Creating shared meaning means that both partners have the same vision for their life together. They agree–for the most part–on everything from parenting techniques to how they want to spend their retirement years. They agree on how chores are divided and how to spend their money.
It may sound like creating shared meaning is a “pie in the sky” goal if your marriage is on rocky ground. And it is true, you can’t get from rocky ground to shared meaning overnight. This is the top level of the relationship house because it is built on the foundation of all the other levels.
After you have done the hard work of creating love maps, expressing fondness and admiration, learned to turn toward each other, learned to accept influence from your partner, and overcome conflict, then creating shared meaning together becomes the icing on the cake.
Close, functional couples often talk about the big stuff and the little stuff. If they don’t agree that retiring in an RV is a great idea, they find a way to compromise so that they are both supporting each others’ dreams. They respectfully discuss parenting techniques and support each other even while having differences.
Again, I highly recommend The Seven Principals for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman.