A couple years ago I was talking with one of my dear friends. I was zipping through a story and somehow got to a point where I mentioned I didn’t feel as though I was giving the full potential of my part of 50:50 (in my relationship). She gently interrupted and said “Ariel, of course you’re not giving or getting what you feel you need to. Because you are supposed to give the person you are in love with 100%, not (less than) 50%.”
I stopped. Generally, my first reaction to a statement like this would be to press my point. But I was too surprised and confused to do that. I was somewhere in between feeling shocked and mesmerized by the idea.
My friend picked up on my sudden silence and continued “If you only give half, and expect the other person to give half, that’s not really love. That’s half of what your love could be.” I absorbed her words and tried to casually change the subject all while turning bright red in my face and stumbling over my words. Luckily, she’s extremely gracious and let the topic slide.
Giving anything or anyone 100% is not only frightening, but also feels completely unnatural. Maintaining that control has to be some form of evolution, since a broken heart is a valid concern (as opposed to hoping the caveman comes back with some form of food and that we’ll make it until the morning.)
It’s like handing over your heart in one hand with a knife in the other and saying “Alright, here you go!” At least that was my unconscious thought process before my friend brought this point to my attention.
Days after our conversation, her words were still ringing in my mind. I felt a mixture of excitement and outrageous fear with this new way of thinking, but also guilty. I had never expressed love 100% before.
Around the same time I spoke with my friend, my partner and I were going to a couple's healing group. We had been engaged for several months, and we wanted to learn relationship and communication tools so we could both have the best form of intimacy possible.
A week after the conversation with my friend took place, one of our mentors at the meeting repeated almost exactly what my friend had said.
It became pretty clear that something or Someone was trying to send me a message. Before I was even able to offer 100% of myself, I had to do a lot of work. Between my commitment to the Passion Provokers Process of ten, 75-minute sessions and attending the couple's group, I finally came to some tough realizations.
Through these tools and processes, I discovered that for the majority of my life, not only did I not love myself, I resented myself. The saying is true; if you don’t love yourself you can’t truly love anyone else. Facing myself and figuring out what I needed to do in order to have peace with who I was and who I am was the hardest thing I ever did, and continue to do.
Since I completed the process, I’ve discovered that I am now more inclined to love wholly. I am more accepting of my own flaws, therefore more accepting of the flaws of others.
So, I swallowed my fear and started bringing 100% of myself to our relationship, instead of my standard 50%. Giving 100% of myself went something like this . . .
If you choose to give 100%, your coupleship will thrive. Just as happiness is contagious, giving a whole heart is as well. I’m not sure when I will actually get to 100%, but it’s more about the journey than it is about the destination. In fact, the destination is the journey.
I am still on this journey. I have hiccups and total mess-ups on this journey. But I continue to value my coupleship over everything else. I want to be the best version of myself, not only for myself, but for him.
You can try doing this without telling your partner, or you can do it with an open conversation. It’s scary as hell and extremely uncomfortable. But I promise that you will discover an intimacy that is limitless.
“If you only give half, and expect the other person to give half, that’s not really love. That’s half of what your love could be.”
Marla and Jami
Cofounders of JamiAndMarla.LOVE (fka Passion Provokers and Keller Coaching) Jami and Marla are proud to bring a new level of success to coupleships worldwide with their unique coaching, mentoring, and consulting process. Their blogs are not only informative for coupleships they are personal. For over 25 years they have been helping people create emotionally and physically intimate coupleships.
Ariel is a freelance blogger, web designer, and SEO consultant. She is 23 years young, married to her soulmate, and a proud “mother” to boxer Bruce and Yorkie Dexter. She focuses on writing content that is raw and relatable. (Info relevant at the time of writing, circa 2013-2015)