Reciprocity – Everyone is Unique
Everyone has different abilities. We can contribute to our relationships with different skills and abilities.
Reciprocity is not “equality”
With equality, we expect our partners to contribute in the same way all the time. Equality can encourage “scorekeeping” and contributes to creating resentment. When we think in terms of 50/50, we are dividing things equally when each partner has different strengths and abilities. This builds resentment because we expect our partner to “put in the same effort.” Each partner’s maximum effort can be incredibly different.
Recognize each other’s strengths
Reciprocity is contributing our unique gifts to the relationship for mutual benefit. For example, maybe one partner contributes by providing income and health benefits while the other partner is a great planner for friend and family gatherings. Or maybe one partner is great at the household organization while the other partner has strength with bill management. The important thing is recognizing that each partner contributes differently and understanding that everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Reciprocity means that each partner adds value to the relationship.
Keep your expectations realistic, be kind to your partner in areas of struggle, and appreciate your partner’s contributions. We cannot expect our partner to always excel at the same skills. Instead of keeping score, keep an open heart and work with your partner to find solutions as a team.
- Robin Greenblat 9.15.22