We have been seeing celebrity marriages, and people we know, calling it quits because of “irreconcilable differences” so often lately. We’re left wondering what that means and trying to piece together the breaking point from old video clips and photos on social media. When we finally receive an answer – not that we’re entitled to one – we’re told that they had to “take care of themselves”, “do what’s best for them”, or something of that nature.
Lately, our social media timelines and posts are fueled with “self-care”, “free yourself”, and “walk away from what doesn’t serve you” energy, in the name of protecting one’s peace and finding yourself. Don’t get me wrong. I do support these initiatives when they are on the right grounds but sometimes we have to understand that there has to be some balance. Some relationship between how we care for others and care for ourselves, in order for our relationships to truly thrive.
We can’t continuously pour from our cup and not be refilled. We all know that. But we also can’t be the only one on the receiving end of that supply. Your greatest success in relationships and friendships will be when you learn your formula for selflessness and self-care. You have to learn to balance how you give and how you fill. You must remember that there is always room for therapy, growth, and self-development, but those things must be accompanied by selflessness and patience if you want a successful relationship.
Investing in yourself and doing some inner work will only make you a better partner. How you show up for yourself will make you a better partner. So yes, self-care is very important in relationships. But the lines can quickly get blurred when there is no balance between self-care and selflessness because how you show up for your partner and extend them grace also matters.
I understand the weight that comes with marriage. It can be heavy when you try to carry the weight alone, focusing solely on what you can get out of the relationship. But that isn’t what it was designed for. It was designed for two people to carry the weight and make the load feel lighter. Two joined as one, working as one to build something to last a lifetime. To serve each other. It can be easy to forget the purpose of your union. The purpose is to love each other like Christ loves the Church and to be a visual representation of that relationship. The purpose of marriage isn’t even about us. It’s about other people! Representing God’s relationship with the Church (people) for other people.
I’m no relationship guru and mine is not perfect. But I recognize the continuous narrative being repeated in pop culture. Relationships aren’t for self-fulfillment. Do not be deceived by social media. Marriage is not for self-help, then you move on once you’ve mastered the course. Marriages are for growth, for serving, for companionship, and representation of unconditional love.
The next time you feel that the relationship isn’t serving you, stop and ask yourself how am I serving this relationship and my partner? Have I figured out how to serve someone else as well as myself?