We all know and have probably debated and read endless accounts of the value of love in formulating deep, nurturing and lasting relationships, but what interests me even more as a fundamental component that marks the quality and ultimately the future of a relationship is the element of respect in it.
Love, in a relationship, especially a man-woman one, follows its own rhythms, independent of the will of the lover. We can neither know its arrival or departure nor can we predict its source, and to know its trajectory seems even more far-fetched. In fact it would not be too preposterous to say that we continually surprise our own selves in regards to the way we experience or feel love. While we may be able to temper our response to it based on propriety or societal acceptability, none of us can claim that we can control the feeling itself and that is what makes ‘love’ at once so charming and elusive!
And so at times ‘love’ rages like a tornado, fading all else in its wake and at other times it lies calm, like the still water in a pond, hibernating (where we start wondering if indeed there is something wrong with our constitution)…and yet there are times when ‘love’ treads the mean between these two states, leaving us even more confused than we think possible. And always, it stays a step ahead of our understanding and a stride beyond our conscious purview. The very nature of love is at best mercurial, waning, waxing and at times disappearing completely like the moon (to appear again) while we struggle not just with our changing love for the significant other, but theirs’ shift in the love they profess towards us too! For what is good for the goose is good for the gander, isn’t it?
And I use the same argument to present my case for ‘respect’ in a relationship. While loving another may/may not be in the current state of our mind respecting the ‘other person’ always can be. While we may/may not desire ‘love’ of another we definitely want the other to respect us. While we cannot demand that ‘I love you and so I deserve you love’, we can surely ask, ‘ I respect you and hence I too deserve your respect….’!
Interestingly, consciously or subconsciously we use this very devil ‘love’ to excuse our disrespectful behaviour towards our loved ones…most of the times we ourselves are not aware of this subtle underplay. Let me explain through an example.
“I love you and want the best for you and hence…”, for us the loved one then is not permitted (or if permitted is continually reminded of how off he/she is as against what he/she can be) weaknesses, lapses. And where this reminder (through nudges, which turns into nagging, to berating and ultimately to insulting or reprimanding) turns into a blatant transgression of the other’s personal space and sense of ‘self’ is normally just a question of time and the intensity with which we feel that love. We forget to make the basic space for allowing the ‘other’ to choose his/her own pace of growth and learning. Behind the noble intention of what we think they can be, our idea of what they can ‘be’, we refuse to let them ‘be’ as they are. The interesting thing is when it comes to our own selves; we expect understanding and respect for what we are! This kind of a double standard is pronounced especially in relationships we cherish and hold deeply precious. One rule for us and another for our loved one.
So then, how do we know when ‘love’ oversteps the other’s boundaries?
Simple remember the saying, " Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
In our case, do not do unto other what you would not want the other to do to you”.
And perhaps our relationships may have a chance...