Relationships and Sandwiches

Relationships are like sandwiches. What we choose to place in between will determine if they are destined for brevity or longevity.

A while back, at a luncheon with some colleagues, I indulged in a sandwich with horseradish sauce. While my expectation was to taste hints of horseradish, the chef was enjoying a generous moment. First, bite in, I felt a strange sensation shooting up my nose and felt what can’t be described.

The sauce left my taste buds numb and I began to browse the menu again.

With our world in chaos and relationships falling apart like leaves in fall, it’s time we create our sandwiches with carefully chosen ingredients.

Empathy or apathy?

Similarities or differences?

Love or hate?

Humility or self-righteousness?

Now more than ever, there is a dire need for us to exude basic human values. This alone can prevent relationships from becoming extinct. Why must this be a concern? Because relationships are the bedrock of our society. They form the epicenter of the world we live in.

I’m reminded of the parable of wise and foolish builders. The wise man built his house upon a rock and the foolish man, on sand. The wise man’s construction withstood the storms but the foolish man’s structure crashed. I’m certain they both had similar visions but the foundation differed.

While there may be no perfect equation to define relationships, some elements are quintessential. Needless to say, irrespective of the nature of a relationship, there will almost always be differences of opinion. Similar to the crust of a bread slice, these disparities can be kept aside while we enjoy the more succulent parts of the sandwich. Existence of differing perspectives offers opportunities to expand the aperture of our lenses.

As for me, when the ingredients of any food item are listed on the box, trust flows like calm waters. There is minimal room for speculation. This is the reason I believe in wearing values on sleeves. Those around us need to see our values in action which in turn will nurture existing relationships and give way to new ones.

Many moons ago, when my wife and I began to date virtually, we knew what we signed up for. A very unorthodox approach. Some considered it anomalous. Nevertheless, we desired longevity and so, had to carefully choose the pillars of our relationship. This demanded a degree of sacrifice that we both weren’t necessarily familiar with. The ROI is inexplicable.

“We are a work in progress.” is a powerful quote. My spin on this saying is “to progress we have to work.” For relationships to progress, there is genuine, intentional work required.

As we all embrace a new reality, what ingredients would you choose to sustain and build relationships? Please share your thoughts and let us together help create better sandwiches.


Ranjith Abraham
Ranjith Abraham
Ranjith Abraham is a pharmaceutical professional focussed on patient safety through accurate labeling. He is also the songwriter/piano player for Miles Apart, a global musical endeavor that enables friends around the globe to collaborate and create music virtually. He believes in storytelling and in the mantra that no matter how trivial our offerings are, we must allow the recipients to define their worth. Though challenging, Ranjith is grateful for the opportunity to parent his son and daughter. Born and raised in India, he now lives with his wife and kids in Philadelphia. Ranjith draws inspiration to write from life lessons that are tucked away in the insignificant happenings around him. His passion for music/photography fuels creativity and helps him genuinely connect with people. A firm believer of the equation ‘Leadership = Servanthood’, Ranjith’s vision is to positively influence people so they can impact their world through timely and meaningful contributions.

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  1. To “exude” basic human values and “wear them on our sleeves”– like “ingredients… listed on the box” so that trust flows “like calm waters.”

    “Existence of differing perspectives offers opportunities to expand the aperture of our lenses.”

    I agree that the ROI of identifying and committing to the foundation pillars of a marriage are inexplicable and inexplicably rewarding!

    Brilliantly expressed, Ranjith.

    Here’s my list of ingredients:

    Suspending judgement
    Sustaining inquiry mode
    Maintaining a growth mindset
    Being generous with appreciation
    Sharing our gratitudes every day
    Celebrating what’s right

    I know I’ll thing of more ingredients, Ranjith!

    Thank you for this stirring of the nuances and great consequence of relationship!