Sunday, February 20, 2005

The loving relationship

The loving relationship

By Bob Garon
TODAY Newspaper
Saturday, February 19, 2005 2:08 AM

Last of 3 parts

When two people marry, both expect a lot from each other. You don’t commit to a life-long intimate relationship unless you believe you will benefit from it. And that is exactly how newlyweds feel when they tie the knot.

If the marriage is good they continue to feel that they are both indeed fortunate to have each other. They know they are loved because they continue to remain intensely focused on each other.

They have ways of showing each other that they truly care. There is a whole range of cherishing behaviors which remain living proofs of their concern for each other’s welfare.

They have their routine which shows love for each other. And these loving behaviors are not all going one way. In unbalanced relationships, one, the wife for example, is doing most of the loving but not getting much in return. In a truly committed relationship, however, loving behaviors are going both ways. You won’t hear one or the other complaining about doing all the giving.

Both partners can sense that the other is doing his or her very best to please and to look after one’s well-being. There seems to be a contest going on between them to see who can give more.

The partners in a good marriage are quick to acknowledge and show appreciation for the loving gestures they receive. They don’t take even the smallest signs of love for granted. There are lots of thank you’s, lots of loving and kind words that are exchanged.

Though there may be a tendency to get into power struggles, the deeply committed couple refuses to get drawn into such negative behavior.

There is a division of labor. The finances are shared equally and openly. Promises are kept and agreements willingly adhered to consistently. There is fairness in their negotiations with a great effort being made to be sure that both parties end up satisfied that what is agreed upon is the best that could be had under the circumstances.

In a loving relationship, there are the inevitable problems that disturb the marriage, but two intensely committed lovers have a way of working through them without damaging their love. In fact, problems tend to draw them closer to each other further and solidify the bond that keeps their love strong.

Another thing that keeps their relationship out of trouble is their habit of constantly checking on the state of their relationship. And both do this because both fully put the highest priority on their love and both want to guard it against any potential threat. I emphasize the word “both” because a marriage can be beautiful only if both partners feel the same about their love.

In some marriages, we find one giving heroically, while the other gives very little. The only thing holding the relationship together is the one who is determined to make it work. It may end up working, but not working very well. Just enough to keep it going, but not enough to classify it as a deeply committed relationship.


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