Are you in a relationship or a dictatorship? How do you know? Please allow me to expound on the difference. My hope is that this blog will answer these questions and help those who wonder what exactly is going on with the person they love.
We'll start with a relationship or what I like to call, a partnership.
A true relationship or parternship is based on love and mutual respect, two people care about what the other person wants in life. Both people come alongside one another and encourage each other, help each others, hurt when the other person hurts, laugh with each other and share life together as companions. They mutually and respectfully work through differences and problems. The respect each other's boundaries, likes and dislikes. They move toward common goals together. They live in love and walk in love, even when it is not easy. They love the other person for all their good traits and bad traits. They see the best in each other always and respectfully deal with things that aren't so good about one another. The key to a healthy relationship and life-long partnership is respect and selfless love.
Now, let's look at a dictatorship. A dictatorship looks very different, I lived in one for awhile. A dictatorship is place where a person only knows a few words: me, me, me, I, I, I. In a dictatorship, one person expects and craves nothing short of "their way or the highway." The dictator is a very selfish person. There is little flexibility with this person. They do not care about what another person wants, likes, dislikes or needs. They do not care about boundaries except their own which are distorted at best. They do not have a common goal with you, it is their goal - whether you agree, disagree, like it or don't like it. You don't get much love and they don't walk in love. They point out the other person's bad traits while neglecting their own. They are never respectful yet they expect respect. They never see the best in anyone, only their faults. In a dictatorship, you have to work to get anything - love, attention, respect, or just acknowledgement. A dictatorship can also be a place of abuse of many kinds. In a dictatorship, the dictator means everything and you mean nothing. You are there to meet their needs and serve them, otherwise you do not matter. A dictatorship is very lonely for both people, the one doing all the dictating and the one having to live with the dictator. A dictatorship is nothing like a true relationship. A dictator is not a partnership, it is a "me-show" starring the dictator.
The difference is such a sharp contrast! I have experienced every one of those things in the dictatorship I was in for about 3 years. I never want to go back and I will not go back. I want to encourage all of you to compare these two things and look at your relationships. Are they true relationships or are they dictatorships? Are you a victim of dictator or are you the dictator? True relationships leave us fulfilled and loved. Dictatorships leave us empty, exhausted, unloved and lonely. Which will you choose today? Which do you want for yourself and your loved ones? I choose partnership.
I will leave you with 1 Corinthians Chapter 13:4-7, the basis of all healthy partnerships and relationships and the explanation of what love really is:
Love endures with patience and serenity, love is kind and thoughtful, and is not jealous or envious; love does not brag and is not proud or arrogant. It is not rude; it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; it does not take into account a wrong endured. It does not rejoice at injustice, but rejoices with the truth [when right and truth prevail]. Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening].
Until next time,
**I describe the dictatorship of my late husband in my book The Road Less Traveled: A Story of Love, Pain, Hope and Everything In-Between. You can pick it up on Amazon and Barnes and Noble online. I hope my story can shine light into dark places and show you just how worthy you are of a better life.