Healthy Love Is Honoring Each Other As Humans
Rather than painting people into “partners”
There’s a difference between markers and makers of a relationship.
People look for them as evidence because they’re easy, objective things (he either does or does not do them) to point to, but the issue is that it’s all so damn easy to fake. Jumping straight to the former is a short-sighted short-cut, and missing the point.
The goal isn’t to get markers, and hope the relationship follows.
The goal is to build a good foundation, and let markers be auxiliary.
You can build an entire “relationship” buttressed with labels and external gestures, but that doesn’t make the soul of it any stronger.
The reason people get hung up on markers is that they either:
a) aren’t adequately managing their own emotions and are trying to soothe anxiety through external displays, or
b) aren’t getting their real needs honored, so they’re trying to use work-arounds to get there.
We’re saying “flowers” when what we really mean is “commitment.”
We’re saying “date night” when what we really mean is “connection.”
Here’s what actually matters in a relationship:
1.) Being responsible for our own emotions. There is nothing if both people can’t offer this. (Do not pass go, do not collect $200.) Manage your own emotions, take responsibility for your own emotional wellbeing, understand what you want, and be clear and fair in the way you ask for it.
If, for example, your biggest need is “commitment,” your biggest job is to first soothe your own anxiety on needing everything to be “certain” and “secure.”
If your biggest need is “validation,” your biggest job is to first develop effective emotional management.
If your biggest need is, like mine, to be “intellectually understood,” then you must first soothe your compulsion to have everything “received.”
2.) Honoring the other person’s biggest values. Whether commitment or validation or adventure, they’re there. I crave friendship — you might crave something different. But good partners don’t just focus on their own; they also honor each others’.
And regardless of our own needs, it’s our job to be serve them before we ask others to, and to be fair and clear in what we ask of others.
And the second biggest job, regardless of who we are or what we need, is always to do the exact same thing for our partner.
Or clap or follow!