Chapter 3: A Relationship That Matters To You The Most

If you are happy in life right now, it’s not because everything about your life is necessarily going right, but because a relationship that really matters to you the most is going great. If you are unhappy in life right now, it’s not because everything about your life is going wrong, but because a relationship that really matters to you the most is not going great.

Relationships are like seeds. They have to be nurtured and developed. Expectations are like weeds. They grow on their own accord. When enough investment goes into building a relationship, the expectations in

that relationship can be managed. When a relationship is left neglected, then the expectations in that relationship shake the very roots of the relationship. Our problem is growing expectations in stagnant relationships.

Let us use the metaphor of a savings bank account. Deposits build the reserves in an account from which we can withdraw – but we can withdraw only to the extent we have built the reserves. Similarly, withdrawals in a relationship are possible only to the extent we have made deposits in that relationship.

In a relationship where there is substantial emotional reserve, mistakes will be tolerated and forgiven, the meaning will be understood even when communication is inadequate, and your intentions will be appreciated even if you fall short in your actions. In all, the relationship will be good because you are considered good. And you are considered good because of the deposits you have made to build the emotional reserves in that relationship.

However, there are some relationships which are taken for granted; the permanence of the relationship is assumed, and nothing is done to nurture the relationship. Expectations continue to rise, but the investments needed to build the relationship are not made with the same continuity. The emotional reserves are overdrawn. In such a scenario, you will be held an offender for every word you speak; every move of yours will be judged; verbal battles and slammed doors will become regular occurrences; neither will your actions be appreciated, nor will your intentions be respected. Such a relationship is like walking on a minefield – it blows up any time and many times.

The solution is simpler than simple. Deposits, more deposits and many more deposits. No active relationship can be free from withdrawal, but we can always make enough deposits. That on which you invest time grows. Relationships have to be nurtured with the investment of quality time. Take time to listen and to understand. As often as possible, communicate to be understood. Make your love visible by being expressive and demonstrative. Seek to give, but also be graceful in receiving. Receiving is one way of showing your respect for the giver, and it is a huge deposit. Deposit by deposit, build a great relationship and thus earn your happiness in life.

Mythology shows that even gods had problems in relationships. Here is an opportunity to be one up on god.

For our children,

we are the only Koran they will read in their lifetime; the only Vedas they will see;

the only Bible they will experience; the only Dharma they will follow.

Your life and my life will either serve

as a Warning or as an Example.

I know it is an awesome responsibility,

but how else can you explain why you came into this planet before them?