What is it means to be in a relationship? It's a loaded question really, a difficult one to answer, in fact there is no such complete answer for this, and why is that? I think it's because we're human, and as social being with complex mind and social interaction we can perceive something differently, acquiring wisdom in different way as it shapes by our decision in life and the experience we got through it. So the answer will be vary, based on the human knowledge and perception of relationship and their experience of it. But today I'm not trying to write why it differ and explain to you many different perception toward relationship, I'm writing here, to share what my opinion about it, and hopes it gives you all and myself a better understanding of the bigger picture of life and love.
As one my friends said to me in our previous discussion about this certain of thing, let just say, her name is Ms. J, she is a strong proponent of those who believe relationship is about sacrifice - and I should agree with her in this one. In our discussion we agreed upon several things that should be the foundation of every relationship, we believe that relationship should be based on the principle of 'reciprocity' meaning that this relationship should benefited both of the person in it, and here we are not talking about relationship in terms only but in this included various kind of relationship such as friendship, and partnership. When we are jumping into the relationship we have to sure that the relationship will serve as a growing stage for both of us, the healthy relationship should nurturing us into a better, more mature and stronger person, not the other way around. Reciprocity also means that this relationship should put both person in it on equal ground, one is not subjected on the other, both has responsibility to be kept, and has rights to be fulfilled. Relationship is about 'we' not about you, and not about I, or in Ms. J language, relationship is about 'saling', to give each others comfort, to make each other smile, laugh , and happy, and to keep each other company to share in bad and good times, and to try the best they could to stay away from falling into temptation and protect each other feeling. 'each other' is really the key.
So now let's get back to the relationship is a sacrifice point. I think one episode of the How I meet your mother in season 1 catch this issue very good, one might remember about the advise Lily gives to Robin about the relationship when Lily says, "Robin, he really likes you, and he is trying very hard to show it to you, unless you are starting to meet him halfway, you gonna lose him for sure." this one scene was really hit me, and in fact in my opinion it is so true for any kind relationship and in fact in the line with 'reciprocity' principle. It's important for us to understand that going into a relationship doesn't make our life easier and to be in relationship is not an easy task, there is battle you need to fight on, there is a heart you need to won everyday, there is a face that you need to put smile on. Relationship is never easy, there's a freedom to let go, there's part of us to be left out, there is 'we' to form, more about 'We' and less about 'I' and 'You'. Relationship is about commitment, a submission of one heart to another. So when you see all above I think we're agreed that relationship is not easy, it never was, and never will because it's not about making your life easier, it about making your life more worth to live.
Relationship requires a tremendous commitment, and sacrifices, in one extreme premise, Ms. J even believes that "Hierarchy" as essential part in her understanding of relationship, in her opinion - which influenced a lot with Javanese and Islamic values, women need to subject themselves to the man as her 'Imam' in the family, which means when she is going into relationship she's ready to let go a lot of her freedom, to protect the relationship, and to serve the purpose of the relationship, by heavily leaning toward the wisdom and guidance of the man, she put herself into supportive factor of the relationship, a women behind the gun if you may, which the role is to do everything necessary to help the man she loves achieves everything he set himself to , and to make him happy in every way possible, and in her opinion eventually it will also led into her happiness and family happiness. That way of thinking is the extreme way of sacrificing in the relationship, but it is also one of the most romantic yet cliché "my happiness lies in your happiness" kind of thing, and I think it's sweet. but I've to disagree upon certain thing on the kind of relationship I mentioned above, I think there should be no "hierarchy' on relationship, as their no superiority on one upon another, because that way we violate another principle of relationship, that is 'reciprocity' that put man and women in equal terms.
I'm the kind of person who believes that everyone has responsibility, both man and women, same thing goes in relationship, and that means that each person is "Imam" for themselves. The difference is the area of responsibilities, women may be the Imam when it comes to house and parenting affairs, while men may put themselves as Imam when it comes to rational choice regarding the money spending, or any other things that requires, more rational consideration, but rest assured for me, doesn't matter who is going to take the decision, discussion and communication should play part in the decision making especially in the relationship, as both need to be heard, and respected the opinion, and one should not be in complete subordination of another, the very least is that both women and men should have equal right to say their opinion upon the matters at hand, and to be considered before making any decision that can affect the relationship. As both have the responsibility to ensure each other happiness, to fulfill each other need, as relationship purpose is not to create the situation in which half happy and half sad, but to ensure the situation in which both the happiness and sadness will be shared together, the purpose of the relationship is not to make the fight easier but to make it worth, not to make sacrifice as a favor for the one you love but to present sacrifice as a gift and a symbol of love.
Another case with the concept of sacrifice in relationship might well be presented with the study case of Ms. S and Mr. R. when both of these people committed into a relationship, something has changed, and it is their behavior on how they represent themselves to public and how the treat each others. The commitment turns Ms. S to bring her inner feminism, to pour out the romantic side that she rarely shows before, while for Mr. R as he's trying to catch up with Ms. S, put himself into more civil manner, he changed the way he behave, and talk, even the way he tweet, the questioned rises by the observer, should we try to be more and more like our partner? Isn't relationship should working while we can still be ourselves? Shouldn't we love our partner as how they are? When I am observing Ms. S for quite a while, it turned out that she's one of those people that naturally adapt into 'our' mode when it comes to relationship, when individually she is an individual with big ego and ambition, it shown in her various tweet, like when she tweeted, "Showing affection to people you love in front of the people is the way to show that you're happy and proud to be with them" , and another tweet, " Someone who is flirted by other men/women while he/she is in relationship with other person, and not mentioned that she/he already has a man/women to the one whom flirting to him/her is a bitch'' , well those tweet comes from Ms.S whom known for enjoying mocking the others who show public affection and enjoying to be flirted when she was single. It supports others of my believe on the concept of relationship as process of becoming 'we', and in that sense, I should say, contrary to what people believes, relationship required people to change themselves, and change is mandatory in every aspect of life, even in love.
Honji Milagro the founder of relationship consultant Hitmen System once argued that argument of 'love me they way I'm' is outdated, and irrelevant often misleading. Mostly used by someone who is lazy enough to compensate, or compromise, and selfish enough to not get out of their comfort zone and meet their partner halfway. I have emphasized this many times with my friends, as the Will Smith say, the concept of "me or I'm' is a fluid concept, meaning that it can change overtime, and it should change adapting to the needs of the current situation. Human is given with the great ability to think, adjust and adapt depending on the situation they are facing, they have ability to learn from mistake, and to analyze problem with rational value and moral value, and deciding to act based on the situation given. In short, I believe there is always a better 'me' , and relationship requires us to become and change to that better 'me' over time. I think no one in this world, who is in actual relationship that doesn't want to change a thing in their relationship, everybody has something they wish to change from their partner, as even my parents who has married for 22 years, like my Mom wants my Dad to become less stubborn and more considerate to listen to her to control his diet and eating his medicine, and my Dad wants my Mom, to spend less on her shopping habits, and spending less time in front of Laptop. The shortlist of something that we are willing to change from our partner becomes shorter over times, as either our partner managed to change themselves or we learned to live with those imperfection of our partner.
The point is, we need to change to be better 'us' for our relationship to sustain, either by changing our attitude and perspective upon the imperfection of our partner or by changing how we behave, all of those are for the sake of 'our' happiness, and I know we can do it. Most of the time, the changes required not those superficial changes, you don't need to have a plastic surgery to become a better you, as it only have a temporary effect, most of the time we need to fix is the way we are thinking and behaving, this more fundamental in the process of merging "I" and "You" into "Us' , and there's no instant formula, no easy way, we need all the time, experience, patience and understanding upon our partner, we need to know more about them as we live with them, knowing what he/she likes, or not likes, how to response when he/she had, mad, to understand what inside of her/his mind and heart without even need to ask. Relationship is about putting less "I" and "You" and to put more "Our", it is not about making I to becoming you, or trying to make you to becoming I, it's about making a whole new "Us" , and I think it's our responsibility to trying our best, to becoming the better and the best of us for the ones we love, you don't have to become anybody else, just become the best of you. As one of Mitchel said in the end of one episode of Modern Family, that" Change is overrated, but we can completely who we are, we can change maybe maximum 10% of who we are, but for the one we love, that 10% is enough." "My happiness lies in our happiness"
In the end I have to quote the Modern Gent tweet, 'Relationship is like Bank, if you don's save something in there, don't expect to withdraw something out" I know it is not easy, but for the ones we love, it's a fight worth fighting for, I hope this post can reminds me and helps you to become a better fighter.
Bara E. Brahmantika
"il Grande Statista"
See also my other new posts at:
- http:// onesunfamily.wordpress.com