I sat down last night and continued my reread of Dr. Robert Rubel’s book “Master/slave Relations: Handbook of Theory and Practice.” It was a book I had read about 7 years ago, and have been revisiting. It’s a refresher, a way of reconnecting with source material and thoughts that I had at an earlier time. It was reading this book again that got me to thinking about vision and goals of an M/s relationship.
The thing that I find that makes M/s exciting for me, makes it a preferred relationship style, is that I like it to be a dynamic, interactive relationship where we both improve. I’ve come to realize that when we work best, when we are clicking well in our M/s, is when there’s a vision, a goal, something that we strive for together. It has been when I’ve not had that vision up front in our relationship that things have wandered. I usually wander myself, and I find that it’s not a fun place to be in. This is part of my job and something that I’m coming to appreciate more and more.
One of the things that almost always happen during a relationship is that Real Life takes priority. It could be a situation like job, money, family, illness — so many external issues can press on us. Then there are the internal issues – complacency and comfort. It’s a common behavior to settle down, settle in, and let that “take them for granted” start to sneak in. Happens to all of us. I’ve been guilty of it. I also think that has a tendency to happen in part because there was no vision, beyond the “we’re going to make this relationship work.” So that when the winds of life blow us around, we don’t have that vision or goal to bring us back on the path.
For the past three years, that vision has been being the best M/s titleholders and educators that we can be for Illinois, the Great Lakes and now the world. That vision has been outward and inward – we had to learn a lot about ourselves and learn new skills to do the job. Now, as we see the end of the active titleholding in sight, and as our lives will probably get a little less filled with events and traveling, I find myself thinking about what the next vision will be like – what our next goals will be.
That vision has been developed and articulated in different ways and by different sources. It has been me who has articulated the vision/goal and waved the green flag, but getting to that point has worked best for us when it’s been collaborative, or when I’ve been able to outline the vision clearly. Angie hasn’t always initially agreed with me on some goals that I’ve had for us, but she’s trusted me and has followed my lead. Sometimes, it’s from her suggestion that I found doors opening in my mind to possibilities – the titleholding being one of them.
In starting out, some M/s relationships lay out a grand vision of what things will look like. Some will, to use Dr. Rubel’s phrase “drift into an M/s relationship“, which he doesn’t recommend. That approach doesn’t always work out badly – angie and I started out in a more organic fashion, where we decided to explore what being M/s meant to us. I didn’t have a complete vision of what that looked like, and we made a conscious to throw away our rule books and expectations and discover what worked for us. If I had look back and put labels on things, I guess I would say that what I was doing was making angie into my Personal Assistance and Housekeeper. A do-it-all sort of position.
Now, with experience and trust in each of us, when I update the vision, or when we reach our goals and it’s time to set new ones, I lay it out in a more concrete way, with the knowledge that we are not locked in stone to the execution of that vision. We understand that there will need to be adaptations to what life brings to us, and still keep that end goal in mind. It might be Family Circle style of path, but we will get there.