The 3 Primary Relationship Roles for Couples

Painting of couple who are best friends sitting on the roof of a car watching the sunset

Take yourself back to the halcyon days of the summer of 2013 – 14.  I was simultaneously navigating the unfamiliar territory of online dating, and learning how to successfully implement the 3 primary relationship roles. What I learned is not rocket science, my dear friends, it is simple as all get out; I create my reality, I attract the people in my life through my attitudes & behaviour, and I can change all of that in an instant.

At that time I had been 6 months single after a 6 year clusterfuck of a relationship and I was looking for a way to NOT EVER do that again. I was learning so much about myself and what I wanted for my life. I spent my days working & studying coaching, and my weekends in the golden triangle between Nobby’s beach, the Newcastle Baths, and coffee shops of Darby St.

What are the 3 Primary Relationship Roles?

In the course of our lives we live & breathe so many different roles in so many different moments that it can feel like the United States of Tara in there! At least it felt that way for me (Business Owner. Lover. Friend. Trainer. Coach. Yoga Teacher. Runner. Daughter. Sister)… it seemed like I was trying to squeeze all of these roles into the one skin…

What I mean by identities is the aspects of ourselves, the roles that we play in the different contexts of our lives. I see so many couples who attempt to fulfil the relationship roles of Husband, Wife, Partner, Parent… no wonder they lose their way. For what does it truly mean to BE those roles? In my world, nothing. Nothing because how do you DO those roles? The only real criteria for being a husband or a wife, is that you are married. There is no ACTION to it. To be a partner? An agreement. And at the end of the day it is only a title.

Relationship Role #1 – Best Friends

Best friends is the element that sustains your love beyond any challenge or change in your lives. Best friends do anything for each other- not just the easy stuff.

I hear people say they would do anything for their partner, they would catch a grenade, take that trip to Mars, do anything for love; grandiose and dramatic gestures. And then, when they are asked to, they won’t hold hands. Say “I love you”. Or do something FUN. Suddenly “anything” becomes “the limited menu of things that fit into my zone of comfort and according to my current perception of what you currently deserve based on what you are doing for me...” OUCH!

If you think about the qualities and values that are important to you, you’ll notice that there are some invisible rules you have that let you know who is a close friend.With your best friend, it is the little things done often that make the meaning.

The relationship roles of lovers creators will lead to expression, but no trust without the expectations, communication, and connection of best friends.

Relationship Role #2 –  Lovers?

Lovers brings the real magic of an intimate relationship. It is the element that is unique to you as a couple, that tells people THIS relationship is special. We are lovers! Sexual energy is the energy of creation. It is the energy of life, and of vitality.

It doesn’t need to be literally sex, it is that sense of anticipation, seduction, and passion. Not only in the bedroom, in your life! All pleasure is derived from anticipation, seduction and passion. You may be alone at home and romancing yourself with candles, wine, and brie. Perhaps your passion is about your work, your play, your partner. I can tell predict a couple’s sex life by looking at those energies in their lives!

The relationship roles of best friends creators will lead to passion, but no spark without the romance, intimacy, and sexuality of lovers.

Relationship Role #3 – Creators?

The third and final element is Creators. This is the measure of the longevity of your relationship.

A relationship without a purpose will die. That is why so many relationships end when the children grow up!

For Jimmy T and I, this is a really big deal. We are very focused on what we want to build together, and what our legacy will be. Why else are we walking this world!? Creators is all about legacy. What is it that we would like for people to say about us 30 years after we’re gone? Do we want to model Michelle and Barack Obama? Bill and Melinda Gates? Or perhaps we look to the legacy of Ellen & Portia DeGeneres? If philanthropy isn’t your bag, maybe your legacy is;

  • the type of adults your children become
  • a fur baby you both raise
  • a  business you build together,
  • a scientific discovery you make

Whatever it is, it must be something that you both create, love, and nurture together.

The relationship roles of best friends lovers leads to creation, but no future without the conception, collaboration and calibration of creators.

Where do we go from here?

Each intimate relationship moves through cycles and stages where different relationship roles are emphasised. Equally, relationships move through cycles and stages where different relationship roles take a back seat. The most important thing is to have awareness of that, and take action.

It can be as simple as bringing more energy, time, and attention to a specific relationship role. You can do that alone, with your partner, or with help.