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About Successful Relationships
by Ariel Bar Tzadok
Copyright © 2015 by Ariel Bar Tzadok
“Show me a completely smooth operation and I'll show you someone who's covering mistakes. Real boats rock.”
This quote from the fictional Dune novel series pretty much sums up the truths about human relationships, be they between spouses, other family members, or any other type. In other words, even in the best of relationships there are always times when the hearts and minds of the couple do not match, do not agree, and can often be at loggerheads. That this occurs is only normal and natural.
What needs to be addressed here is what is the wise way, and the best way, for each individual to handle the natural, and the normal in each of us. Getting along with others is not as difficult as one might expect. A properly prepared boat can handle the most unsettled of seas. Just ask Noah about his ark. If life confronts us like raging waters, then we have to be best prepared for the rough ride. Let's discuss it.
Here is an important rule, remember it well. A healthy relationship can only consist of healthy individuals. When one individual in the relationship has emotional, or mental health issues, then the relationship itself will suffer accordingly. This should not be difficult to understand, or to see. For the most part, almost every human being is flawed in some way. Almost every human being has some emotional or mental issues, at least part of the times.
No human being is perfect. I am not sure if we even have an objective definition for perfection to which everyone would agree with. We all have flaws, and regardless of our flaws we have relationships with other human beings, who are equally flawed like us. Dealing healthily with flaws, ours and theirs, is what defines a healthy and successful relationship, whatever the kind.
There are a number of very important elements that must exist in order for an individual to be emotional and mentally grounded, and to therefore contribute that stability to a relationship. The first element is the attitude of respect.
Respect means acknowledging the differences in the other person, and to allow him or her the freedom to express him/herself in accordance to what that individual needs, in accordance to the uniqueness of that one's personality. Everyone has the right to live life as one may chose. In other words, one has the right to be oneself. This right extends far and wide, right up to the border, of the other person's equal rights to express him or herself, with the exact same spirit of freedom. In a healthy relationship, one party seeks to release the freedom and potentials of the partner.
Respect does not mean agreeing with the other. Respect does not mean accepting what the other believes, feels or does. Respect is a two-way street, one must respect one's partner in a relationship, and one must equally respect oneself. If and when the partners in a relationship clash about uncompromisable positions, then it is better to have peace from afar, than war up close. If there can be no tolerance, and indeed, sometimes, there cannot be, then it is best to resolve the partnership in peace, rather than to continue into an ever descending state of resentment and hostility.
Respect requires the acknowledgment of truth. Not all individuals can maintain partnerships. Some gaps are just too wide to bridge. When necessary, it better to separate in peace, than to stay together in hostility. This is another expression of honesty, and true respect. The bottom line is that some things cannot be fixed. Some relationships are not meant to be. With this being said, never let this be used as an excuse to not make every effort to make an already existing relationship successful.
The definition of a relationship should be one word: commitment. Commitment means that whatever the parameters set at the beginning of the relationship have to be observed, and upheld throughout. One must not “walk out” or “quit” simply because the “going gets tough.” Remember, the old military adage, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.” And, just in case, one wishes to use the excuse that one is just not tough enough, then my advice again is simple, “toughen up!” Regardless of who or what one is, nature itself requires of each of us to toughen up, and to boldly face life's adversities.
Let's compare life in general to a card game. Some times, you get a good hand to play, and some times you don't. Some times you can better your lot, and some times you can't. Whether or not we can better our hand, or our chances, or our lot, we should nevertheless, never cease trying. Life itself is all about trying. When we stop trying is when we stop living.
Letting go, and letting God is always the best policy to follow, but this does not mean that one surrenders to a cruel fate, to make no effort, to better manifest Divine blessings in one's life. Life is always a struggle. Life is always movement. Life is like a boat on the water, it will always rock. Accepting the realities of life enables one to best deal with said realities. One cannot live in a fantasy world of one's own making, and then apply one's fantasy solutions to real world/real life problems. Fantasy solutions, and real life problems never mix well.
With regards to relationships, there is a line from an old 60's song that sums up wise wisdom. “If you can't be with the one you love, then love the one you're with.” Now, here is the important key! Love is not an adjective to describe one's emotions. Love is a verb that describes one's actions. Love is not what you feel, love is what you do, regardless of how you feel.
Love is what one does. When we wish to express love to another, it is not truly expressed with merely a superficial token of societal flattery. Real love has to be real giving, this being the giving of oneself, from oneself, and by oneself, and not just spending one's money to buy a token gift, which after a short time is forgotten.
Gifts are nice, but they come and go. Gifts can also be very deceptive. One can give a gift of something purchased, and claim that this item is a token of one's love, while at the same time not act lovingly in any way. This makes the gift a token of hypocrisy. Yet, shallow people love shallow tokens. But in the end, even the shallow people wonder why they never found the real love that they desire. Shallow people usually never find deep love because they are so often so willing to accept shallow tokens, and never offer of themselves the depths of love that they themselves seek, and desire from another.
Token gifts come and go. Real love is acted out daily, and at every moment. Real love is acted out when one seeks to help and provide for the welfare of one's partner. Real love is acted out when one sees the real, and functional need(s) that one's partner has, and seeks to provide those needs, however tangible, or intangible they may be. Real love is acting for one's partner, supporting, encouraging, and upholding that individual, even when such expressions are what today we call “tough love.” Real love is understanding one's partner, and assisting him or her to seek out, and uncover his or her inner potential, in the attempt to assist him or her in becoming the greatest thing that he or she can possibly become, this being a fulfilled and whole person.
Love is an action verb. It does not matter how one feels about love as long as one is doing it. Love has nothing to do with romance. Indeed, romance is a shallow fantasy. It exists as a dream, it never lasts long in the real world of daily nitty-gritty. Romance is a temporary nicety for those who desire it. Compare romance to a bottle of fine wine. It is nice to have one every now and then, for those who appreciate it, but one cannot imbibe it all the time without getting drunk, and thereby disconnect from reality, and with this, equally disconnect from true love. Many marriages fail because they begin in romance, and make every attempt to stay there instead of passing on into the real stages of true love, which transcends romance, and often replaces it entirely.
Love is also duty. Relationship is defined as commitment. Your commitment is to the other person, not to yourself. Your partner is not in the relationship to make you look good. On the contrary, your partner is there for you to make that one's life easier and better, in any way which one can.
Love and relationship is not about receiving for oneself. Relationship is not about what one takes in, rather it is about what one puts out. Relationship, and thus love, is not what one receives, it is what one gives. Giving defines love. Giving defines relationship.
Do not enter into a relationship unless you are ready to give. Do not enter a relationship unless you are ready not to receive. Should you receive from your partner? Absolutely! But this is not the point. To demand in return is not love, it is rather selfish. Love is about the other, not oneself. Therefore, selfishness has no place in a relationship. While this might sound like a lofty, unrealistic ideal, it really is not, when we remember that love is an action verb, all about what we do.
Giving is an action verb. Receiving is a passive verb. One does not actively receive. One passively receives. Think about it! But do not let your thinking distract you from your giving. If you are not the giving type, if you cannot make this commitment to the other person in the relationship, then it is very possible that you are too self centered to be in a relationship, and most likely should not be in one.
All too many people today are in relationships that they should not be in. Yet, they are in them. They cannot just walk away, and nor should they, even if they are, in reality, too self centered to have been there in the first place. Commitments should never be easily broken. Once committed, one must stay committed unless the conditions of the relationship are violated beyond repair. Within this context of semi-permanency one must rise to the occasion, and become the partner that one must become.
If one did not enter the relationship with the proper understanding of love and commitment, there is still time to learn them, and more importantly, to practice them. Just because a relationship might not have started right, does not mean that it cannot end right. Just because we take a wrong turn, or many of them, does not mean that we are hopelessly lost, and cannot correct our journey. It is not hard to turn around, cover lost ground, and then to cover new ground. All one has to do is keep one's commitment to love as an action verb.
As an action verb, love often produces a significant byproduct. When one acts with real love, by being in the active, giving position, one often finds that such giving is far more fulfilling that passive receiving. When one gives to one's partner, within the context of duty driven commitment, one often finds within oneself a deep level of personal fulfillment and satisfaction. This deep love is discovered to be for one's self, and equally for one's partner.
In giving, one discovers the best of oneself, and in so doing discovers the inner beauty that transcends all shallowness. Self respect comes when one discovers one's inner potential, and lives up to it. By giving to another, we are essentially receiving for oneself, but this type of receiving is OK. This is the good type. By putting aside the expectation of superficial emotionality, one can indeed discover the love that transcends it in every way.
This about sums it up. If you want to love, then give, but give of yourself. Give what the other person needs to receive, not what you want to give. Relationship is about the other, and fulfilling that one's needs. Do not go into a relationship unless you are willing to commit to this.
If you are already in the relationship, then you
are already committed. You cannot walk away, but like I mentioned above, “if
you can't be with the one you love, then love the one you're with.” Do this
in action and the one you're with can indeed be transformed into the one you
love. This is how relationships succeed, and last.
The Written Works of Ariel Bar Tzadok
Copyright (C) 1997 - 2015 by Ariel Bar Tzadok. All rights reserved.