As we journey together through life, we meet new partners. Through those associations we may deepen our existing relationships through the discovery of new ambitions to share, with the promise of a longer term. Less happily, sometimes one or both partners realize that their ambitions have altered, and they separate.

Greater difficult still occurs when only one comes to believe that their goals cannot be attained through an existing relationship, and they seek to separate themselves from the partnership. Usually the only way to successfully manage this transition is to ensure that the unreconciled partner has some means of continuing to benefit from their investment until a new partnership is established. Even when such measures exist, commonly the unreconciled partner will attempt to coerce continued involvement through force, generally with destructive results for both parties, in part because the separating party must retaliate in order to preserve his or her identity.

Clearly, both the path of love and the path of power are necessary to our success. We have to be able to marshal power to accomplish our goals and defend ourselves (expressing our self love) from force, and willing to surrender power in the service of others (expressing our love for others).

Thus arises a definition: Maturity is the ability to balance our health and well-being against that of others, and possession of the strength to act upon that evaluation.

This largely conforms to the consequence of the usual definition: social maturity is a characterization of people with sound judgment. The definition provided here serves to clarify the social focus of maturity.