Is It Really Better to Give Than to Receive?

February 22, 2015

We have all heard the bible verse that it is better to give than to receive but that may not necessarily be the case. In fact, this may be at the root of the breakdown of a relationship.

More relationships have been ruined because one does all the giving and the other one does all the taking. In other words, it’s not a balanced relationship and this often causes resentment in both partners.

This is one of the ways it could play out: A couple may start out with the understanding that since they both go to work, it’s only fair that they divide the household chores equally between them. The wife may take the cooking and the husband may take the laundry and for several months, this division of labor is working very well.

One day, the wife gets home from work early and she finishes the cooking in record time and then she decides to surprise her husband by doing his chore, the laundry. When he comes home and discovers that his wife has done the laundry and he has clean clothing, he is ecstatic. He thanks his wife exuberantly and they are both in a great mood that night.

This goes on for a while. The wife has been getting off early each week and when she finishes her cooking she does his laundry. However, as the weeks go by, his enthusiasm seems to diminish and by the time a month has passed, he’s barely acknowledging that she has been doing his chore and her own.

Then, one day the wife is very busy at work and when she gets home she barely has time to get dinner on the table. After dinner, the husband goes looking for a clean shirt and sees that all of his shirts are in the dirty laundry. He’s really angry because he has to go somewhere that evening and he has nothing to wear.

“Where are my shirts,” he asks. “They must be in the laundry,” answers his wife. “Why didn’t you do the laundry?” he asks in a very demanding tone of voice, “Now I don’t have a clean shirt for tonight. Instead of the wife telling him that the laundry is his job, she starts to make all kinds of excuses for why she didn’t do it.

No one likes to be taken for granted. When you show appreciation, most people will bend over backward to please you. But there is also an underlying lesson to be learned and that is when you do too much it becomes expected and, then when you stop doing, the other person gets angry and can’t understand why you are no longer giving as much as you used to. And this can very often be the beginning of the breakdown of a relationship because the giving and the receiving need to be balanced.

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