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Why Equality is so Important in a Relationship

Two rosesPHIL: So, another birthday ran into me and Maude deluged me with cards, in one of which she wrote, “This becomes our only task – live every day, every moment, for all it is, and be all we can be in each of those moments,” and I know exactly what she meant. There is so much joy in living our lives each trying to be the best that we can be, both for ourselves and for other people (sorry for the recruiting slogan), and this happens with the other person both supporting and not interfering at the same time. Anything I might want to do, Maude would applaud. We live in this strange place of complete independence and total support.

Trust and communication are essential to this, but today, I want to focus on equality, the way that we treat each other as equals. This does not mean that we are the same. It means that I see Maude doing her own thing, living her life in the way she wants to, and who am I to interfere with that in any way? Along with similarities, she has different thoughts and goals and habits that I would not choose, but they are not my choices to make.

It doesn’t mean that we drift apart like two autumn leaves in the wind. We support and applaud each other. The strange, magical result is that we feel extraordinarily connected. Because there are no simmering conflicts, no unresolved disagreements, we can come together, whether in the kitchen, the office or the bedroom, without having to perform a dance of connection, because the states of connection and separateness are not at odds.

It is equality that makes all this possible. The head knows it as the golden rule and the body knows it as empathy.

MAUDE: This has been another giant week in the nation’s life. For us, there was also a big event – Phil’s birthday, and in this case, one of celebration! We celebrated Phil, his birth and his life.

I wrote something on one of Phil’s birthday cards that opened a discussion about a basic aspect of our relationship. A key to the way we are with one another is that we treat each other as adults rather than from the perspective of a parent to a child.

We are both dedicated to supporting each other; for the other person to achieve their potential and to do it in the way they find right for themselves. This does not involve telling the other person how to do this or coaxing them into a particular behavior in order to achieve their fulfillment. The sense of freedom to be ourselves that comes from this kind of unquestioning acceptance and the knowledge that you are being cheered on to rise to your potential is remarkably empowering.

This way of relating to each other is predicated on a deep sense of equality; not sameness, but equality, a party of equals. Every right I have, you have. Your desires are as valid as my desires. You are just like me, only different.

This way of being together creates a calm peaceful foundation from which to handle the things of life that come toward each of us. It has carried us through this year of tension and difficulty, as well as through less complex times. This is something we can strive toward in all our relationships. There are other ways to be sure, and other preferences of how to relate, but that’s not us.

If you want to experience relationships full of mutual support and appreciation, if you want freedom to develop while still inviting another into the depths of your being, choose this path.

Photo credit: Maude Mayes

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Successful Relationship Reading Corner


Books on shelfIn our blog this week, we discussed why equality is so important in a relationship. Here are some aspects about this from other people. 

How to Know If You Are In a Healthy Relationship "Strong relationships are marked by natural reciprocity. It isn’t about keeping score or feeling that you owe the other person. You do things for one another because you genuinely want to. This doesn’t mean that the give-and-take in a relationship is always 100% equal. At times, one partner may need more help and support. In other cases, one partner may simply prefer to take more of a caregiver role. Such imbalances are fine as long as each person is ok with the dynamic and both partners are getting the support that they need."

How To Avoid The Parent-Child Relationship Dynamic With Your Spouse "When you have an adult relationship, you probably expect to relate to each other as equals. However, when one partner takes on the majority of the responsibility, a parent-child relationship dynamic can develop. If this dynamic continues, it can decrease your relationship satisfaction and emotional well-being. Understanding the parent-child relationship dynamic can help you break the pattern and establish a more equal partnership."

Is Your Relationship Fair? "In real life, do both partners really care about fairness? We all probably all know at least one long-suffering martyr who has been persuaded to feel obligated to some ungrateful mate. Not to mention, the media often portrays dating couples and relationship partners more like predator vs. prey than as complementary collaborators. So, what's the truth here? Are people fair or selfish in their romantic relationships? Does it really matter? And if it does, what can we do about it?"

Spreading peace one relationship at a time
Phil and Maude
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