Are You Doing Too Much or Too Little in Your Relationship?

relationship balance

Balance in relationships is key. The question we must all ask ourselves in our relationships is: Are we doing too much or too little in our relationships? And, how do we find balance?

In relationships, a dynamic that sometimes develops is one person carrying more of the burden of the partnership (the "over-functioner" or "OF"). This may mean they do more of the housework, child rearing, household planning, earn more of the money, and do more of the emotional/relationship caretaking (reading relationship books, planning dates, etc). The other person (the "under-functioner" or "UF") either in response to the over-functioning partner or as a result of a personality trait, life transition, illness, job loss, depression, etc. begin to under-function. This means they start to share much less of the burden of all the household and relationship tasks.

In these times, as you can imagine with two income earning households, this just doesn’t work. Gone are the days (if there ever really were those days) when the woman took care of all the household and family tasks and the men earned all the money. Both are usually the breadwinners and both have responsibilities for the home.

In this kind of unbalanced dynamic, resentment starts to brew on both sides. Usually, the over-functioner (OF) starts to feel like they're the parent of the under-functioner (UF) and the UF starts to feel controlled or judged by the OF. The OF might hear things from the other like, "You think I'm not good enough for you" and the UF might hear things like, "I'm always doing everything!"

The solution is for both people to make a shift in how they function. It's not just a matter of the UF starting to "do more" though that's certainly a part of it. The UF needs to feel valued, like s/he is contributing and the UF really needs to powerfully take responsibility in their share of what it means to take care of home and family. For the OF’s part (yes, the OF has some changes to make too), s/he needs to stop being a martyr (and probably as a result, being passive-aggressive), start asking for help and demand more from the relationship. It’s actually more loving to demand more, not less. It shows you care about how your life together goes!

For more on the subject check out this e-book called < Save the Marriage. The author talks more in detail about this dynamic.