"Relationship" as defined by Merriam Webster is the state of being related or interrelated and the relation connecting or binding participants in a relationship. Interrelated means there is reciprocation of some kind. Therefore, relationships by definition are a two-way experience with a basis of give and receive.
Somewhere along the way, we became a world of entitlement. Either plagued by selfishness or raised in an environment in which others catered to our needs, we learned to take more often than we learned to give. I am rarely one to argue with the "NORMAL" of another person. If all you know is what you know then you cannot be blamed for not knowing. But today, I'm going to argue with somebody's normal.
If you have lived a life of receiving, at some point it is your responsibility to give back to the world around you. This is one of the foundations for building and maintaining healthy relationships with others. I read somewhere that men need to feel appreciated in relationships and that most often when a man strays from his wife it is not because he is attracted to someone else, it is because he feels under-appreciated. I submit that feeling under-appreciated might be the reason most relationships end, not just marriages. If you master the art of giving and receiving, holding on to the people who are important to you will prove a little easier.
Now, I don't care what your circumstances are... Yes, you heard me right. Gentle understanding has just gone out the door. No matter what your circumstances are, you have the ability to give back in some way. It is up to you to figure it out.
Because I am a kind and loving person I have often found myself in relationships that are one sided. I am the giver and they are the takers. I have given of my time, my heart and most often, my money. Every year, I resolve that I am going to put myself first "from now on." But it never happens because I cannot resist working to make others happy. However, I am sticking to my guns this year. If our relationship is based on what I can do for you or what I can give you, it will be ending with 2010.
Relationships should have reciprocation and that is my only expectation. A hug for a hug, a listening ear for a listening ear, love for love, kindness for kindness, diamonds for diamonds... Ok maybe not necessarily diamonds. But you get the idea.