrive when there is safety. When in distress we turn towards each other, especially when our partner is the cause of our stress or distress. The alternative to thriving is survival. And we all have gotten damn good at survival. 

Negative bias default

Survival is our default response to conscious and unconscious cues of danger inside, in the world around us, and in between us and others. Our meaning making of these cues is wired from our earliest days of development. Adult relationships are our opportunity to rework our wiring. The changes we long for occur when we feel safe enough. No safety, no change. 

Connection is co-regulation

Warm, reliable, consistency supports safety. Connection results when  welcoming, engaging, and initiating are present. What we say and do matters. Our relationships live in the space between us. If we fill this space with delight, acceptance, appreciation, we receive them back. When we put shame, blame, criticism and cynicism into the space between us, we get them back, as well. We get better at whatever we practice. When I regulate, you regulate. We co-regulate to be connected.

Dream big!

What is your DREAM relationship? If you allow yourself to wildly dream about your deepest longings and most aspirational relationship, what would it look like? My dream relationship is fun, warm, playful and connected. We are adventurous and planning for the future. We enjoy each other’s company, celebrate our differences, and expand our capacity to accept each other exactly as we are. We are intentional about tending our connection, supporting each other’s passions, and owning what we put in the space between us. We continue to share our wild dreams such as spending a year together on a boat traveling the Great Loop. 

Dream Relationship Checklist

What practices add up to a DREAM relationship?  We learned that what we say and do really does matter. We create safety and connection in our relationship when we: 

  • use intentional Imago Dialogue to express appreciations and share fears or concerns
  • look for all that is good, right, and appealing in each other
  • replace shame, blame, criticism and cynicism with curiosity, acceptance, and self-awareness
  • offer each other daily appreciations
  • are curious about our selves, when something is bothering us about the other person
  • celebrate the aspects that are different between us
  • laugh together, hug each other, and express tenderness
  • listen, understand and validate each other
  • accept 100% responsibility for what we put in the space between us

Get help if you need it

This may seem like a tall order. But like every really important thing, practice makes progress. If your relationship is wobbly, perhaps now is the time to make a plan to shore up your foundation. Perhaps you are coming out of a hard time and have turned away from each other in your distress, turn back and recommit. Sometimes we just need a tune-up or a refresher on what is really important. And for others, life may have dealt you a very hard hand and you need more than a tweak or two. Where ever you are in your relationship there is always hope with Imago. And there is help too.

Hayley Hoffman and David Dworkin are offering Getting the Love You Want, a weekend immersion workshop for couples longing for their Dream Relationship. Sept 29-Oct 1, 2023 in-person in Metro DC. Join us!