At a recent meeting, someone brought up the topic of what makes a good relationship.
First of all, everyone has to want to be in the relationship. We all know, or can conceive, of situations where that is not the case. There are the obvious ones that send folks to protective shelters (if they’re lucky), and the “loveless marriages” where individuals either weren’t on the same page to begin with or grew apart over time, but stuck with it for the sake of the cats or something. There are people who are forced into business relationships which for various reasons can’t be untangled. These often “work”, but rarely well, and one or all parties are usually dissatisfied or downright unhappy.
We can all think of other situations where things don’t work out, and the root cause is usually a lack of equality. Good examples are a marriage where one party can’t be him/herself for economic or other reasons, or professional relationships where one party uses power without regard for others.
Equality is of paramount importance. Whenever one party is forced to change or pretend to change basic beliefs to maintain the relationship or please another, equality does not exist. This is most often seen in religious or ethnic situations, but can also exist in other areas such as business ethics, politics and so forth. Although these situations can seem to work out, far more often than not one or more of the parties will feel oppressed and the relationship will suffer. When equality is absent, a relationship becomes an issue of power and a struggle or capitulation are the only options. Either is a poor choice.
In the case of partner issues of these kinds, counseling – of BOTH parties, together and separately – may provide each the skills to resolve the differences. Sometimes a dissolution of the bond is the only answer. But one thing seems certain; unless some solution is reached and acted upon, someone (and most likely everyone) is going to suffer.
Equality is everything when it comes to human partnerships, of whatever kind. Trust me; I’ve been in both kinds. Equal is better.