It’s often said that giving feels better than receiving. While that may be true, it’s important to make sure that your giving isn’t one sided, especially in relationships, romantic or otherwise. One of the key components to any relationship is the ability to have a functioning give and take system. While this doesn’t necessarily have to be an exchange of goods, it’s about having reciprocity for the effort you put forth. Here are some tips to keep in mind regarding the balance in your relationship.
Ask For It
Say you have been struggling with keeping up the housework, meals and being present during book club. If your partner would take on a few household tasks, that would really help lighten your load and allow you to breath easier. Ask them for help! You are in a partnership together and chances are they aren’t a mind reader. Communicate to them what is going on in the situation and ask them to take on some new tasks. If you’re on the other side of this equation and you see a shift in your partner or see them struggling, ask them if they need help. Try to be mindful and really look at all of the ways your partner is giving and you might be amazed at all of the things that they take on.
While it’s important to have a working give and take system set up, it doesn’t necessarily have to be an equitable distribution of tasks. This isn’t where you say, “I did laundry five times in a row, now its your turn to do it five times in a row.” Take stock of all of the things you do for your partner and all of the things they give back.
As long as there aren’t any glaring discrepancies in your relationship balance, you’re doing OK. And if you happen to see that there has been an imbalance for quite some time (without attribution to things like new work projects, new obligations or life situations arise) speak up. Work toward what your normal balance is with your partner.
Be thankful for your partner and the efforts they put forth. Chances are, they are doing the best they can with what they have. If you’re feeling a little grumbly, or you don’t think that they “get it,” make an effort to find out what each of your love languages is. Because we often express love in the way we receive it, it could just be that you two are speaking two different languages. Learn what speaks best to your partner and do your best to show how much you care about them.
Finding balance in your relationship will likely look different than what your friends have in their existing relationships and that is OK. Do what works best for you and find joy in both giving and receiving this holiday season and beyond.