Have you ever had those days when the one that you have devoted yourself to seems to disappoint you in every possible way? Maybe he/she doesn’t pick up their dishes after dinner or decides yet again to leave their socks on the bedroom floor. These are all very serious offenses in the moment. But what is happening? How has this one whom we thought was so wonderful yesterday suddenly become such a disappointment today?
There may be the possibility that our sense of relationship can become distorted at times. Philosopher Martin Buber put forth the suggestion that we can see life in relationships one of two ways; either as an “I-It” or an “I-Thou”. The I-It relationship is based on objectification and basically, a means to an end. For example, I am hungry so I go to a restaurant to eat. In the I-Thou relationship however, we are in a relationship to another without bounds. There is only the subjective reality of the two without the using of the other as a means to an end or seeing the other as an “It”. There is a unification. How many times have we stood in our relationships not from a state of appreciation for the other being, but instead seeing the other being as an object only present to satisfy our interpretation of the world in which we live? In the I-Thou relationship we acknowledge the life in the other. We connect beyond an presupposed “it”.
But, what do we do about all of those socks on the floor?! Well, that’s for you to decide. If you really want them picked up, just pick them up. All of this was never really about the socks anyway. And, just perhaps, you may be the “I” which is needed most in the relationship of “I-Thou”.