“Great relationships are woven from strands of laughter, thoughtfulness and shared experience to create a taonga of trust, respect and intimacy – not work but a labour of love”
- Have fun! Laughing with those who share your values and sense of humour never gets old.
- Pay attention to details; how their cultural/spiritual beliefs play out, what comfort food they need in times of stress, how their body moves when you touch them, what inspires their passion.
- Don’t expect them to read your mind; share your thoughts and feelings and ask questions to make sure you under- stand theirs.
- Support their interests, commit to your own and make shared goals; you don’t have to agree on everything or be together all the time to consider a shared future.
- Be sure they are worthy of your respect and you are worthy of theirs; that will last long after the lust settles down.
- Negotiate rather than compromise; fit in everything important to each of you – involuntary sacrifice and martyrdom only leads to resentment.
- Be your best self in private as well as in public; relaxing shouldn’t mean saving up all your stress and grumpiness for them to make you feel better.
- Throwing tantrums and fighting is not flash: there can’t be a fight if one of you doesn’t join in – you’ll get to the real issues and peaceful solutions only when you’ve calmed down.
- Take responsibility for sorting out your own issues; your up-bringing and any childhood abuse impacts on your intimate relationships – they shouldn’t have to suffer for it.
- Remember they had a life before you; be proud of sharing your new love with the whānau, family and friends who already love them.
￼Elizabeth (left) with her partner Alofa Aiono – since 1992 and counting…
Elizabeth has over 30 years of experience working within Māori and other community organisations. She has been active in rainbow communities for over 20 years, with a focus on the health and wellbeing of Takatā