I don’t think I will ever give 100 percent of myself in a relationship. As crazy as it sounds, allow me to explain before you possibly begin to judge. I’ve been told the key to a successful marriage is for two people to become one and share everything. Maybe that’s true; but because I’ve never been married, I choose not to even touch on that. Instead, I am referring to committed relationships. While I do believe in opening up, giving in, and compromising when I think I’ve met Mr. Right, I’m not sure I can ever give him all of me. I consider this my 80/20 rule. A recent incident with one of my closest friends only confirmed my belief.
Lisa (let’s call her that for anonymity) was one of the strongest women I knew. She showed little emotion when many of my other friends were wearing their hearts on their sleeves, and she thought rationally most of the time. She understood independence and thrived off of being a woman who had her own. Then she fell in love.
Over a course of four years, love changed her perspective. She started thinking less of her own dreams and began to focus on ‘their’ dreams as a couple. Her man had a child from a previous relationship that she easily treated as if he were her own. She was committed to being the perfect girlfriend, and soon she began to think that independence had no place in their relationship. In her head, they were a team. She gave up her nice New York apartment that was nicely renovated, spacious and offered for a reasonable price to move in with him. His living conditions were not nearly as convenient or spacious as hers, but love is all about sacrifice, right?
She was supportive of his dreams and endeavors, so much so that she neglected many of her own. I could go on and on about how love changed my friend, but I won’t.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago. He chose to end the relationship. No warning. It was just over and he moved on to the next girl. Now Lisa, who had given up everything, had nothing.
Love should be without fear. It should be patient…and all of those things it says in 1 Corinthians 13:4. However, I don’t believe that by not giving yourself completely to someone else, you’re necessarily acting out of fear. Or maybe you are. Whatever the case, I still believe that some things should be reserved only for the person you were born with and the person you will die with: yourself.
This doesn’t mean keeping a bunch of secrets from your man, but instead, having something, whether it’s sharing your inner most desires at all times, or practicing spiritual rituals that you do only by yourself and for yourself. It means sharing yourself while still keeping a part of you (financially, emotionally, and physically) to yourself. Sounds selfish? Maybe so, but I believe giving someone eighty percent of me is generous. I have to allow something for me. That is my twenty percent.
Everyone’s numeric figures will differ if you share the same belief as I do. And also, what you choose to keep for yourself will differ from the next woman as well, but I do believe that before marriage, every woman should consider saving something from herself and refrain from giving it all to a man. Relationships aren’t guaranteed and you don’t want your life to become his because if he later rejects what you have to offer, then you’re left feeling as though you have nothing. It’s really not about keeping things from your man, but instead, preserving something for yourself.