We’ve always been taught that the best relationships are the ones where we give equally. If we’re all putting in as much as we’re taking out, we’re sure to be successful. Well, that’s true in theory, but we often misunderstand what a 50-50 relationship really is.
Let’s start from the beginning. The best relationships are always the ones where the people involved compliment one another. There are areas when one person may shine and there are others where their partner may be better. These areas don’t necessarily serve the same purpose, but they need each other to make the whole thing work. It’s like wearing the right tie with the right suit. They both compliment one another, and at times, they bring out the shirt that you’re wearing as well. In the end, if the whole outfit looks good, so do you.
When we start measuring one another’s contributions to the relationship, we run the risk of measuring one another’s worth. At times, our relationships can be a little too businesslike. We get caught up on what people are “bringing to the table” and we forget that we all can’t be charged with bringing the same things. A 50-50 business venture may at times find us needing to bring an equal portion to the table in order for things to work. Relationships, however, are different.
When we find ourselves looking for that 50-50 line, we often measure the wrong things. Women feel as if they’re giving more because they’re raising the kids. Men feel that they’re giving more because they’re playing the role of provider. And that argument in particular has been going on for decades, trying to determine which is more difficult and more necessary. I guarantee you that in the healthiest and most successful relationships, this never becomes an issue.
If we look at our relationships with the correct perspective, we’ll find that when we’re balanced, all of the things that we bring to the relationship are what make it work. To use the previous example, let’s not spend all of our days trying to figure out if raising the kids is more difficult than going out to earn money to keep a roof over our heads and clothes on our backs. They balance each other out. Figuring out who does more is only for personal praise and glory.
When we’re looking for equality in our relationships, we should only be looking in terms of effort. 100 percent on your part and 100 percent on your partner’s part. 50-50 only gives us half of what we should have in a relationship. As long as we’re both giving maximum effort, we’ve improved our chances at success. If your partner isn’t trying as hard as you are to make things work, you have a problem. Stop counting money and stop trying to figure out who bought what in the house. If you don’t love one another enough to try just on the basis that you love one another and want to be together, your possessions won’t matter anyway. We must be sure that we’re putting all of our heart and soul into making things work. That’s where the equality belongs.
If we analyze our relationships detail by detail, we’ll often find that at certain points, one person is doing all of the lifting while the other is just along for the ride. Do that too often and you may find yourself feeling that it’s a little unfair. But I would caution this kind of analysis. It can be a bit misleading. For example, my wife doesn’t write, but she often encourages me to the point where there are days I can get two or three pieces done just because she believes in me. I’m doing the lifting, but the encouragement is so beneficial. Just think about it. If your partner didn’t have anything that you needed, what would you need them for? The idea of a partnership is you having one component of success and another entity having another component for success, and the two of you realizing that together, you can be a greater success than you can be as individuals.
At times, relationship measurement can be like something I call sin measurement. When we begin measuring these things, we often underrate some things and exaggerate others. We need to take things as they come. Understand that if we look at any relationship, one person may seem to be doing more than the other. But the sum of your relationship is often greater than its individual parts. We must remember that everything has its purpose and while one may seem greater than the other, when we put them all together, it can be magical.
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