I met Jonathan Fields, the creator of The Good Life Project, a few years ago through mutual friends. I had always been a big fan of his work so I was excited and honored when he invited me to be a guest on his GLP podcast. Jonathan asked my professional opinion on what couples should do when one is growing and evolving more or differently than the other. He went on to explain that some members of his intense mastermind were experiencing conflict in their relationships, as a result of their participation in his group. Jonathan asked me if I had any suggestions for how to remedy the situation and of course you know I did!

Personal growth at a different pace is common for many couples, especially if you were married young. In my client sessions and online, a lot of people come to me seeking guidance around their romantic relationships. They may say ‘I am on my path, but my partner isn’t. I’m scared we’ll drift apart.’ Or ‘My partner and I have completely separate interests, how can we stay connected?’ Jonathan is not the only person curious about how to handle growth in a relationship.

The first truth about romantic love is that not all relationships are meant to last forever. Some are for us to learn about ourselves, to stop repeating unfulfilling patterns or to learn for sure, what we don’t want in a relationship. For example, I had a client who married her high school sweetheart at the age of twenty one and by her mid thirties she had done a lot of personal growth work. She was in therapy and wanted to go back to school to get her masters to become a speech pathologist. Her husband, like her father, had never been supportive of her doing anything different. He was jealous and insecure and as she grew over the years, he remained the same. When she first came to see me she wanted to ‘work’ on her marriage but her husband was not willing to get into therapy as he saw the conflict as her problem. He repeatedly said, ‘You knew who I was when you married me. YOU are the one who has changed.” From the moment she walked in my door, I knew it was only a matter of time before the marriage ended because to resolve conflict, you need two people who are willing to work at it and he wasn’t. Humans evolving is inevitable. You can evolve consciously and with intention as she did or try to use a skill set and the self knowledge you had at twenty for the rest of your life, as he did. They split and she got her masters, started her new career and is about to get engaged. I believe there is a way for two people to continue to grow together and apart but both people need to be interested in striking that balance and finding the solution.

Relationships are about TWO individuals who maintain their own lives and create ONE together ~Unknown via @Terri_Cole {CLICK TO TWEET}


As a psychotherapist I am all for individual therapy and personal growth. However, it is vital to the success and happiness in relationships that couples consider each other on their paths. In healthy relationships, we grow and we want our partner to grow too. Creating a Couple Vision that you discuss and revise at least once a year is a great way to stay on the same path. This includes deciding how to spend your time, energy and resources. To keep the communication open I suggest all couples meet once a week over a meal or tea to have what I call, the State of the Union (get it?). This is an hour a week to give gratitude for what is working, share any grievances and make any simple requests you may have. Having a standing date to opening discuss any resentment that make be building is a way to normalize what may be considered difficult conversations. The more you talk the easier it gets and the closer you become.

To stay HEALTHY have a weekly How We Doing? sit down w your LOVE @Terri_Cole #talk {CLICK TO TWEET}

If two people are willing to work on a relationship, there isn’t much that can stop their success. I truly believe that couples that spend time together in ways that exercise their bodies and expand minds continue to grow together. So whether you are in a relationship that is new, or one that has lasted decades, now is the perfect time to reconnect, regroup and refocus on where you are, and where you want to be. And to all my singles out there envisioning how you want to feel in a relationship can be an awesome way to manifest new potential connections!

Now I want to hear from you in the comments below. What is your couples vision? Do you already have one? Or do you and your honey need to come together to create a shared outlook for the future? Either way let me know because you know I love connecting with you!

As always, take care of you.

Love Love Love



*image courtesy of Jimmy and Sasha Reade

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  1. I was that person.
    Several years ago I thought me and my husband grew apart so much, there is nothing that can be done.
    That was then and now….
    I’m happy to read what you wrote about it Terri. It made me realize those situations are not black and white, the problem has many variations.

    Here is one I’m annoyed by most: “what do you do with the people who stay behind you on the spiritual paaaaath?” Well? I was that person. From the perspective of time all I can say is: it is very arrogant thing to say. Only because your guy doesn’t listen to deepak or brene or wayne doesn’t mean he is “behind”. With the help of Marianne Williamson I realized everyone is on the path, but some people just don’t talk about it.
    I know you gave an example of someone who never changed, and my example is different.

    The perspective of time and observation also taught me that the women who usually ask the rhetorical question “What DO YOU DO WITH the people…” are lost themselves.
    They just started, they are high on the talk about the Universe ad the manifesting, etc and they feel lonely not being able to explore the subject with their S.O. So they think they drifted apart.
    And I was that person, and the time passed, and I realized that the person who I thought was behind was actually ahead of me.
    Some people just don’t talk about it.

    1. Thank you for your insightful post Joanna. Marianne is amazing and her statement is true. Everyone IS on a spiritual path whether they talk about it or even know it. Well done on shifting your perspective. xo

  2. A great article, thanks. I think the important objective in any relationship is to be free to grow in the direction you would like. Very different people can live happily together. For one of them the growth would be, for example, in looking deeper into oneself, for another it could be the perfection of one’s craft. As long as BOTH are happy to give the other side the permission to be themselves, the relationship could be beautiful.

    1. Thanks Alexandra! I agree that it is vital for both partners to give the other permission to be who they are, and to change and grow 🙂

  3. Love this, and love you. AND the fact that you credit photographers on your blog gets you MAD RESPECT from me and all photographers. I can’t believe how many smart women are stealing photos. YOU Terri are 100% class. Much thank you, on many fronts, for all that you do. <3 ~ Caroline

    1. Completely off topic, but you Caroline, made me want to run andgive credit to photographers on my website. I buy them on depositphotos and use my photos, and i think many use nicknames there but it can still help them sell more by writing their nickname, i guess!

  4. This article is written with love and support but a key message is not all relationships are meant to last.

    In fact there is very good reason why 99.999999999 (a trillion 9s) per cent of the population are not with the first person they dated in high school, by the time they round 30.

    I am of the firm belief that when you get together young, no matter what you think, the relationship is built on juvenile foundations, and that will come home to roost no matter what you do. Think of 17 year olds building a skyscraper and then think of mature adults building the Empire State Building. The crucial foundations and support are planned out by mature adults who know what they’re doing and what they want. The kids will stay together but what they will construct is a multi storey shanty town that will at some stage collapse, it’s just a matter of when, and the percentages overwhelmingly support it. You cannot rebuild the original foundations.

    I think too many people beat themselves up about the collapse or erosion of their relationship choices as if this demonstrates that they are imperfect or something else is wrong with them. Try and build a skyscraper when you’re 17 and see how you go. Then try to do it when you’re older, wiser, more experienced and can anticipate better what the foundations really need to be.

    Enjoy your life and accept that things change, most importantly you change, for the better!

    1. Thanks Mal. It is true that with age comes wisdom and that each relationship has it’s own path and it’s own lesson. Thanks for your comment.

      1. Thank you Terri, I really do appreciate articles like yours and the way in which you professionally seek to support people who are in some sort of emotional crisis or at a crossroads, support with gentle love.

        I’d add to my comment that nothing in this world is done “right” without there being mistakes made first. Look around at everything you see and guaranteed there was an evolution, mistakes, better and better iterations. There HAS to be mistakes and you HAVE to make mistakes in order to grow, learn and become a better person. Relationships are not immune to this so don’t beat yourself up about mistakes! Embrace them if you want to grow.

        You may not build the Empire State Building of relationships guaranteed at a certain age, but you’d have to think that along the way, at every attempt, you’re a better and better version of yourself.

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