The Importance of the Giving Cycle in Relationships
A friend asked of me a few days ago what would be a good “just because” gift for her significant other. For one of the rare moments in my adult life, I was silenced. I really did not know what to say, because (due to my willfully poor decisions in choosing selfish women over the years) I have not had such treatment by any woman I have ever been involved with. Sad that, at age 34, I am saying this. Nevertheless, after a few minutes, I thought about it. As a man, I like to indulge in my lifelong passions of anything related to music (as an audiophile), sports, and naturally, FOOD. I would appreciate any gift that I received, but you give me some production software, or some sort of instrument to play with, tickets to a ball game or a concert, or a wholesale-sized portion of one of my favorite snack foods and I’m wavy. I think women tend to appreciate kind, thoughtful gestures, (almost regardless) of what the actual gift. If it isn’t something down a man’s alley — i.e. something he is passionate about — he may appreciate it, but he won’t be much inclined to indulge in whatever the gift may be. It caused me to think and reflect for a moment, because there was a moment of clarity for me — and why I have intentionally avoided serious dating until I was able to choose the right woman. My experiences are not unlike many others’, the difference being that I am not bitter towards any woman that I’ve been with; as several cheated unprovoked, and others left as soon as the car, clothes, and surprise gifts stopped flowing. The others vanished when I was going through my nadir back in the 2006-2010 period. I made it a point to learn from my decisions, rather than lash out and do the foolish things that many people tend to do when relationships do not work out the way that they envisioned. I took ownership of my role in the relationships (almost always) being doomed from the start, and challenged myself to assess my core values before dating again. Broken relationships can damage people for years. One of the main reasons this is so is because of the lack of reciprocity.
Giving is one of the ways that this reciprocity can occur.
It isn’t always about giving material things. It can be simply giving of one’s self; their time, efforts, a listening ear, making a sacrifice of their own passions to give attention to those of their significant other/spouse. When you have two like-minded people involved in a relationship who understand the true value of giving in its simplest form, and volley back and forth in doing so, there is a certain boost of positive energy that is generated. And when the cycle of giving is perpetuated continually, this positive energy is enduring. In fact, is one of the ways to keep the spark going in relationships. Contrary to what some people have been reduced to thinking, seeking ways to create a spark or flame in the sex realm (did not say “bedroom”, as a former voyeur who did some pretty questionable things in public with an even more voyeuristic ex often initiated) is not always the means to the end. It can help, but giving and sacrifice is the core of the relationship between a person and his/her God (from a Christian standpoint), and therefore, given that relationships are to mirror that which exists between God and His church, it would behoove those who want to actually build a relationship/marriage that endures, to do the same. Finding ways to give is both challenging and fun. That alone creates positive energy and a “spark.” The axiom, “It’s the little things that count the most” is applicable here. Sometimes the smallest of kind, thoughtful and selfless gestures (reciprocated) can work wonders that counseling, therapy, diamond jewelry and fancy trips cannot always achieve.
I don’t think I have ever seen a relationship fail where both parties are givers in the purest form. It is something that I will keep in mind going forward, and would implore others to do the same — that is, if you want your relationship to stand the test of time. I know I have the keys to relationship success down, the biggest challenge now is finding a woman who likewise understands them. In the meantime, I am gracious towards my true friends who challenge me to grow and thinkreflectively, as we all have blind spots that prevent us from seeing some of the most obvious things that we must all understand.