Simplistic yet powerful approach in developing
positive and long lasting relationships with our fellow human beings. Thank you for this article.
This article is a great reminder to follow Jesus example in all our relationships. Selfishness is a killer of happiness, our own and all around it. But I feel for Maryanne. There are those who see serving them as a willingness to please them and will then use and exploit that person. Most people are probably emotionally healthy enough to respond to kindness and surprises in healthy ways. But it can be perilous to try to please a toxic personality. How To Hug a Porcupine, by John Lund is a helpful resource.
This is a wonderful suggestion, and I have seen it work miracles in my own life, but yes, when it comes to spouses with mental illness (and I have slogged through years of depression), narcissism, or abusive behaviors, charity has its limits. No one caught in that situation should blame themselves when their partner fails to reciprocate.
Linda, I can only assume that your experience with the seriously mentally ill has been extremely limited. My mentally ill boss responded to the exceptional acts of kindness of the staff by claiming she had done these things, then calling the police to try to have a staff member arrested and accused a second one of stealing her wedding ring. No one was asking for reciprocation. But having to consult an attorney, then spending months documenting everything she said and did to even claim unemployment does cause resentment. Yes, she was LDS. Yes, she was a member of my ward. She still is. I was the one who had to move.
So please, educate yourself before you make uninformed comments such as the one you posted. Your comment did harm and you owe Maryanne an apology.
I saw this work in my parent's marriage and thought it would work in mine. My husband became more and more focused on what I could do for him and could care less what he did for me. It actually made our relationship worse because one cannot continually give and give without receiving anything. When the well becomes empty people have to move on or die.
Maryanne's comment brings an additional or perhaps underlying principle involved in this. That is, these surprise acts of kindness need to be done with no thought of reciprocation. I'm not advocating an ongoing yet one sided relationship, just stating that resentment festers when we put expectations on our giving.
Actually did this but the mental health problems my husband faced were far greater than this had any power to touch. In fact, I ended up terribly resentful as the more I gave, the less he reciprocated. That resentment has carried forward into other relationships, poisoning the sweetness I wanted to promote.
So, good luck with this. It is a two edged sword.
All people, especially the toughest, are actually tender inside and crave acceptance and love. This is a fantastic idea for delivering it. And I hadn't even realized the corresponding benefit of increased love for the one served. Great article!
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