Thoughts on a healthy relationship…The Golden Rule and Preparedness

(Previously posted as a Note on my Facebook Profile)

Please excuse the length of this note and if you do choose to read it I thank you for your time and for lending me your ear.

I watched the Steve Harvey forum on Oprah today and found it pretty interesting. I’m in the process of reading his book and it dawned on me that other people might have views on what is/are the chief issues people have in relationships. I shot out a question to my FB family and found some consistencies, agreements and contrasts to how people feel about the state of today’s male-female relationship. I thought that after reading every word of every person’s response that I would share some thoughts of my own.

Books have been written on the subject of relationships, so there’s only so much that I can say in a note, so this entry is by no means conclusive of all things to consider regarding relationships. I was so very impressed with the candor, honesty and respect that was shared between the people who responded to the relationship question regarding issues. I want to briefly touch on two topics. The first topic The Golden Rule which encapsulates a lot of points that people touched on (i.e. honesty, open communication, respect, etc.) The second topic Preparedness expounds on points that were made regarding self-love, security and “knowing yourself.”

The Golden Rule is simple – “Whatsoever ye would that men do unto you, do you even so unto them” (Matthew 7:12) To me, this is the “catch all” rule that would allow many of the barriers and issues that people have to be removed and allow for a healthy environment for a relationship. I think that it was stated by many people that communication is something that is a huge problem in relationships. Isn’t it ironic that the majority of behavior that needs to be addressed in a relationship involves someone doing/saying something that they themselves wouldn’t want someone to do/say to them? This is certainly a double-standard that many relationships encounter.

If we were fair, reasonable and respectful of one another as partners we would eliminate over 75% of the things that are being “ineffectively communicated.” I don’t mean to oversimplify relationships, they can be extremely dynamic. However, often times the answers to the most complex issues are simple in nature. If we as people treated one another, regardless of the nature of our relationship (i.e. co-worker, friend, lover, etc.) as we ourselves would like to be treated we intrinsically resolve many of the issues that we are faced with in our relationships. I would offer examples to illustrate, but for the sake of brevity I’m sure we know many instances from our personal situations where applying the Golden Rule may have helped alleviate or avoid an issue.

Its fair to ask, “Vince, if its that simple then why is the Golden Rule not being applied often in today’s male-female relationship.” The answer is in the second topic – Preparedness. Look at this analogy – everyone says that they would love to be a millionaire, but be careful what you wish for. If you were a millionaire are you financially responsible to not go broke a short time after receiving it, are you willing to deal with the beggars and borrowers that come with obtaining that amount or money, would you enrich someone else’s life or focus primarily on yourself with your new found status. You can not have what you “want” in life without the responsibility you must assume for receiving that desired “thing.”

Unfortunately there are a lot of people who are unprepared for the “million dollar” relationship that they desire. If you have the opportunity to meet the person who does for you the things that you want done and address the items in a relationship that are their responsibiliity as a caretaker in the relationship – its important for one to know if they are the “whole” person that they need to be to foster a healthy relationship. Relationships are the one place that two halves do not make a whole. You need to be your own person, with your own happiness and your own worth to contribute and share. No one can provide for another the things that is there’s and only there’s to do for themselves.

Preparedness simply is asking “am I the person that I need to be in order to function and contribute to the million dollar relationship that I desire.” Many people focus on lists of wants from others without writing a list of their own “this is who I need to be” traits that may or may not be a match for the person they are hoping to attract in their life. (Steve Harvey addressed “the list” on the show and I thought it may have been the “highlight” of the entire hour.)

I could expound, but there’s always an opportunity to share at another time and your thoughts/comments (if you made it through this long note – LOL) are encouraged and appreciated. Much love…VA

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One Response to “Thoughts on a healthy relationship…The Golden Rule and Preparedness”

  1. Erika Orr Says:

    Hey VA! First, let me say that I am most impressed with your writing skills; the blogs are very concise, but engaging and I am glad that I stumbled upon them. Consider me a subscriber : ) Hopefully, my response will not be too painful a read. . .

    Second, here is my two cents regarding relationships and the “Golden Rule”. I have actually been thinking a great deal about this issue and more specifically the state of African-American marriages, or the lack thereof. In a nutshell, I agree with your assertion. But, I have also concluded that the Golden rule will not be attainable until we figure out how to shift the value proposition associated with happiness in our marketing and media frenzied environment. See, right now if I were a philosopher I would say the over arching moral philosophy that folks are following these day is egoism and inherent in that is the premise that you will and can only be concerned for yourself. With egoism being the driver you can never have healthy stable relationships, families and by default communities because egoism is premised on selfishness, whereas the Golden Rule is premised in part on selflessness.

    So, where I am now caught in my analysis, is how do we create the bridge between egoism and the Golden Rule? The two are diametrically opposed! Further, if folks become so consumed in self, is it really possible to shift their perspective and motivations to that of a utilitarian (i.e. “the greatest happiness principle”)? I think the answer is yes, but there is no bright line approach to bridging that gap. Of course I think this shift will be more difficult for the grown folks because for many it will be a case of old dog new tricks, but I think our communities, our media, our personal conversations need to shift back to making decisions based upon morals and not money. You cannot be upset if you do not find happiness in your relationship when you know you are making your partner selections based upon the salary of your partner. You cannot build a strong relationship when are consumed with constantly getting more material things because that means your focus will be on money and not each other. You cannot have that forever kind of love when you are so consumed with job and status, that you have no time to be a peace with yourself, let alone give attention to the feelings and desires of your partner. See, egoism works well when one’s value system is positioned on getting the most money or whatever, because that process is centered on the “you” or the “me” and not on the “us.” Whereas, a strong moral compass built on the Golden Rule will allow you to reach that utilitarian utopia because it is premised on the notion of “us.” I am pretty sure that I am not too off the mark with my assessment because music is a reflection of what is happening, for good or bad, in our society. Songs like “Can you pay my bills” to “Lick you like a lollipop” to “Halle Berry” illustrate the shallowness that has consumed our thoughts and is raping our communities. It is time for the thinkers to step forward (perhaps the so called talented tenth); they need to create and present understandable arguments that will cause the shift in values.

    At this point, I am not sure how we get the greatest good (in relationships) with our generation, but my first step is to work on me and making sure that I am positive and not putting toxic energy into the space. But, I think my biggest contribution to the value shift will be the time investment that I am making into my sons to create the next generation of African-American men who are driven by morals and not money, men who are secure in themselves and not afraid to love and be loved. Men who not only want family, but respect and honor it.

    Ciao for now!
    E

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