The Three Sets of Values
Embodied in the Relationship Enhancement® Model
Openness and Honesty + Caring and Compassion = Respect
Robert Scuka, Ph.D.
The Relationship Enhancement® (RE) Model advocates two complementary and counterbalancing sets of values that in turn lead to a third core value.
First, the RE Model promotes the values of openness and honesty in communication. It does so out of an awareness that feelings, concerns and desires that are not communicated can rob an intimate relationship of vitality and richness. The failure to communicate about difficult issues also tends to foster frustration, resentment and a loss of hope in the relationship. Over time, the failure to address issues can end up tearing at the fabric of a relationship, and in some cases can rip it apart. The RE Model thus encourages people to be pro-active in openly and honestly addressing relationship issues sooner rather than later, out of the recognition that it is better to address and resolve an issue than it is to allow it to fester and become an even bigger problem.
On the other hand, the RE Model also recognizes that openness and honesty can too easily take on the form of verbal aggressiveness that can cause pain and defensiveness in the partner and harm to the relationship. Therefore, the RE Model also promotes the values of caring and compassion as a necessary complement and counterbalance to the values of openness and honesty. It does so out of the recognition that it is the responsibility of the person expressing his or her point of view to ensure that the listener is not needlessly made to feel defensive by virtue of the expresser unskillfully impugning the personality or integrity of the listener. The RE Model thus encourages couples to communicate whatever either person has a need to communicate, but to do so with caring and compassion toward the other person. When these values are combined with the values of openness and honesty, then people can say virtually anything they want, because they will say it with caring and compassion.
When these two sets of values are combined together, they inevitably point to a third core value: Respect for the other person and the relationship. Respect for the other person means that I will not do or say anything that could be hurtful to my partner. Respect for the relationship means that I recognize that the relationship has needs of its own that transcend my own personal desires, and that sometimes it is necessary to do something out of a commitment to and for the sake of the relationship despite my own personal preferences. At this level, the RE Model is committed to promoting the covenantal nature of marriage and the selflessness that is a necessary ingredient of any committed relationship that is to be more than a matter of simply ensuring the satisfaction of one’s own desires.
© 2019 by Robert Scuka, Ph.D., M.S.W. All rights reserved.
Permission granted for use in therapy and educational programs.