THE question is rhetorical. Of course, we cannot give to another that which we demand for ourselves.
Yet, so many relationships are pitched this way: you give me what I want (read: demand) and then I will give you what you want.
It is insanity, and if only both parties could take a step back and have an objective look as a third person would, they would know.
The conditionality of such a statement – you give me what I demand and then I will give you what you want – means no one is going to get what they want.
Either both win, or both lose, and nobody can win if one party refuses to soften their stance. And yet, it takes just one party to begin the heart-softening process, full of the spirit of humility (otherness). And such true softening is a stance that stays there. (It’s not a fleeting thing. A soft heart stays soft. But, in truth, most relationships need outside help when hearts are hard.)
Relationships never prosper when only one party gives all the time, and yet, when there is quarrelling, both parties mirror each other, saying – “I’m the one giving and giving and giving, all they do is take, take, take.” How can this be the true reality when the other person is saying basically the same thing? Ask any relationship counsellor, they’ll say this is common. It is infuriating for everyone, certainly most when you’re one of the parties to the conflict – “How can they say that?!” It just creates more derision.
So, who is right? If one is right, so is the other. If one is wrong, so is the other. So we’re advised to break past the thinking, “I’m right, you’re wrong.” The relationship can only tear apart if that attitude is sustained.
From their own view only, each party is right. But God’s truth works on the axis of reality, which is real from all viewpoints: all truth, one side of the truth in truthful tension with the other side of the truth.
We can only begin to see God’s truth in the vista of reality when we intentionally land in the other person’s shoes and commit to staying there. Only then will there be viability to the blessed hope of reconciliation.