Is Love a Transaction?
Yes, it is. A successful transaction must include both parties giving and receiving. How is that different from love? When you give to your partner, you hope they do the same for you - even if that isn't at the forefront of your thoughts.
We are compelled by our need to be loved, wanted, adored, to get those things from people other than ourselves. We are drawn endlessly to men or women who make us feel wanted? Human “romantic” relationships are based on these things. While it is okay to want to be loved, we must understand that in whatever relationships we are in, it is never okay to constantly and always be the giver.
What most people think
There is a school of thought that advocates that love isn’t a transaction. Meaning, it is not give-and-take. I would 100% counter that statement. It is and should be give-and-take. If a plant that gives beautiful flowers and sweet-smelling fragrance isn’t nurtured and tended, it quickly dies, taking all of its sweetness with it. When we share what we have, we do so because we care about the ones we share them with. We do not expect anything in return and that there is love, that there is why it is pure. This doesn’t go on to mean that we do not want people to share things with us.
The need to be loved can never be taken away, it only gets stronger. Love is not selfish. If it is only one person’s terms, depending on whether that party wants to share or reciprocate, then it isn’t love. The thought that “it doesn’t matter if you don’t get anything in return”, has pervaded the world these days and has driven many relationships to ruin. If I want something and I am not getting it, I should ask my partner. If I constantly have to ask and he or she is never sensitive to my needs or intuitive enough to do things for me of their own volition, then one would need to carefully evaluate such a relationship. What makes these relationships beautiful is that as much as you look out, sacrifice, compromise, and give yourself for your partner, they do the same with equal fervency or maybe even more.
What is ideal?
Relationships that last take a lot of work and require that each party is deliberate about keeping the other happy. It is not dependent on “moods” or on “feels”. In fact, it would speak volumes if, while you supposedly do not feel like it, you do it anyway.
Constantly taking from your partner, only pleasuring yourself and giving the other party nothing in return is not love. The notion that love “fades” or “wanes” overtime should be thrown out the window. When you make a commitment to someone and you bind yourself to them forever, there should be no room for deal-breakers. Integrity, consistency, and fervency are key in every human relationship and not just relevant to one’s job. You are never allowed to make decisions that hurt your partner, no matter the circumstances.
Understanding what works
When people say there is a need to “spice up” the relationship over time, it is because they lose track of the things they should naturally do. If I was deliberate about doing what I should, paying attention to their needs, ensuring that we talk, take time to be refreshed, where would the need for “spice” come from?
In the book - Five Love languages by Gary Chapman, he highlighted;
- Words of affirmation
- Acts of service
- Receiving gifts
- Quality time, and
- Physical touch
Understanding your partners “love languages”, helps to ensure that you do for them the things that make them happy and in so doing ensuring you live long happy lives. If I knew what made my partner happy, what kind of a person would I be if I chose not to do those things. What does that say about my claiming to love him or her?
It is possible to want more than one thing. A man could love receiving gifts and also want quality time. A woman might be delighted to have you help out with basic things as well as wanting you to spend time with her, touch her, give her compliments while buying her gifts and sitting down to watch sunsets with her. It might come across a lot but aren’t these things the basics? We go out of our ways to do these things while courting or dating but almost immediately desist from such things once we are bound to the other party for life.
When we say our vows, we do so almost always with tears in our eyes, joy filling our hearts to overflowing, pictures of happy tomorrows in our minds. We get emotional, tears spilling on our cheeks, our voices cracking on some words. It is important to note, however, that these things do not automatically spring into action or come into fulfillment just by saying them. It is required that one puts in the work to ensure they are brought to life. If I want a happy forever with my partner, I must ensure I do things that make them happy, things that will also make me happy. If they are happy, why wouldn’t I be?
These things are not far-fetched, they are in fact within our reach. All we need to do is be more deliberate. If when I need them, they are always there, why shouldn’t I be there for them?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.