Fundamental to understanding how relationships actually work, it’s essential to appreciate that two people are always co-creating their relationship — right from the moment they meet. They indicate what they like and what they don\’t, what they’ll put up with or not, how generous they are, emotionally, spiritually, monetarily, or not. They speak up for themselves or they don\’t, and they receive the caring coming their way or they can\’t.

This two-way give-and-take goes on throughout the life of any relationship, either in the service of the love and romance two people share or in undermining it.

For example, until we moved to our country home in upstate New York, we\’ve always had someone who cleaned for us and did our laundry. Here, we do most of it ourselves.

Jim has been in the habit of pulling off his socks inside out and wearing them that way, if not reversed after they’re washed. (He doesn\’t notice it!). Judith hates to see him look like an absent-minded professor, and she now does the laundry. So she asked Jim to please put his socks in the laundry basket right side out.

Notice, if she hadn\’t asked, Jim would never have known this was an issue for her. AND she would have been annoyed every time she “had to” turn them right side out. So she showed her love for herself and for Jim in the request. Jim could have refused and ignored her, which would have violated his love for her and the relationship. Or, he could respect that Judith has a thing about socks being right side out that he doesn\’t, and agree to her request –thereby showing his love every time he turns his socks right side out.

A simple example, right? Even a bit simplistic? But it\’s just these kinds of issues that simmer into marriage-breaking catastrophes — or provide the joy of very real romance every day of your life together.

Judith feels loved every time she folds Jim\’s right side out socks and Jim feels loving every time he turns them right side out before they hit the laundry basket. You might still be saying — “Sheesh, what\’s the big deal?!!” But it is precisely when we ignore daily irritations that
love loses its wonder and joy, and, in time, dies altogether.

Genuine love is always a two-way dance, an ongoing collaboration in consideration for yourself and for the other person. If you are feeling victimized in your relationship, please notice how you allow it. If you feel you get falsely accused of being the “cause” of all the problems, notice how you\’ve allowed that idea to develop.

It\’s never too late to change how you express your personal power and care for one another. Just be sure you see that you both share the power, no matter how you use it or what it looks like on the surface.

To find out how available you are to use it well, and in the service of romantic connection, understanding, and respectful caring of yourself and one another, please take our Romantic IQ Quiz at

Married psychology team and best-selling authors, Drs. Judith Sherven and James Sniechowski have redefined the future of weddings. From now on brides AND grooms will be co-partners every step along the way. Be sure to read an excerpt from their new book - "The Smart Couple's Guide to the Wedding of Your Dreams." Just go to