Equality in Relationships
One of my favorite books is The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. His unique take on how we function, what we like, and don’t like is a real treasure and something that is easy to read. What I like about the book most, is the message underneath that is so important and it’s the real universal love language, which is equality.
When I tell a couple that equality in relationships is important, they agree with me but so many couples have fallen for the three most common inequality patterns that I see. They’re such easy traps to fall into because we are exposed to these traps growing up. Often times, our parents use those types of patterns as a parenting child relationship, which makes a little more sense than when we use them in a partner relationship.
Three inequality traps that couples fall into:
1.Right and Wrong
So many couples are in trouble because they get so hung up on who’s right and who’s wrong. There are times I have to stop couples in my office, when they’re in a heated discussion and ask what’s the point? What are you trying to accomplish? Both partners respond by thinking they’re right. Which leads me to ask, “Then what?” Which leaves them stumped.
There is no right or wrong as adults. Even if you do get someone to say, “Okay, I’m wrong and you’re right,” then what? You’re just on distant pages, you’re not partners. You’re not working on something together. You’re on different pages now.
2. The “should’s”
The shoulds are like the right and wrongs, except you’re bringing in this idea of “should” from somewhere else. Where is this list of shoulds? It doesn’t exist, right? There are societal norms but there are no real shoulds in adulthood. By having “shoulds,” you’re bringing somebody else in and saying, “this is what everybody else does. This is what you should do according to…” You’re bringing that should in between you two, and creating a wedge.
A lot of people don’t realize that they go into relationships with these ideas, but they’re fantasies and they’re not based in reality. Such as people who hang on the periphery and roll their eyes, and sigh and hope that my partner figures out what I want. Or the people who work themselves to the bone in front of their partner with a lot of sighing with the hopes that he or she will pitch in and help me with the work. All without talking. This fantasy that something is going to happen correctly and well without any discussion or any understanding.
Watch out for these three traps, they are what keep couples from being equal and thus keeps the couple from being a successful intimate relationship. If you’re not equal, you’re not going to be in a successful happy relationship.
Do you struggle with any of these inequality traps or with equality in relationships?