Are we giving or receiving in a relationship?
The biggest question that frequently arouse is this, are we giving or receiving in a relationship? What is this thing that creeps into the relationship after quite some time together? Who lets go of the hands that were once commissions to rejoice and jumps his fists into criticisms and complaints. Closes each of the couple in his or her own experience bubble and creates a buffer. Is this a routine? Does this happen to everyone?
Like everything that is done over time and becomes a habit, does the presence of our spouse in the house next to us, day after day for 5 or 20 years, become self-evident? And why does this change sometimes tend to make us bitter and frustrated?
Walking around the house with notebooks and writing down what I did and what he did, what I gave and what she gave. One belief is that the core of the matter is the media. And when the media is unhealthy, open and looking to serve the good of the relationship, precipitation begins to accumulate.
Not big, tiny. A little disappointment about falling asleep when we set out, a little frustration that only I do the dishes every night for a week or an insult that is so silly as to say embarrassing. Each in itself is perceived as too unimportant to relate to, and without us noticing we suddenly find ourselves immersed in water up to the neck. In more severe cases it may feel like a pile of snow.
Zen Master Jonas Amon has also explored the phenomenon where the balance of giving and receiving within a relationship becomes of interest. It also offers us a way to break the loop.
Amon has been studying Eastern teachings for many years: at the beginning of his career he lived in a monastery in Korea and studied with the aim of becoming a monk. He then migrated to Japan, where he learned the principles of the Dharma and received certification as a master variety, and later studied in forest monasteries in Thailand and Tibetan monasteries in India and Nepal.
He has published a number of books seeking to make Eastern theories accessible to the Western world. Amon currently hosts a variety of lectures and workshops and presents programs on the essence of life radio.
In his book, The Wisdom of the East, he combines in 122 chapters deep issues about human nature, and offers in simple words insights that can be applied in everyday life. We present one of the chapters that talks about the same phenomenon, which as far as we know does not yet have a name, which creeps into the life of the couple:
A phenomenon that has no name
You are probably familiar with the story of O’ Henry about a couple who were very much in love but poor and rebellious. The only precious object in their possession was a round gold watch that the husband had inherited from his father, the kind of watches of yesteryear that were placed in the small pocket of the suit.
There was no necklace for the watch and his wife thought it could be a beautiful gift for Valentine’s Day. She checked out the stores and that afternoon she trimmed and sold her long spectacular hair to a wig shop and for money bought a gold chain for her husband’s watch.
The husband that day also wanted to buy a special gift for his wife. He was thinking of buying a hairpin for her long hair that he loved so much and that afternoon he sold the round watch and bought a beautiful hairpin with the money.
On the eve of the holiday he kissed her and handed her a small box with a new hairpin in it, and she hugged him and with a trembling hand handed him a box with a watch chain. I remember crying in this episode and not because the story is sad.
I cried because of something else that was there, something related to their love. A rare situation where you want to give more than you want to receive. There is a lot of love, but how many couples do you know that each partner really asks himself what else he can give to make the other happy?
Everyone wants love, that’s true, but everyone wants to get something from it and give it a different kind of love. Maybe the reason this special situation is not there is because it is not so common. What is common is that you feel unwell most of the time and blame your partner for it.
Enough by the way if only one of the spouses starts with complaints, criticism and a sense of discrimination, who is the poor man who sacrifices so much and gets so little in return, for the complaints to return to him in a circle and the whole house to be filled with a black cloud.
When one of the spouses is ill with the phenomenon, the whole relationship immediately becomes ill. In such a situation, even the nicer spouse will have a hard time keeping up with the thought “What can I give to make the other happier?” When you constantly accuse him and come to him with complaints about everything.
According to the karma laws of the relationship, you will not be able to avoid dealing with this phenomenon and even if you are lucky and born to the most lovely parents, who really care about each other and loved you indefinitely, chances are you will marry one or the other who will bring the disease.
So what can be done?
In most men and women the disease has not yet broken out. They travel the world, go to study something, move to the big city, fall in love and live with partners in a rented apartment. But the hourglass is running out and it’s only a matter of time until a full outbreak of the disease in someone who was previously a carrier.
Not all families have the same level of phenomenon. At one end of the scale there are families with a lot of love and in the really worst cases, the disease fills the house with coldness, the days get dark and life that could have been nice, becomes hell on earth. Anyone who grew up in a home like this knows what I’m talking about.
The twenties are an age of optimism and most young people do not really take into account that this may happen to them too. People marry with great naivety and optimism without checking if their future spouse is a carrier of the disease. Great innocence characterizes couples standing in white clothes under the canopy.
A used car is examined much more thoroughly than the spouse with whom one intends to raise children and stay for life. A strange phenomenon that has no name. But there is a happy ending to the story and the love disease that turns into hatred has a cure and there is a cure.
According to the Buddha’s Torah there are four stages in the way and it does not have to be that long. In the first stage, the couple must admit that they also have the phenomenon. In the second stage they need to understand that they both suffer from it equally. In the third stage, the two of them make a conversation together, take responsibility for the first two stages and decide to do everything to remove the phenomenon from the relationship. In the fourth step, learn to think about giving instead of receiving and how to be nice to each other.
When there is love in the house, you are filled with healthy energy and have enough to do everything that is necessary. When there is kindness in the house for no reason, the potted plants bloom more, the children are happier and the food is delicious.
No need to strain and think about what we have to sacrifice for the other to have a better life, no need to go that far. Enough if you take care of one small and not so complicated thing: try very hard to have a pleasant day today. If we always make sure to be pleasant today, it’s more than enough. Life is all made up of one day at a time and being pleasant on the inside is basically being happy.