In our previous discussion about marriages and relationships, I highlighted seven elements. One such element is describing our relationship as a partnership which allows as to grow personally and as a couple to become a closer entity.

Partnership describes the functionality of our relationship. A marriage partnership does not bluntly imply the “terms and conditions” of our relationship, and although, like in business, we may be bound by a verbal or written agreement and follow similar principles, relationships refer to the guidelines we follow on a day-to-day basis.

All of us are unique. Therefore, every couple is different. And so are our relationships.

Being in a relationship the partnership is perhaps better described as being part of a team. We each make different contributions based on our abilities and strengths, complimenting each other to reach the same goal. Relationships do not imply 50—50 contributions where we keep score of each other’s contributions and allow this to determine how we react. It is about pulling in the same direction, not against each other. We do not have to make equal contributions; our contributions are rather based on the distribution of our skills/interests which allows us to contribute equally to our marriage and family, but in different ways. Our contributions are based on what we can give, not on how much we give, not keeping score of our contribution area by area. Whether the contribution is towards house duties, childcare, maintenance, or finances, we should not focus on what we believe to be fair but instead on what is constructive in striving towards the same goal.

In our marriage we communicate and support each other, we have shared goals, and trust that our partner is working toward those goals alongside us. We bring into our partnership our unique experiences when growing up, our hurts and strengths, our needs, our personalities, and many other aspects of who we are. This commitment towards achieving the same goal brings with it a sense of being valued and respected. Our differences equip each of us in unique ways for our shared existence. Our different skills and interests make it easy for us to each develop specialized areas of responsibility and is vital to our family functioning. Our partnership requires the involvement of each of us, it allows us to be more efficient and make a meaningful contribution in our individual and combined well-being.

Although we understand that marriage as a partnership describes the functionality of the relationship not only in terms of the roles and contributions, but also an agreement that both partners have an equal voice on all decisions in the relationship. Being close to someone whether for a short or for a long time, can certainly lead to arguments. The following factors may contribute positively to the partnership:

  • Being in a relationship inevitably means both partners contribute towards a common goal and/or do things for each other. Openly and honestly appreciate these contributions.
  • In relationships people make mistakes. We do make wrong decisions. We do not like to be wrong. Admitting that I am wrong will help both of us to re-focus and strengthen our relationship.
  • Remain connected Find an activity or interest you share or just make time to relax or chat.
  • People change. Relationships change. Partnership does not stop personal growth. We all change with time. Be ready and willing to adapt.
  • Have mercy. Be fair. If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it. You don’t have to have a say on everything, either to your partner or about him or her. Focus on the problem, not the person or walk away and address it later.
  • Expect difficulties. Address them together rather than individually. Seek help if you get stuck.
  • Put the partnership first. Make your marriage a priority. Do it one day at a time. Don’t take each other for granted.

The last words; become your best friend. Be a best friend to your partner.