Ideally, we bring a solid sense of who we are into our adult relationships. And while it’s good to hold on to this and not lose ourselves in the relationship, there is a sense in which our relationships will change us all the same. In good relationships we are expanded and become better versions of ourselves because of our relationship with the other.
For instance, some people are more extroverted while others are more introverted. And there’s no expectation for them to change who they are simply because they’re in a relationship with the other. The extrovert should rightly honor his time for connecting socially, while the introvert his time for needing more personal space.
At the same time, they can learn from each other and expand their souls in the process.
For example, in a relationship with an introvert, the extrovert might learn the value of having more time for introspection and solitude. He doesn’t become an introvert per se, but he does expand his introverted capabilities.
Likewise, in a relationship with an extrovert, the introvert might come out of his shell more and make connections he would’ve otherwise missed. His extroverted capabilities are expanded while he still remains introverted at his core.
And, of course, this can play out across any number of our individual differences in relationships. Whether we’re the free spirit or the nerd, the saver or the spender, the more assertive type or the one who simply goes with the flow, there’s something we can learn by being in relationship with each other.
When we lose ourselves in the relationship we’re no longer able to offer our unique gifts to the other. But we can also become small-minded and shallow when we don’t step outside of our comfort zone and learn from what others offer to us.
In the end, stay true to the unique ways God has crafted you, while also allowing yourself to grow and be expanded through your relationship with others as well.