Saving Your Relationship- Is Fairness The Best Measure?

By on August 23, 2012

Saving Your Relationship takes the commitment of both of you

Saving your relationship seems to be the number one reason why most couples enter counseling, looking for some magic bullet to fix their problems.

As they talk about their goals, it becomes evident that one usually thinks that the burden of responsibility falls more on the other than themselves.

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What about you? Have you ever thought that the work of saving your relationship should fall more on your partner than you?

Now the reality of this is exactly the opposite. Relationship conflict is almost always two-sided, making the relationship solution two-sided as well.

Saving Your Relationship Takes Two

The old saying is true – it takes 2 to tango. And it takes 2 to have a loving, fulfilling, satisfying relationship.

In nearly every situation, saving your relationship is up to you – both of you!

Consider a couple in counseling because of infidelity. This is actually a pretty good example because in almost all cases, it is viewed as a clear case of the bad guy vs the good guy. I think you know which is which.

Yes, one person made a poor decision by disrespecting the commitment and the marital vow. But the other played a role in the drama too. Let’s look for a minute and think about some reasons one might go outside of the marriage:

  • Poor or non-existence sex life
  • Arguing frequently with no resolutions
  • Little or no attention from the “other”
  • Feeling lonely
  • Looking for passion and excitement
  • Self esteem/Having a need to feed the ego

Look again at the list. Do you see how many of those items might be two-sided?

For example, let’s suppose one partner is not interested in sex anymore and just won’t have it very often and gives multiple excuses for not being in the “mood.” The other partner needs it and craves it. This partner feels frustrated and deprived because his or her needs are not being met. And we all know how disastrous this will be. Infidelity could be the result.

Saving Your Relationship Takes You – Both Of You!

If you are in a situation like I just described, you should know that the better, more effective solution is to work it out between yourselves. It’s important to truly resolve the deficiency instead of looking elsewhere or taking advantage of an opportunity that presents itself. Of course this is where the relationship work takes the commitment of both people. Communication needs to occur and a reasonable solution be arrived at.

Most of the reasons on the above list involve the “other,” where success becomes dependent on team work. And it doesn’t mean it is 50/50 either.

Many times one partner may be carrying more of the relationship load for a while. If that partner is OK with doing more and still feeling his or her needs are met, the result is good. But it is damaging to the relationship when one partner feels unappreciated, taken-for granted and downright ignored for their efforts, becoming resentful for having to carry the load.

In a long term relationship, percentages may change many times on who does more or less of the “work.” The good news is that when a couple’s needs are met it doesn’t matter who does what, it just matters that it is a two-sided endeavor.

In the Bible there is a verse that supports this hypothesis. It goes something like this:

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work. If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!

-Ecclesiastes 4:10 New International Version (©1984)

Timeless wisdom – and nowhere does it say it has to be “fair!”


Originally posted on The Gift of a Lifetime.

About Barbara J. Peters

Barbara Peters, RN, LPC, is a gifted communicator with a laser beam ability to cut through the tangle of personal drama to get results and relationships that last a lifetime. A Long Island native, Barbara has made Georgia her home for the last twenty-four years; her private counseling practice is in Cumming, GA. She is devoted to her family of two grown daughters, four grandchildren, and a Shih Tzu named Gingerlily who often accompanies her to work. Her books are available at all major online booksellers and on her website, in soft cover and ebook editions. If you want more information on Barbara J. Peters visit her website

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Saving Your Relationship- Is Fairness The Best Measure?