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The Ten Commandments for a Secure-Functioning Relationship

by Stan Tatkin, PsyD, MFT,

  1. Thou shalt protect the safety and security of thy relationship at all costs.
  2. Thou shalt base thy relationship on true mutuality, remembering that all decisions and actions must be good for thee AND for thine partner.
  3. Thou shalt not threaten the existence of the relationship, for so doing would benefit no one.
  4. Thou shalt appoint thy partner as go-to person for all matters, making certain thy partner is first to know—not second, third, or fourth—in all matters of importance.
  5. Thou shalt provide a tether to thy partner all the days and nights of thy life, and never fail to greet thy partner with good cheer.
  6. Thou shalt protect thy partner in public and in private from harmful elements, including thyself.
  7. Thou shall put thy partner to bed each night and awaken with thy partner each morning.
  8. Thou shalt correct all errors, including injustices and injuries, at once or as soon as possible, and not make dispute of who was the original perpetrator.
  9. Thou shalt gaze lovingly upon thy partner daily and make frequent and meaningful gestures of appreciation, admiration, and gratitude.
  10. Thou shalt learn thy partner well and master the ways of seduction, influence, and persuasion, without the use of fear or threat.

Tatkin, S. (2011). Ten Commandments for a Secure-Functioning Relationship. In J. K. Zeig & T. Kulbatski (Eds.), For Couples: Ten Commandments for Every Aspect of Your Relationship Journey. Phoenix: Zeig, Tucker & Theisen, Inc. Publishers.

© 2003-2013 Stan Tatkin, Psy.D. — all rights reserved


  1. trout black says:

    Sitting here in the New Year’s sun with my sweet Silvia, we both reveled in your 10 encouragements, and I send you and your family much love and gratitude. Trout


  2. timothy boudreaux says:

    Hey Stan,

    Can you explain the first commandment a little bit more? I listened to “Your Brain on Love,” twice. It’s awesome!


    • Dear Timothy,

      Firstly, thank you for your support! The first commandment refers to the couple bubble. The safety and security system that a couple creates and maintains is equivalent to their life support. Both partners are stewards of that system and if either allows the other to feel insecure or unsafe in any way both will suffer the consequences. In order to enjoy the increased resources that come available to each partner in a secure functioning relationship, both partners have to continually ensure the other’s sense of safety and security in the relationship itself. Does that help?


      • timothy boudreaux says:

        Hi Stan,

        This helps a lot! Thank you so much! Can you give me an example of a typical behavior that threatens the bubble in this instance?

        Very grateful,


  3. timothy boudreaux says:

    Hi Stan,

    I know you’re a busy guy so I did some more reading. I found the answers I needed to my question above by reading some of your other blogs; “Be Attractive, Not Scary,” Security Questions Require Security Answers,” and “Scratching The Right Itch,” really helped me identify ways to protect my relationship bubble and also how I can threaten it.

    I have to say, your research and work on this stuff is really helpful!

    Thanks again!


  4. Karen Fritts says:

    Really sweet…….I have about 2weeks worth of lunch and dinner celebrations ahead. It feels like a polish wedding to this little old lady!

    Karen Dean Fritts, Ph.D.

    Sent From My IPad



  5. I read your post four times up to now. The first was for content, the moment was for sheer enjoyment, the third was to analyze structure, and the fourth was to emphasise it on my brain. I am brand new to blogging, and I crave discovering formulas together with the promise of proven success. Thank you a lot for sharing all the illustrations to strengthen your points.


  6. […] Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy (PACT) focuses on helping and coaching couples to “secure” each other in order to reduce threat, thrive, and grow closer. While they are designed for couples who want to […]


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