Great relationships are fair, to both partners.We are told from our earliest experiences in childhood to ‘be nice to others’ and ‘think of others first’ but what exactly does this mean? Too often our goals to ‘be kind’ can be taken too far. In every relationship there must be a healthy balance. Especially for many women, who still carry the residue of the expectations of past generations (where the woman takes care of the house and her man) is still seeping into their lives; true equality in relationships is often non-existent.

Time Magazine reported that according to the American Time Use Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statics, in 2011, 83% of women and 65% of men “spent some time doing household activities such as housework, cooking, lawn care or financial and other household management.” The year earlier, the spread was 84% to 67%, respectively. Flash back to 2003 and the numbers were at 84% and 63%.” This is evidence that our home life, coupled with a full 40 hour work week, is perhaps lacking a healthy balance.

Ask yourself if the relationship you’re in is balanced – going beyond household chores. If you find that your partner is doing more than their share of the work, it’s time to step up and lighten the load. And if you’re the one carrying the burden, ask yourself why you feel you must… but don’t forget the many other compromises that both of you make.

There are other balances in relationships – for example, shared activities. Does one of you concede each time plans are made to attend athletic events or art shows, shopping or going to see a movie, going out for Chinese or heading to the Italian restaurant around the corner? The concern is not who wins, but rather, are both in the relationship being respected? Do both of you voice your needs and wants, and do you respect each others’ choices? Who ‘got their way’ the last time an outing was planned?

Every relationship develops its own ebb and flow, and everything works well until one in the relationship feels slighted or unheard. Often it is unfair to blame one party or the other. Habits develop over time. As the saying goes, “we train people how to treat us” and, “you get what you tolerate.”

It’s important to stop and review your relationships, whether the one you share with your life partner, child(ren), boss/office mates, parents, friends, neighbors, etc. Are you respecting others they way you would like them to respect you?

If you find yourself  ‘getting your way’ more often than not, the next time you are negotiating a decision, consider if others are being ‘heard.’ Some individuals have greater persuasion techniques and often use them when they are unnecessary. Some people are more passive, preferring to avoid confrontation, but in the end they just compromise their own needs and desires. This leads to resentment and even to ‘checking out’ of the relationship.

Find balance and respect each other!If you want to see a particular movie but your friend wants to go hear music at a local watering hole, consider that discovering a new band can expand your world, consider that a movie can be viewed later and cheaper at home, consider that your friend’s plan is a new experience for you. When you respect and support what others desire, you support their wishes, confirming that you value their opinion… and when people feel important and valued, relationships sail along smoothly.

Don’t limit this approach to relationships only to adults. It is vital to consider a child’s opinion. Of course, adults need to consider all factors of a child’s desire. Is it safe and beneficial to the child? Every child needs to understand that the world doesn’t revolve around them and their wishes, but by supporting a child by allowing them to make decisions, we are guiding them into an adult world. If they suggest going to an amusement park, it’s fine to agree, unless you intended for their elderly grandparents to join the fun. Pointing out that it would be difficult for grandpa and grandma to get around and the day would be boring for them as they wouldn’t be able to participate in the fun, you can guide the child to look for another activity where everyone can participate. Teaching children to think of others develops compassion and kindness.

Being fair to yourself begins with your behavior toward others. You cannot expect to be treated fairly if you don’t extend that same respect. Most of us, most of the time, do not do this deliberately. And yet there are times when maybe you expect to get your way, and then feel upset if other times, you are on the receiving end of someone’s demands.

Since you cannot change anyone but yourself, raise your vibration by being more compassionate, more open, more accommodating – but not to the point where you become a door mat! Honoring each others’ needs and desires is a constant dance of communication – so listening (really listening!) is your greatest asset for developing strong communication and making sure that both of you are able to express needs and desires in a loving and respectful way.

Treating others with respect and balancing the power in a relationship is vital to long lasting, healthy relationships. Be fair to the other, and create an atmosphere of mutual respect and friendship. Be kind, and expect kindness. Be loving, and expect love. Just remember – positive change begins with you!