It’s all about balance.
You get what you give.
It takes two to tango.
Insert your cliché here.
Basically, a relationship needs to be equal. Each person needs to be invested and contribute to make it last. I’m not saying each person needs to put the same number of apples in the basket. I may bring a pineapple. She may bring grapes… but we both contribute evenly.
The scales of justice are a symbol of fairness. The Ancient Greek philosopher Plato was the first to discuss justice in relation to a scale. John Locke, John Stewart Mill, and John Rawls (many philosophers are named John) all associated justice with fairness. The scales of justice are a representation of the early “balance scales,” which were used to measure the weight of goods against a standard weight. When the scales are balanced, the weight is equal.
Relationships end when one person or the other feels like they are giving more than they are getting. Resentment starts to build and all-encompassing words like “always” and “never” start being thrown around. You feel like the scale is tipped in favor of your partner and you are not getting a fair return for what you are putting in.
Each of us works hard to make it as good as it can be and at times it is easier to see our own contribution than our partner’s. I take out the trash and mow the lawn, so clearly I’m doing more than you around the house. You need to remember that each of us has our own skills and ideas and your partner is putting in effort their own way. They may water the plants and do the laundry. That is no less a contribution than your own.
Try to recognize the things your partner does to contribute to the success of the relationship. Thank them and show your appreciation. It is only when partners feel equal that a relationship finds true balance.
After reading this to my wife, she thought I was suggesting a tit-for-tat relationship. Please allow me to clarify. There is nothing good about holding back and waiting for your spouse to be the one to put in effort. There is no good in only doing “x” only if your partner will finally do “y.” A relationship finds balance when both partners are not holding back and are both contributing what they are able …simply because they want to.
– John Powers