Me vs. We
This is the ultimate challenge for those wanting a truly great relationship—how do I remain “me” while having a deep, intimate relationship with “you”?
(John & Linda Friel, The 7 Best Things Happy Couples Do)
Far too often, it seems like we married folks are facing a choice—pursuing a better “we” or pursuing a better “me.” One can feel self-suffocating, especially when it seems like we’re giving up more than our spouse in order to keep the relationship connected. The other can feel self-serving, like doing what’s best for me is antithetical to the whole idea of being married in the first place. I see a lot of marriages where one spouse does more “me,” and the other does more “we.”
What gets lost in the mess is how the whole choice is a false dichotomy. It’s not an either/or—the best spouses find a way to strengthen their selves, and their marriages, at the same time (forgive the grammar).
The way forward is neither “me” nor “we”; the way forward is with a different pronoun altogether—a strong “I”. As in “I’m choosing to go out with my friends one night this week, because doing so helps me be more fully present the other six.” Or “I’m choosing to not go out with my friends tonight because I really just wanna be with you.”
Or, if you dare, “I apologize for my part in our recent fight,” (even if your partner doesn’t respond in kind).