Friday, October 16, 2015

Relationships as Agreements

My (personal and professional) feeling about relationships is that they are basically just agreements. And like all agreements, the terms may occasionally need to be revisited in order to ensure that all parties are having their needs met within the context of the agreement. This goes for friendships, intimate relationships, marriages, and even familial relationships.
So, if you are in a relationship of any kind that is decidedly not meeting your stated needs, you have ***every right*** to negotiate the terms of the agreement. You do not have the right to be harmful or disrespectful, but likewise you are not obliged to continue participating in a relationship that is harmful or disrespectful to you.
Yes, even if you are married and have committed yourself before God and all your people, even if the person you're being harmed by is your blood relative, even if the person is a lifelong friend. A relationship is still a reciprocal, dynamic, fluid thing and requires attention and occasional modifications. Whether the other person believes they need to change anything or not, the terms of a healthy relationship are always open to negotiation. You are not stuck. You are not required to participate in an arrangement you do not agree to.
I say this because I know too many people who languish in unhappy or unhealthy friendships or "love" relationships and never quite feel empowered to address the disconnect they feel. So they stay, and they agree to be miserable. I say this to remind you that you have agency over your life and the way you are treated and the agreements you make. I say this because you are entitled to happiness, and have more authority than you may believe to cultivate it in your life.

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