Love is a Two Way Street
Healthy relationships are based on compromise. Each person has to play their part and not expect one person to do all the giving while the other is doing all the taking.
You’ve heard me say that I think relationships should be not 50/50, but 100/100. This leaves nothing to chance. If you are both taking 100% responsibility for the health and well-being of the relationship, then nothing can fall through the cracks.
- If you are the one in the relationship who is constantly giving and not getting your love returned, it may last for a while. You could even think you’re happy for years, but eventually, your supply of giving without getting will be depleted. When your love and efforts are not being reciprocated, the relationship will fall out of balance. You could become bitter expecting it to change and it never does. Self-doubt creeps in wondering what you’re doing wrong; wondering why your partner doesn’t want to give back automatically. Depression can come in to play because you are not feeling loved and appreciated. Love lifts you up. Love is giving and kindness. Love is encouraging. Love is healing. If these things do not surround you, you are in the wrong relationship.
- Love does not just happen, people. You both have to give and take. Learn to compromise. Learn what is important to your partner. How does she take in love? What can you do to show him love? Often the way we give love is how we like to receive love. And that may not be what your partner is needing. One of my favorite books is The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. The book points out five different ways that we perceive love. Some feel loved when you hold their hand, others feel more loved when you do nice things or offer a gift. Still others need to talk or go on a picnic. Yes, these are all wonderful things and I’m sure we would all appreciate if our mate did any one of those things, but Mr. Chapman points out that usually one of the languages is our strongest. We respond more to one than another. Get the book, read it together and figure out each other’s love language and then speak it every day. You don’t have to feel it or like it, just do it and you will reap the benefits.
- Learn how to respectfully resolve conflict. Your relationship cannot be based on a scoring system. There is no winning or losing. You need to give up the “my way or else” attitude. You’re not going to agree on everything and it’s okay to have strong convictions about some things, but you are in this together and your partner deserves a chance to be heard and have an opinion. Give and take.
When arguments happen- and they will- keep emotion under control as best you can and try and get through it the best way you can without having any reason for regret. People need to feel they have been heard, try not to storm off. No name calling, it’s disrespectful. Fight fair. Don’t attack, try to use “I” statements to explain how you feel. Keep the past in the past, don’t dredge up old arguments. And focus on the issues at hand. I know it’s not easy when high emotion gets involved but this is only one moment in the life of your relationship and hopefully things can get resolved with a little give and take.
- Sometimes, one of you won’t be feeling up to your usual 100% and you need your partner to step in and take over. If it has been a steady give and take, your partner should fall into this role automatically. The loss of a family member, a physical illness, losing a job… we all have bumps in the road and it makes it easier to get past them when we can rely on our partner to help us through.
When you see your partner in a slump, or feeling reserved, assume that he/she needs more from you and fill that need. Whatever it may be for a couple weeks. Love them back to life, so to speak. Make him/her your priority. Wear something sexy, leave her notes in her briefcase. Make his favorite meal. Love language the heck out of him/her. Or maybe just be patient and step back allowing him/her to let you know what they need.
That’s what so great about love. It’s a growing, breathing, changing thing. If you treat it right it will fulfill you all the rest of your days.
Sometimes, you’ll give more… sometimes you need more. Be with the person that you can balance with.
Other articles you might be interested in:
Watch Your Love Blossom
Share the Love
Love Will Keep Us Together