Many people ask what does it take for a successful and lasting relationship? There are so many dating and relationship books out there. We read them, take their suggestions and use them in our relationships. However your efforts do not benefit the relationship if only one person is committed to them. You can be more affectionate, passionate, responsive, compromise your time, take initiative, contribute to the household, but despite your effort, the relationship will not work if your efforts are not given back in return. So when someone asks me, what makes a relationship work, I say it is simple— Reciprocity!
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary the definition is as follows:
: to do (something) for or to someone who has done something similar for or to you
: to have (a feeling) for someone who has the same feeling for you
: to move back and forth again and again
For a meaningful relationship to thrive, there has to be reciprocity from both parties. Both people have to be committed in putting forth the effort. Appreciative of your mate’s efforts without action is not enough for sustaining a relationship. Expressing your appreciation by only words, provides some down time. But true appreciation is expressed through returning the same acts of kindness and consideration. If your mate is always considerate and checks up on you about how your day went, it should only be expected for you to reciprocate that same task…maybe you can initiate the check up for once. Your “Boo” took the day off, brought you soup and nursed you during your illness….when she or he is feeling ill, take time out of your day to return the favor. If your spouse came and was by your side to support your work-office function where you received an award, attending a concert of the band you were managing, make sure you are there for their promotion breakfast, book signing, or any other function that is special to them, despite whether it is or not on the same caliber. Your mate listens to your woes and peril, but your work schedule is too hectic to give the same ear, is not reciprocating. Nor is your mate tending to your sexual fantasies and relaxing you when your stressed, but you can’t find time just for cuddling. Or vice versa, your mate cuddles and kisses you endlessly, but you cringe in satisfying his needs..and it is only reserved for special occasions.
The key to a successful relationship is very easy..just reciprocate. While some tasks may not easy given life and career demands, acknowledging your intent and attempting to reciprocate the same appreciation and attention your mate gives as soon as you can…is putting forth the effort. Maybe you have to somehow include your significant other into your life and career flow. That business dinner, you might make it a requirement for everyone to bring spouses or extend the invitation to travel ventures where that person can explore on their own while you handle business matters. Or if that cannot be done, maybe adjusting your normal routine schedule, scaling back your time with friends to incorporate one-on-one time with your lady or gent.
If you are in a relationship and your efforts are not reciprocated over an extended period of time….excuses become redundant. It is time to walk away. Translation is that your mate does not value you or deems you that important in his life where he should reciprocate the efforts that you have made.