For many years we’ve had no-fault insurance. Then along came no-fault divorce. What’s next? How about no-fault relationships?  Over the years I’ve noticed that couples who have problems tend to play the blame game. Each blames the other for whatever’s wrong with the relationship. Making it his fault or her fault has the benefit of relieving both partners of taking responsibility for their part in the matter. However, it also prevents any kind of meaningful communication or growth.

As a result, I have come up with the 10 Commandments of the No-Fault Relationship, which I try to teach when I do couples therapy. If couples can truly embrace these principles they can turn usually around their relationships.

Commandment 1: Thou shalt honor thy other. You have chosen another person to be by your side, to love, honor and cherish. Honor them as you’d like to be honored, even if you don’t feel honored by them. Cherish them as you’d like to be cherished, even if you don’t feel cherished by them. Always keep in mind that you and your other are one.

Commandment 2: Thou shalt not blame thy other. Blaming never works, because it means you are making your partner or spouse responsible for the problems in the relationship, while absolving yourself. Even if, for the sake of argument, your spouse is completely responsible for the problems, blaming him/her will only elicit a defensive response and make matters worse.

Commandment 3: Thou shalt treat thy other as thy would treat thyself. The “Golden Rule,” which can be found in philosophies and religions all over the world, is a good one to follow. If you treat your other as you would be treated, much of your conflict will cease.

Commandment 4: Thou shalt be honest with thy other. Yes, honesty is the best policy, as the saying asserts. The more you lie to your significant other, the more distance and distrust there will be in your relationship. Relationships built on lies are only pretended relationships, and the soil of lies can only grow weeds, not flowers.

Commandment 5: Thou shalt be honest with thyself. Before you can be honest with your other, you must be able to be honest with yourself. This is the hardest thing to do, since there is a universal tendency for people to deny the truth. Confucius said, “I have looked far and wide and have yet to find a man who could look objectively at himself.”

Commandment 6: Thou shalt not look for right or wrong. The search for right and wrong, notes ancient Chinese philosopher Seng Tsan, is a sickness of the mind. Arguing about who is right and who is wrong is another way of playing the blame game. This game actually prevents any kind of real resolution from occurring.

Commandment 7: Thou shalt not look for reasons. Do not look for reasons to degrade, devalue, push away, disrespect or hate your other. You can always find reasons if you look for them. A relationship is not a court of law, it is a cooperative venture.

Commandment 8: Thou shalt put yourself in thy other’s shoes. When you can understand your significant other in the deepest sense by being able to actually be your other and sympathize with the other’s point of view, you and your other will truly be at one with each other.

Commandment 9: Thou shalt accept thy other’s flaws. If thy other breaks your favorite vase, accept and forgive. If thy other spends too much time on the computer, accept and be patient. If thy other strays, wait and discuss it calmly to try to reach an understanding. Also know that acceptance and understanding have limits.

Commandment 10: Thou shalt love thy other. Love and honor your other with your deepest heart and your most humble soul, and it will follow, as day follows night, that goodness and mercy will abide in your home all the days and all the nights of your life.