Relationships : About Contribution, Not Management.
In this article are touching on the principle of contribution in relationships. This is a tremendously important aspect of keeping relationships healthy.
The writers of My Life Experiment are a married couple, myself and my wife Casey. We come from similar life paths, in that we have lived through the pain of addiction. And that we both found and have thrived in recovery from addiction. More often than not have been strongly supportive contributions to the fulfillment of each other’s ambitions. Through the duration of our relationship we have come to understand how important the principle of contribution is to relationship growth.
What is Healthy Relationship Contribution.
To contribute is to give. To give what? Well to enhance the healthy aspects of our relationships, we give what will benefit the growth of these healthy aspects. The contribution could be time, money, words of inspiration, honesty about hurt feelings, or anything else that is done in a spirit of goodwill for the relationship.
Contributing to the health of a relationship is about building the relationship up, rather than tearing it down. We can give a great deal of our anger to a close relationship of ours, this is also a contribution. But it is a contribution that will not lead to or enhance a long term healthy relationship.
What has worked so well in Casey and I’s relationship is that we have our own personalities, our own friends, and our own recoveries. I don’t feel the need to attempt to micromanage Casey’s life, and Casey has been able to do the same for me. Thank god!
We are able to have all of these things be separate, but still come together on enough things so that our relationship isn’t left to be too needy.
I don’t know about you, but I can get the feeling of suffocation quickly in any relationship. Without necessary space I am likely to freak out. I tend to be a bit of an introvert as I discussed a couple of posts back. That and I have had ample problems with other people’s expectations, and with those I perceive to be authority figures.
I remember one time when I was cleaning the fridge back at our old apartment. As I was cleaning, Casey walked by and said “Great job babe” or something similar. My immediate response was “you’re not my manager.” It was pretty funny to me, but I think it took Casey a little for bit for her to have the same sentiment for the comment.
Just so you know, I don’t believe my wife is my manager.
I have given ample thought to this situation and here is what I am concluding. Some unresolved stuff in me thought that she was trying to condition my behavior… So, I revolted!
I imagine this feeling is common place in relationships that require this amount of time to be spent together. Or maybe I am just justifying my behavior.
Despite occasional revolts from feelings of being controlled, thankfully Casey and I have worked well together! But it isn’t controlling each other that has helped our lives together grow so rapidly.
We certainly push each other, encourage each other, and compliment each other! We understand that in order to have a happy relationship, we need to change, grow, and find success in new territories.
Casey knows that my success is her success, and my clean fridge is her clean fridge. And most of the time, I stay reminded of the very same thing!
We understand that we are a team. We realize that the team needs the fridge to be cleaned, the litter boxes to be emptied, the dishes to be done, and so on and so forth with the never ending list of responsibilities there are to take care of.
Even though sometimes innocent comments about my cleaning performance can be viewed as attempts to condition my behavior, it doesn’t really matter because that is all part of the process.
To be in a healthy, intimate relationship, we must allow the other person to leave their mark on us. They need to know that their needs, are needs that not only they care about.
Now does it really matter that compliments may be a great way to make it more likely that someone will behave the way I would like them to? When it comes to having a healthy relationship, of course not!
Casey isn’t making me be in my marriage, nobody is making me show up to weekly baby appointments, and cleaning the litter box. Nobody is forcing Casey to make any contribution to My Life Experiment blog, or any of the thousand contributions she has made to my life.
We choose to be in this relationship. And we choose to make it a healthy one. Both individually and mutually making contributions to each other!
A big reason I have been able to keep my end of this relationship healthy is because I have kept my own mental and emotional health in check. This has come from me showing up for my personal recovery.
Another great tool I have is the Therapeutic Writing Guidelines we have developed. This writing process has made huge contribution after huge contribution to my recovery. If you would like to obtain a printable copy, go ahead and join My Life Experiment’s email list on the side bar! You will get a printable Therapeutic Writing Guide, as well as receive our new blog posts directly to your email.
Thank you very much for stopping in to My Life Experiment once again or for the first time. We appreciate you all for supporting this family endeavor!
My Life Experiment
Welcome! We are Travis and Casey Hagen, the writer's and owner's of My Life Experiment. As recovering Individuals, we are no strangers to leaving behind dysfunctional ways of living. Over the years we have become adept at managing our intense mental and emotional worlds. Finding healing from the past, peace in the present and new ways to bring about success for our futures. Life is meant to be lived. That is why we promote Healthy Life Experimentation Principles for connecting with ourselves, our relationships, and finding healthier ways of bringing about success in our lives. Stick around and pick up what we have learned. You will not be disappointed.
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