The key to solving relationship problems is to give. And while you can give without loving, you cannot love without giving.
At the root of so many relationship problems is the fact that people just stop giving. The type of giving that I am referring to involves giving of oneself—not necessarily “things.”
This is especially the case in parent-child relationships. Parents often give “things” rather than experiences. They mistakenly think that’s what the kids want. Then, when the kids grow up, they have little to remember.
Years ago, Charles Frances Adams, a 19th-century diplomat, wrote in his diary one day, “Took my boy fishing today. A wasted day.” His son, Brook Adams, wrote in his diary the same day, “Went fishing today with my father. Greatest day of my life.”
Give even though you may not get anything in return. If you expect something in return, you’re not giving. You’re exchanging.
Take a Child’s Perspective to Solve Relationship Problems
One 5-year old boy understood this giving concept well. A hospital volunteer told me the following story.
The volunteer said she got to know a little girl, a patient named Liz, who was suffering from a rare and serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year old brother. He had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the disease.
The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister. The boy hesitated for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, “Yes, I’ll do it, if it will save her.”
As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, seeing the color returning to her cheeks. Then his face grew pale, and his smile faded. He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, “Will I start to die right away?”
The young boy had misunderstood the doctor. He thought he was going to give his sister all of his blood in order to save her. But he was willing to give even though he wouldn’t get anything in return.
The moral of the story is clear: Give of yourself without expecting anything in return and your relationship problems will disappear.
For more ways to improve relationships and reduce your stress, check out my new book Live Without Stress: How to Enjoy the Journey.