The measure of a relationship

We measure time in years, minutes or seconds…we measure weight in kilograms, tons, pounds and so on. Distance? Kilometers, meters, feet, miles and so on. We look at speed based on the distance covered in a certain amount of time. Farad is the unit for measuring electrical capacitance; we measure sound in decibels…… temperature in Kelvin and Celsius…liquid in liters, gallons or ounces. Angles are measured in degrees.
We seem to be able to measure everything. Wealth, calories in food, the domestic product of a country, blood count, electrical inductance and everything between this galaxy and the next. Realtors seem to be able to tell you the value of a properly,and analysts can tell us the value of a company, employers seem to be experts at telling us the value we are worth.
How then do we measure our relationships?

If we are so good at measuring everything else, why does it seem so hard to measure the true value of our relationships? We seem to measure it all right but we seem to make many mistakes on measuring the “value” of a relationship…..especially ours.

Well, I don’t know much about the answer but here is one thing I do know. No matter how accurate the reading is, the true value will be masked if the calibration is wrong.

Here is what I mean. Have you ever stepped on a bad scale before after you just stepped on a good one? You know you weigh xyz pounds and for some reason, the bad scale shows you weigh twice your weight. What probably happened is that the bad scale lost its calibration. What it was supposed to measure at a ratio of 1 pound to the number 1 on the scale, it actually measured at 1pound to the number 2 on the scale. So even though the reading was accurate as far as the scale was concerned, it did not give the true value of your weight. It had the wrong calibration.

What seems to happen to us is that we lose our calibration in relationships.

How do most people measure their relationships today?

Giving/gifts:  So many people measure their relationships by how much is given in the relationship. The gifts, the trips, the time spent together, the cooking, the acts of service…, folding laundry, changing the oil, running this or that errand. Nothing wrong with that. As a matter of fact, that’s a crucial part of a relationship. It’s give and take but does it properly measure the value of our relationship? Is the act of giving not based on the other person’s ability to give those things? All things being equal, the partner who lives in the same city as you is more likely to spend time with you…what about if it’s a long distance relationship? The partner you live with can help fold your laundry or cook you a meal but what if circumstances don’t allow that right now?…will that mean you don’t have a valuable relationship? Lets try another one.

Sex/Physical contact: You’re not married but when you see each other, it’s like you turn into mad animals and tear each other apart in passionate sex. Most married folks you talk to will tell you that you better marry someone for reasons more than the potential for an orgasm.  By the time life hits, kids are born, bills are the devil and the long hours are rampant, the rabbit sex might take quite a hit. So does sex tell you how much your relationship is worth, if a person can continue to have sex with another because the other is fantastic in bed, in order to fulfill strong admittedly natural tendencies, they you dear partner, could be replaced well, in 20minutes. Not good enough. Wrong calibration. Let’s keep looking.

The perception of other people about your relationship: OMG is this the devil or what? We swear at the beginning of a relationship that we won’t care what people say …that we will do things how they fit US, but a little while into the relationship, we find ourselves factoring in what people think. We find ourselves defining our relationship by what the world sees it as. We begin to shape value of our relationship based on the feedback we get from outside. We feel good about our relationship when people complement us on how beautiful, hospitable, spiritual, humble our ladies are or on how good looking gentlemanly, caring, wealthy, or thoughtful our men are. But hold on…what happens when life gets in the way a bit and our partners can’t do as much of those things as they did before…or when there’s just another “hot” couple that your friends are now crazy about talking about …that gets all the attention. Better still, your wife puts on a few pounds after pregnancy or is so bugged down by screaming kids that she doesn’t instantly remember to serve cold coke and cookies to your friends anymore.  What happens when your man isn’t walking around tall anymore because he feels beaten by life and feels that he has not delivered on the dreams he promised? What happens when the attention and free compliments stop? Considering how quickly public opinion changes, you’re in some deep doodle If that was the measurement of the value of your relationship.

The truly good character of your partner: Ahhhh! Yes! This person is like heaven. Great character, humble, caring, thoughtful, loves God, loves people, kind, and has all the fruit of the spirit of God. That’s all well and good, but this is the measure of HIS…or HER character…not a measure of your relationship. It doesn’t tell you the value of the relationship.

So how? What is “perhaps” the best way to get the true measure of a relationship to you? What’s the way that doesn’t depend on the gifts/service, the rabbit sex, public opinion or the halo deserving character of your partner?

Answer the question: How has this relationship improved YOU as a person? How has YOUR character gotten better? How has it added value to your life. Are you a better person, brother, friend, son, daughter, Christian because of the fact that you are in this relationship? Are you being changed from the inside out because of the interaction with this person? Is this relationship giving you things that money cannot buy? Has it empowered you to achieve? Has your creative cycle been unleashed because/through this person or relationship? Is this person an ABLE PARTNER in the “Business of LIFE” regardless of what the situation is now? Do you have more passion to grow your faith (notice how I didn’t say “do you do more faith based activities”. (Key thing here is that YOU have more interest/passion). Have you survived difficulties you would not have been able to survive on your own? The impact of the relationship on you as a PERSON is one sure way to measure the value of your relationship because it’s not based on the external stuff. It’s based on an objective look inwards.

Ill end with this quote from Anna Louise Strong: Take your time…chew on it, and then chew again:
To fall in love is easy, even to remain in it is not difficult; our human loneliness is cause enough. But it is a hard quest worth making to find a comrade through whose steady presence one becomes steadily the person one desires to be.”

I dare say, that one true measure of the value of a relationship comes from that inward examination of how YOU (not your possessions, friends, environment, fame, money, popularity, etc)…YOU have changed and are steadily becoming the person you desire to be.

As always…share your thoughts…