Having introduced the concepts of the bubble, maturity, adulthood and responsibility as they apply to individuals, we now consider the composition of bubbles into relationships. For convenience in relating this discussion to the discussion of growth earlier, we follow the arc of life.

Our relationships bring color and depth to our lives. In every context, we face new difficulties that test - and new opportunities to celebrate - our maturity and adulthood. The virtue of love is that we approach those challenges with the perspective that we can master them to mutual benefit.

Loving is a walking along together. Adulthood enables us to walk in security. Maturity ensures we travel the higher road of sensibility. The journey is conditional and consensual. Any partner can separate at any time, and the assurance of love is that the disengagement will be without prejudice. When separation involves a wounding, it is a limited wounding, and done in a way that facilitates the transition to new opportunities for the party left behind.

Note my use of "assurance": love is no guarantee. The behavioral patterns described above enable us to engage our reason as a guide in our relationships. Ultimately, though, the habits of the mind cannot lead us into trust, only away from mistrust. Trust, as a negotiation of the boundaries between "I" and "we", is a spiritual issue, and requires spiritual resource.