I think the test in any relationship has to do with your level of selfishness. Do I care more about “me” than I do “we?”
I have to admit that I struggle with this in my marriage. I like things the way I like them and if I don’t want to do something, it is hard for me to sacrifice my wants and needs for my husband. Selfishness runs deep in my bones and that makes choosing “we” over “me” very difficult. I also find that I am stubborn and sometimes that gets the best of me. I will say this, when I choose “we” over “me,” my marriage runs so much better. I feel better about myself when I am not being selfish. It also impacts my husband. When he sees me putting our marriage first, he chooses “we” more than “me” too. It becomes a reciprocal process that makes both of us feel more connected.
We see the struggle with selfishness in many of the marriages we work with. Many of them have never gone from “me” to “we.” They don’t share their leisure time, they don’t share their bank accounts, and they don’t share household chores. It’s like they got married but forget to form a unit. The message they tell themselves is that if I choose “we” over “me,” I will lose myself in the relationship. Fear takes over and they never fully see the benefit of becoming one. As a result, they don’t form a team and they don’t learn how to function together. In time, they wonder why they feel so distant and wonder where their connection has gone. The true marriage connection that lasts only happens when couples put “we” before “me.”
I heard someone say one time that the purpose of marriage is not to make you happy but to mature you and grow you up. Ouch, that doesn’t sound very fun, does it? But… it’s the truth. Marriage can bring out the worst in us and when it does, we have a choice to do something about it. Every time I get selfish and choose “me,” I am making a decision to harm my relationship. Every time I make a choice to put “we” before “me,” I grow up a little more and my relationship flourishes.
How’s the “me” to “we” ratio in your marriage? Do you feel it needs some improvement? Are there times when you sacrifice your wants and needs for your partner? Do you see him/her doing the same? If not, can you start today to make a change? No matter how difficult it may be to choose “we” over “me,” the benefit to your marriage is unimaginable.