Reciprocity is a principle of mechanics. The internal combustion engine is based on reciprocity. The crank rotates in it's bearings to move the piston up and down. Energy is generated on the upstroke and power is delivered on the downstroke. There is energy and power involved in reciprocity. It's a cause and effect relationship.
Reciprocity in a relationship means that each person complements the other, or more like, one partner does for another because the other partner has done things for the first partner. It's sort of mutual, but is not exactly that.
We all know that "love" has one English word, but three in the Greek:
agape - love of God
philio - brotherly love
eros - sexual love
However, there are many adjectives to our lone English word "love". I just mentioned three: Godly, brotherly, and sexual. We've all heard of "mutual love". That's another one. Let me focus on "reciprocal love". A corollary is "parental love".
Babies show parents affection because the parent nurtures and shows love first. It's a mutual love, but that's an outcome of "reciprocal love". If people reciprocate often enough they become acclimated to loving the other. Babies respond to the affection of their parents and become alienated when that love is not there. Babies "get" as parents "give".
This is much like the reciprocal engine example. The parents provide the "fuel" (love and ameliorating actions) and the babies the "power" (cuddling and admiration). Over time this action-reaction pair becomes "mutual love". Babies love good parents because good parents are loving. That's one "stroke" of reciprocity. The next stroke is when the thankful and happy baby initiates the love and the parent responds. The two strokes together completes the cycle, just as in a four-cycle engine. That is "reciprocal love".
Couples don't have "parental love". That's a special relationship reserved for parent-child. That type of relationship is not romantic and should never be so! Neither person in a marriage should ever take on a parent identity. That means there must exist a romantic kind of love which too is reciprocal.
There is nothing more titillating in a romance as when loving eyes look upon each other. That "look" is a "spark". Nothing needs to be said or done. It's simply that look of enthrallment. Most romances start that way, then real life sets in! Fascination is replaced by reality. The mate has faults! Shallow people dwell on the faults and neglect the attributes. Normal relationships are compared to movie versions and relationships sour. Satan uses "comparison" to destroy!
Husbands and wives change. They move from the "impress the other" state of mind to "provide a living" state. The former is the romantic state and the latter reality. The task at hand is to endeavor to emotionally remain in a state 1 while physically being in state 2. It's a tough balance, and that's where God comes in!
Reciprocal love helps one of state 2 complement state 1. The husband who works hard to provide for the wife does so out of love. If they don't put a work ethic into a marriage the priority isn't on "keeping the garden" as Adam was charged to do. A mate who works hard so the other can have comfort is the upstroke. That person has provided "fuel" to the marriage unit (the marriage engine). At the top of the stroke there must be a "spark". The spark provides the "heat" part for combustion to happen. Recognition that what the husband pumps into the engine (his own energy) deserves recognition as a loving action. That's the little spark that starts the downstroke. On the downstroke the wive becomes the focus. She admires her husband for his efforts, although hard work is certainly not romantic!
Because on the downstroke, the woman appreciates and admires, the husband reciprocates! That downward power generates an impetus for the husband to add fuel, if you will. His next action is that look of admiration and maybe an embrace. The energy returned to the system causes the piston to move up again and the engine causes the relationship to move forward. At the second upstroke, as the engine warms, even a greater spark happens and more energy is generated. Cycle after cycle of reciprocation provides a forward movement and that moving forward becomes "mutual love". However, it takes the reciprocal love to result in mutual love.
Only some of mutual love is romantic. Much of it is like parental love. That's the akin to the reciprocal love that marriage partners have for each other, but has a different ingredient. It's more than depending on each other, but adding a supercharger to the carburetor! Demonstrations of that affection is the supercharger. Those, in addition to mutual admiration, are teasing, attention, embraces, kisses and other shows of affection. The gifts of love are oneself!
Reciprocal love has the same ingredients as philio love and eros love, but it's more than that! Since the pair have become one (the marriage engine), it's treating the other as you want to be treated. When you're loved, you love back of course, but in addition each mate provides energy in the relationship. Each person in a marriage is obligated to initiate the love. When a couple pledges for life "to love, honor and cherish", those become the fuel that fires the marriage engine as well as the power of the marriage engine!
Satan wants to mix impurities with the fuel! While you are unawares, Satan sneaks over and puts a little "sugar" in that fuel. He knows that a well-tuned engine must have "good gasolene" so he adds a little of his own evil sweetener. It may be any type of comparison or temptation. The "sugar" added to the marriage fuel may be "greener grass". It may be the comparison of each other to society's priorities, such as, a mature wife must compete with a runway model in the vision of the husband. Of course it works the other way around too!
Or, Satan may let a little "rust" get into the marriage fuel tank. Lack of use allows metal to corrode and rust gets into the fuel system. The same goes into the marriage engine. Taking each other for granted or not being romantic allows "rust" to form and the fuel can't get to the love machine because the rust has clogged the lines and "good" fuel never gets to the combustion chamber.
Satan may deceive a little bit and tell you that if you drive your car hard or even let in stay parked for a long time, it will do just as well. He tells you that you don't have to maintain your vehicle and all will be well. That's not true and the good owner knows that an OBLIGATION for good performance is to drive the car as it was intended and to take care of it. A good owner adores his car as if it is new and a well maintained car will last for a long time! Some cars outlive the owners because they care for it!
The same goes for the marriage engine. It propels the marriage unit and both "drivers" have an obligation, to maintain the warranty, to "love, honor and cherish" that engine and the warranty will never expire! God is the chief mechanic and if the engine he made is taken care of he will make it last until "death does it part"!
Satan also provides outside influences. Satan uses others to destroy what he has created. Sometimes he uses other people do do his dirty deeds. Satan uses others to put sugar in your marriage tank and some of those same people will tell you that you need a little "additive" in the marriage fuel tank. They tempt you because they want your engine to fail as has theirs! Those with sluggish engines are jealous and want your engine to be just as sluggish. Beware of those who promise better performance with their "additive" when what's in that bottle is dirt!
As an engine requires energy, so does a romance. To keep the fire sparking and love reciprocating, it requires work to get smooth performance. Fuel isn't free. When the owner stops at the pump the fuel must be paid for. The money for that fuel is obtained by work! I takes work to get power out of the engine. Due to entropy there is no perfect engine. All engines run inefficiently! The purer the fuel, the richer the air and the more intense the spark; the engine's performance is increased. Our "work" in reciprocal love is doing our part in providing the needed spark (admiration), rich air (love) and the proper fuel (effort) in making the marriage engine perform as it can.
If you want to be loved, love first!
That, readers, is reciprocal love and that's what really "makes the world go 'round"!