A friend remarked, “Ninety-plus percent of intimate personal relationships are based on nothing more than business transactions.”
At the time, I found her comment distasteful. Since then, I have taken off the rose-colored glasses and actually seen how couples behave in their relationships. Increasingly, I have noticed more of the quid pro quo inherent within what many fantasize to be a loving relationship.
As I listen closely to their words, the intent of their heart is expressed, “Yes, he is the leader of our family, because I say so.”
Recently, I have been able to weave the last few years of observation into a theorem, which proves my friend wrong in prognosis. The vast majority of personal relationships aren’t based on business principles. In fact, they don’t, even, rise to that level of common courtesies.
For those desirous of building dynamic relationships, consider this:
Give our Best
Pause to Rest
Guaranteed, this article is multifaceted. It will thoroughly thrill and consciously chill, you, with a wonderful blend of logic and emotion.
From the annals of history comes an accepted parable of wisdom, “Can two walk together unless they are agreed?”
The simple answer is: No.
By default, then, for two people to walk together, or do anything together, they must be in agreement.
The de minimis requirement for a valid business contract is agreement.
Contract law is based on the principle expressed in the Latin phrase pacta sunt servanda, which is usually translated “agreements to be kept” but more literally means “pacts must be kept”.
As a means of economic ordering, contract relies on the notion of consensual exchange and has been extensively discussed in broader economic, sociological, and anthropological terms. In American English, the term extends beyond the legal meaning to encompass a broader category of agreements.
Common Law jurisdictions recognize a high degree of freedom to contract, with the parties largely at liberty to set their own terms. In other words: Freedom of will to choose what is right for the individual. There is, only, one person who knows what that is: the individual.
The elements of a contract are mutual assent and consideration.
Mutual assent is typically reached through offer and acceptance; in other words, when an offer is met with an acceptance that is unqualified and does not change any of the terms. The result is a concurrence of wills or ad idem (meeting of the minds).
Consideration is something of value given by a promissor to a promisee in exchange for something of value given by a promisee to a promissor. Typically, the thing of value is an act, or a forbearance to act when one is privileged to do so. The purpose of consideration is to ensure that there is a present bargain, that the promises of the parties are reciprocally induced.
In most systems of law, parties have freedom to choose whether or not they wish to enter into a contract, absent superseding duties. In American law, one early case exemplifying this proposition is Hurley v. Eddingfield (1901), in which the Supreme Court of Indiana ruled in favor of a physician who voluntarily decided not to help a patient whom the physician had treated on past occasions, despite the lack of other available medical assistance and the patient’s subsequent death.
Such a simple concept: Freedom to Choose.
We think nothing of claiming the right for ourselves. Do we graciously extend the same right to others? Or, do we make an offer and accept it for them? Laughable?!
Consider the last time you did something nice for another person and they rejected it. What was your reaction? Offended? Thinking, “How dare they?!” Here is the issue: Your definition of nice may not be the same as theirs.
The root of dysfunction in any relationship is the bad belief that we know what is best for another person. It is Our Bad to believe another person could, should, would (all of the ‘ould words denote an aura of judgment) accept what we are offering. That belief is bad, not the individual who says, “No, thanks.”
Give our Best
Pause to Rest
Let’s take a look at the ABC’s of building dynamic relationships.
The foundation for success is an attitude of service to others.
Offer to fulfill a need, satisfy a desire, or fix a problem and a relationship is possible. This initial effort to give value begins the circular motion for acceptance to be received.
The sphere of benefit and influence will grow relative to the effectiveness of our communication. Crystal clear transmissions, static free receptions and a dedicated channel of feedback produce a synergy of unlimited potential.
Knowledge, wisdom and understanding are required as a prerequisite to valuable exchanges. We learn, grow and dream by focusing on Facts of the Past, Choices in the Present, and Vision for the Future.
Purpose in life is discovered by acknowledging a power greater than ourselves; delivery of value is possible by being a conduit for timeless and priceless gifts.
The greatest gift is a chosen, purposeful effort, often done in the face of fear, to nurture our own growth and the growth of others!
The walls of success are plumb and square because of a clear definition of ourselves and an understanding of others.
Until we clearly define and communicate what we want for the present and future, it is futile and even dangerous to pursue long-term relationships. Our individual commitment to a course of action is necessary before others can offer to help.
Definitive expectations allow another individual to make a judgment for themselves if they are able and willing to be a complement. We each have the right to say no to anyone, anytime, anyplace and for any reason.
Respect is only possible with clearly defined boundaries. The sovereignty of a country is defined by its border. As individuals, we are citizens of one.
Self-respect is everything that goes on within our boundaries. Respect for others happens at the border and according to mutually acceptable customs.
Profitable interactions occur through doors of opportunity that swing on the hinges of “No, thanks.” and “Yes, please!”
The crowning glory of success is the courage to always do the right thing.
Until one is committed
There is hesitancy, the chance to draw back,
Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation),
There is one elementary truth,
The ignorance of which kills countless ideas
And splendid plans:
That the moment one definitely commits oneself,
Then Providence moves too.
All sorts of things occur to help one
That would never otherwise have occurred.
A whole stream of events issues from the decision
Raising in one’s favor all manner
Of unforeseen incidents and meetings
And material assistance,
Which no person could have dreamt
Would have come their way.
I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets:
Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.
In the great state of Montana, we have an expression and tradition: “Good fences make for good neighbors.”
Those fences mark the boundary edges of ownership. They are the fine lines of distinction between what is mine and what is yours.
Now, consider the title of this article: Offer & Acceptance.
That little “&” sign is the difference between a healthy, vibrant, dynamic relationship and one that is dysfunctional. It is representative of a Montana fence and the fine lines we walk in life.
On the one side is my right to Offer; on the other is your right to Accept, or not. Depending on what I’m offering, your answer will be, either: “No, thanks.” Or, “Yes, please!”
One, or the other. Moment by moment; step by step; offer by acceptance: we choose to walk together, or not. One is not better than the other. What is important, though, is that we have an honest relationship.
Two mature individuals deciding what is best for ourselves, communicating that boldly and clearly, while mutually giving our best, and the freedom to choose, to our partner.
Give our Best
Pause to Rest