Reciprocity: The Key Ingredient for Relationship Success

Guest post by Ty Lamarr, check out Ty’s blog, Inside the Mind of Ty Lamarr, here

Relationships require Reciprocity…If…you should find yourself entering into a relationship based off of how the relationship will benefit YOU…without considering how you will be of benefit to the other person…you may find that…your relationship will struggle.

This is a concept that I think more women could benefit from…Yes…I said…women…with that said…this does not exclude men…there are plenty of men out there…who…aren’t doing their part…but…I stress women for a reason…so…let’s discuss…but first…a bit of a background.

I am in the military, so I change jobs and location every three years. I worked with an all male or mostly male crew about 3 times in my career…the position I held / hold is “Doc”…those who are in my branch of service…know what “Doc” means…but…to describe my job to a civilian is a bit of a challenge because I do many things…however…I will attempt…in civilian terms…I am equivalent to a Physician’s Assistant / Nurse Practitioner (yes…I legitimately prescribe medications, order and interpret labs, X-rays, provide consults, Physicals…and every other thing your Primary Care Provider would do), Safety Manager/Program Manager/Food Inspector/Clinic Manager/Counselor/Surgical Technician/Psychiatric Technician (these are schools that I attended in my career), Chaplain/Advisor/etc. with that said…Chaplain/Advisor…is just something that comes along with being in senior management/leadership…I also have a B.S. in Health Care Administration…and currently…I’m 5 classes away from completing my MBA with a concentration in Health Care Administration (although lately I’ve been contemplating going to school to become a Clinical Psychologist…my career just hadn’t afforded me that opportunity).  I give you a brief background of my education, training, and experiences, with hopes that…it’s understood that when I write…it isn’t just the random ramblings of some random guy…I am NOT always or even most times…speaking about my own personal experiences (my personal experiences are vented through the music I write)…I speak for co-workers…friends…colleagues…family members…for those who…want to be able to say something…but…know they will be judged for doing so…so…they suffer.  Alright…let’s go!

Reciprocity…is mutual benefit.  One very common theme that I’ve heard from men that I’ve had discussions with is…the lack of reciprocity in their relationships/marriages…for this post…let’s stick to marriage…because no one is forcing anyone to stay in a relationship…those are much easier to get out of.  In my Facebook group, I once posed the question to women…”How many of you would be inclined to give your phone number to a guy working at the McDonald’s drive thru?”…I asked this question to prove a point…and that point was…Men (general statement) usually make their decision to be with a woman simply for how beautiful she is…a woman’s beauty…her presence…her touch…her smile…is really all a man needs to fall in love…don’t get me wrong…an intelligent woman with a sense of humor is very sexy and inviting as well…but…the point being…a woman doesn’t necessarily have to be accomplished at much of anything…in order for her to be viewed as “good”, “suitable”, “wife material”, etc.  Whereas…you pose that McDonald’s question to Women (general statement) and you will more than likely get crickets.  Interestingly enough…I recently read a post from Nikita, where she mentioned this same thing.

If you analyze what I just stated…you can see where there is room for things to be problematic in relationships and marriages.  The Woman was drawn to the Man…sure…because she liked him…and he made her feel good about herself etc…but also…because he had the ability to Protect/Provide…if one removes that benefit from the situation…how many women could say that they would be interested in the McDonald’s guy?  I know in my group…not a soul stepped forward and said they would be interested…whereas…with men…the only thing the men want from a beautiful woman…is…her love…(as with most of my posts..I feel the need to stress…I am speaking in general terms…about things that are common…this does not mean THIS IS YOU)…I’ve had the chance to see Men…who have lost some things financially…and not far behind…they also lost their wives…and sometimes children…I have seen divorces…that came right after a promotion…or right after the wife hit the 10 year mark in the marriage…and she left…with the kids…and spousal support/child support…and a portion of that man’s retirement…but…I digress…Reciprocity…mutual benefit…what does that look like?

Well…since the scenario is one where…the man is the Protector/Provider…and the wife may or may not work…to many women…mutual benefit means…running the home, to include…balancing the checkbook, cooking, cleaning, washing clothes, shopping, getting the children ready for school, going to the soccer games, going to the parent-teacher conferences, and for many…who also work…this can be a very grueling task…even without an actual day job…I would imagine that this would be difficult…I don’t want to give the impression that these things don’t hold the same weight, or aren’t as important as the man going out and being the Protector/Provider…but…I want to stress something that I believe is often overlooked.  Wait for it…In the absence of a Man…guess what?  You would still be doing all of those things.  Isn’t that what we all do on our own?  Again…I am not making light of these things…and I am not an ALL or NOTHING…BLACK and WHITE thinker…I believe…that many women get caught up in the role of being a wife…and all the responsibilities that come with that role…that they forget why their Husbands fell in love with them in the first place.

Again…all of those things that I mentioned…are important…very important!  But…who are you doing them for?  Yourself…or for your Husband?  Another question…How much of what you do…is based off Perception?  Based off the image that you want to present?  Don’t get me wrong…perception and image has it’s place…but many women…aren’t able to take that mask off…many can’t love…because they are too busy being fearful…and fear…leads to trying to control…it isn’t the man’s job to ease your fears…it’s only his job not to give you reason to fear.

Remember…he married you because he thought that you were beautiful…because of how you made him feel…because of the time that you spent together…being open, vulnerable…laughing…the great times that you had…the intimacy…not because of the work that you did…

For many reading this…I can almost predict the next statement, “Well, if he took the time to help me around the house, maybe I would have time to do…”  Yeah, I’ve heard it before…and if that is your thought process…I will tell you that…you’re missing the point.  Think of yourself and your relationship/marriage as a car…in order to make that car start up…it requires fuel…that fuel being…Love.  Man gave you fuel…simply for being you.  You gave Man fuel after he did “x”…am I losing you?  Men do appreciate all the small and large things that women do…BUT…those things are small in comparison to…your touch…your desire for him…your compliments…your smile…the intimacy that you both shared at the beginning of the relationship.  Ladies…you may be surprised to know…just how lonely a lot of men are in their marriages with you.  That Man Cave that he hangs out in drinking beers and twirling his thumbs…many times is…the result of…a lack of Reciprocity.

I once heard it asked somewhere…if women knew how to love men…the example given was…”women love plants, pets, parents, and children…but…when it comes to loving a man…they are clueless”  I thought that was the realest shit I had ever heard.  I say that…also knowing that…many women feel unfulfilled and unloved in their relationships/marriages…I also know that there really are women married to men who don’t pay them any attention either.  The difference being…we hear about these things…a man that really likes a woman, doesn’t have to do much to impress…pay for the meals on dates, open the car door, pull out the chair, pump the gas, kill the spider, take out the trash, tell her how beautiful she is…all of this is Male utility…and…as a reward…he gets your intimacy…but…when was the last time…you gave him intimacy just because?

When was the last time you INITIATED sex?  For those who are single…when was the last time you asked a Man out?  When was the last time you made him feel desired?  It’s these things that, I believe women take for granted (many can only see things from their perspective…meaning, a lot of women enjoy being pursued…it’s a really good feeling for them…and this often carries over into marriages…leaving men feeling…empty…he married you to have access to you…not to chase you…your desire to feel a certain way…causes you to create situations which give YOU this feeling…but…does nothing for the Man…) It can be a very lonely world out here for the average man…imagine if things were balanced…imagine the fuel that your husband would have in your marriage…if…you gave him…what he gave you…Love…simply for being beautiful.