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It’s a very telling question.
I know that this might appear to be a strange question, but I’m serious about it: Would you want to be married to you?
In this world, so many people are self-centered and want to know what’s in it for them. Their relationships, whether personal or business-., are about what they are going to get, and seldom about what they are going to give.
And yet we all know that life is about balance. Whether you believe in the old notions of karma or the updated “law of attraction,” I’m sure you have some sense of “what goes around, comes around,” or some variation of this.
It’s no different in relationships. And the long-lasting, truly intimate relationships are more focused on what there is to give to your partner. It’s about nurturing and sharing and caring, and not so much a quid pro quo.
The giving isn’t about keeping score or about expectations; it’s about the pleasure in pleasing your partner and seeing that they’re happy. It’s about service and a spirit of generosity. You give because it feels good to give, pure and simple.
And so I ask you the question, whether you’re married or not, whether you’re in a relationship or not, whether you even want to be: Would you want to be married to you? Are you the kind of person that others want to be around? Do people feel better knowing you, being in your presence, having you in their lives? Are you contributing to the well-being and growth of others? If you’re that kind of person, congratulations!
If you’re not, you might want to rethink your life. Ultimately, it’s about creating or discovering meaning, not about accumulating and taking. And a big part of that meaning is to be of service, to be of contribution.
When I teach my psychology graduate students about Erik Erikson’s Psychosocial Stages of Development, the final stage is that of “Integrity versus Despair.” As we get older and our life winds down, we look back and ask, “Have I lived a full life? Have I lived a meaningful, accomplished life?”
If we can answer “Yes!” then we can face that final stage of life with integrity and peace. If we answer “No,” then we face despair. It’s never too late to create that full life, that integrity.
So back to the question: Would you want to be married to you? I ask it for many reasons, but I can tell you that if you’re the kind of person that you would want to be around, then you will most likely be living a fulfilled, meaningful life.
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