The Power of Reciprocity
“Is it possible for a person to love without wanting love back? Is anything so pure? Or is love, by its nature, a reciprocity, like oceans and clouds, an evaporating of seawater and a replenishing by rain?” ~ Alan Lightman
True love is reciprocal. To desire the love of others with no intention of returning that same energy screams of narcissism. Pouring yourself into someone who has no desire to love you back is soul draining, self-destructive, and unsustainable. It will be just a matter of time before your inner vessel is depleted. In contrast, having the object of your desire reciprocate your effort, pouring into you as well, will create a cycle of replenishment where no one’s cup will ever run empty.
“Reciprocity, a symbiotic relationship, is a relationship in which two people have worked out certain terms. I am using you in certain ways; you are using me in certain ways. That is a balanced relationship.” ~ Frederick Lenz
Reciprocity doesn’t necessarily mean giving each other the same things. It means making the effort to meet the individual needs of each other. This is where understanding each other’s love languages comes into play. It’s easy to make the mistake of loving someone the way we want to be loved. Our divine assignment is to love them in a way that feeds their soul. This is where communication & effective listening play a major role. Clear & consistent communication will enable you both to remain on the same page. Our needs change with the seasons of life, so we must be intentional in our efforts to understand each other’s needs in that moment.
“The very ingredients that nurture love – mutuality, reciprocity, protection, worry, responsibility for the other – are sometimes the very ingredients that stifle desire.” ~ Esther Perel
The reason most relationships don’t work is because they require work. And if you’re in a relationship for purely selfish reasons, the effort required to sustain your union will feel burdensome. If you’re solely focused on what you can get out of it, nurturing the relationship will be the last thing on your mind. An afterthought. When you operate primarily from a place of lust & greed, there will be no desire to nurture someone. When your main priority is having your carnal needs met, meeting the spiritual needs of another will never be attractive.
“Allegiance, after all, has to work two ways; and one can grow weary of an allegiance which is not reciprocal.” ~ James Baldwin
The lack of reciprocity in any type of relationship can lead to weariness. If one person is constantly making all the effort, while the other selfishly reaps the benefits with no intentions of ever meeting them halfway, it’s just a matter of time before the giver gives up. The power of reciprocity is when you both match each other’s effort, you send the message that you value what you have. Mutual nurturing will lead to mutual admiration. Which will lead to a love with the potential to stand the test of time. To paraphrase a line I once heard in a movie * …don’t love people in slices. Love them with all your heart. This is what God intended.
“Those who have never known the deep intimacy and the intense companionship of happy mutual love have missed the best thing that life has to give.” ~ Bertrand Russel
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