I wrote this almost 6 years ago. Never sent it for publishing
By: Pattabhi Ram
I want to talk to you about a few sacred principles of relationships; these apply to friendships and to marriages. After all, marriage is an extension of friendship. Some of these you will cotton to over time, some of these immediately. But anytime you feel like you are lost or helpless, come back and read this. I am sure it will help.
There are five cardinal principles of friendship and of marriage. Let me explain each in turn.
Principle 1: Trust
The first principle of friendship, and of marriage, is Trust; trust with a capital T. Every relationship has a honeymoon period. It’s the period where everything looks hunky dory; but believe me as familiarity sets in the phase passes off. This is when trust becomes important. It is the oxygen that keeps the relation going. You need to trust your best friend and intrinsically believe that whatever he does is for good; unless there are very strong indicators to the contrary. There will be times when he may not share everything with you but trust him nevertheless. Here’s a poor example. There are people who take offense when a friend doesn’t return a call. Friendship lies in understanding that if a call hasn’t been returned it is just that he couldn’t return the call; nothing more is to be read into it. Likewise, when he says he is unable to do something, leave it at that; he might come back later and do it or may be he just doesn’t want to do it.
Principle 2: Respect
A second principle of friendship, and of marriage, is respect. You need to respect the other person in every sense. Everyone has in them attributes that are good and attributes that you may find uncomfortable. Let us remember that people come in a package. Beyond a point, don’t try to correct them. You need to respect him as an individual, his close family members howsoever you might feel put off at times and you need to respect his intellect. Men by nature adore their mother and father and like their brother and sister. Smart men by nature discuss their work but would often like to solve their problems by themselves. Most important, I guess they dislike too much of comparisons of the “he was like this” sort.
Principle 3: U before I
A third principle of best friendship, and of marriage, is to put U before I. Yes, the other person comes first. It’s about give and take; more give and less take. The trouble with most relationships is putting the self first. In English it is always, “Debbie and I went for a walk.” Not “I and Debbie went for a walk.” When someone uses the first sentence, the teacher corrects it saying “Put the donkey last.” It is the same when it comes to great relationships. Always walk the extra mile though sometimes this may be thought by others as a weakness. Never carry a hurt, and never become a prisoner of the past. Never have the feeling “Oh, he said this to me. I should get back.” Sometimes some things that shouldn’t be said are said in the heat of the moment. They are best forgotten. Of course I am not suggesting that one should sacrifice one’s self-respect.
Principle 4: Space
A fourth principle of best friendship is to give the other person adequate “space”. If he is not opening out to something, respect his feeling. He will open out when he thinks he has to. “Where did you go? What did you do? How did you spend the money?” Forget about these. If you keep asking you will squeeze him out. I was immensely touched one day when you told me, “I know that if you thought it was important for me to know, you would have told me.” It displayed a great sense of maturity. Sometimes when a person wants to be left alone, one should leave him alone. At that point do not suspect, do not feel hurt, (Oh he is not sharing it with me). Most importantly do not become possessive; in the long run possessiveness hurts.
Principle 5: Time
Ha, in the end we need to devote time. As the initial phase passes by, the busy ness of work overtakes us and time could become the first catastrophe. This is when we begin to take the other person in a friendship or in a marriage for granted. This is where the need to read the mind becomes important. Men often are happy being to themselves, sometimes they want friends more as sounding boards and sometimes they need help. Alas they wouldn’t directly ask for it. The trick lies in spotting it, meeting it and out awing him.
While each of these are crucial if I have to pick only three I would pick trust, space and respect, not necessarily in that order. Like I said at the beginning many of these may look irrelevant now, but it will do a world of good if we internalize these quickly.