No More Double Standards: The Golden Rule

Published September 22, 2011 by Patty Brisben

This post is the second part in my September series, Modern Manners. To see the first post of the series, click here.

Perhaps you were in church, elementary school, or college when you first heard about the Golden Rule. It goes something like this:

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

We were taught this ever-important rule to help us understand that we need to treat strangers, fellow students, and neighbors with kindness. Fast-forward to today. Do you think about this phrase that often? Chances are you don’t, as it has become a part of you.

What your pastor and your third-grade teacher never taught you, though, is that the Golden Rule can and should be applied to your romantic relationships, too.

Sometimes when we’re wrapped up in a relationship, we expect everything from our partner. We expect him to be good, to never flirt with another woman, and to only have eyes for us—and it should be this way! However, you have to be sure you’re holding yourself to the same standards. What you want from your partner is probably what your partner wants from you, too.

Women often turn to me with their relationship hiccups, and I love listening. Everyone has her individual story, but more often than not, I end up telling most women I speak with to do one thing: reflect upon yourself. What is your behavior like? What do you want? How do you really feel? These questions are important because they force the woman to take a deeper look into her own behaviors. If you think about it, it’s also a part of the Golden Rule. How do you want to be treated, and thereby, how will you treat your partner?

Lately, I’ve seen women behave in ways I’m fairly certain they wouldn’t be happy with if their partner were doing the same. Before you act on something, I urge you to ask yourself this: “If my partner were in this situation, would I be happy if he did it?” If the answer is no, don’t do it. If it helps you to write or type it out, try it. Your questions may look something like this:

Would I be happy if my man were dancing with a strange woman? Probably not. Therefore, don’t do it.

Would I be happy if my man took hours to respond to a text or phone call? No. Therefore, don’t do it.

Would I be happy if my man posed for pictures with random women and then I saw them on Facebook? Definitely not! Therefore, don’t do it.

It’s a very simple exercise that puts the Golden Rule into practice and gives your relationship a little perspective. Remember that a relationship takes two: you both have to work at it. You can’t expect him to be receptive if you aren’t willing to make changes and work on yourself, too. Give and take, take and give. Just remember, treat your partner the way you want to be treated, and behave the way you want your partner to act as well.

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