“Every close relationship in your life should have mutuality and reciprocity; do your part to make this core principle so.” ~Lisa Merlo-Booth
Radically New Relationships cannot exist without reciprocity and mutuality. All good things in relationships should be flowing both ways. Kindness, for example, is a fantastic relationship enhancer—until it’s not. Kindness stops being enhancing when you focus so much on being kind that you ignore, accept, or gloss over the lack of kindness of others. And when you attempt to “nice” people into being nice, you have crossed the line from kindness to enabling—from helpful to harmful.
Reciprocity is about honoring yourself and those around you; it is about give and take. In healthy romantic relationships, you provide your partner support one day, and another day they give you support. When something stressful happens to you, your partner will be a shoulder for you to lean on, and when the tables are turned you will be a shoulder for them. This is the give and take of healthy relationships, and it plays out in every area in life:
- Problem-solving: You offer insights in your area of expertise, and they do the same in their area of knowledge.
- Conversations: You both are responsible for carrying the responsibility for connection and dialogue in any given moment. The “quiet” one does not always get to be the observer, while the other does the heavy lifting of keeping the connection going.
- Chores: No one person in a household should be 100% responsible for the upkeep of the home—even in single-income earning families—and certainly not if you don’t want resentment to eat away at the relationship.
- Accountability and Responsibility: When one person constantly apologizes, yet, the other seldom does, you have a problem. Be accountable and hold others accountable as well. One-sided accountability gets exhausting. It will burn out even the most patient of persons.
Mutuality and reciprocity are non-negotiables in relationships. Incorporate both of these in every relationship you create.
Challenge: Pay attention to how much giving and receiving is going on in all of your relationships. If there isn’t a healthy amount of reciprocity and mutuality, then do whatever is necessary to fix it or move on. Don’t ever settle for one-way relationships—they will be harmful to someone every time.