What would you say defines you and characterises your identity in a relationship?
Ladies, this is one of those conversations you may have been avoiding but one we need to have.
I have noticed that in our bid to do what we believe is right, we may end up going the wrong way. This is certainly the case in romantic and familial relationships, which make up a huge part our lives and affect the quality of our lives.
Have you ever wondered what sort of person you are in a relationship?
Not just your actions but your way of thinking, your interactions with others and what motivates you?
Do you automatically get into the hobbies, interests and vices of the people that matter in your life? Do you lose your identity in a relationship, your values or character?
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines identity as the “the qualities, beliefs etc., that make a particular person or group different from others“. In psychology, it’s simply referred to as a sense of self.
There are various theories on how we arrive at what we believe to be our true self. The social identity theory suggests that a person’s social identity is based on their sense of who they are based on their group memberships. This could be their social class, family, sports etc. I will extend this to include relationships.
My Identity in a relationship
I have fallen victim to this but not in the way you may have imagined. For me, it’s been an interesting journey trying to understand my actions in a relationship. In romantic relationships, I have found myself losing my sense of thought and in some cases, a high level of ambition.
While in the case of familial relationships, I have seen myself compromise too many times, even where I may not have needed to. I have let things go, things I believed and knew I cared about all in a bid to seek peace but those very things end up causing more difficulties down the line because it no longer worked as expected.
Have you ever been in a similar situation? You probably have.
The Identity questions
The question on my mind and on yours too must be, ‘Why?’ Why do we act differently, why do we forsake who we are or want to be for another?
Sometimes, it may be because we believe this new identity is who we should be, other times it may be because that is who we think the other person wants us to be
Let’s consider these questions a bit more…
“To accept oneself is but a fine line between ignorance and perception, who determines who you are and who you become is the true question.”
This issue of our identity in a relationship throws up some serious issues on the back of our lives as Christian women.
As humans, there is a part of us that wants to impress and belong. I mentioned the social identity theory earlier. In our bid to belong, we may change our character and the things we believe we need to, to suit the situation.
How many times have you changed who you are for a suitor or parent?
It could be in your dressing, your preferences, your career, or even your values. This may have happened more times than you would have liked.
There is a danger that we end up doing it for all the wrong reasons. We even make excuses for such acts. Remember that you can’t really force someone to love you. That will be a tireless exercise in and of itself.
This reflection has helped me in many ways and I hope it helps you too.
Seeking the right identity in a relationship
The next step is to tackle the problem but as Christians, we have to realise that it’s not just about us. The fact that I want to change means diddly-squat if I don’t back it up with the right words and action.
We have to remind ourselves that it is not by our power or our might but by God’s spirit. Zechariah 4:6 (paraphrased)
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” 1 John 5:14 (NIV)
I am standing on this assurance and hope you will.
Our Little Identity Exercise
I have a little exercise for you.
This post was written to help you question who you are and who you want to be. This requires delving through your past and thinking deeply and honestly about things you’ve done and wish you hadn’t done.
You may not like to go there but I need you to consider your actions(and inactions) in your previous and current relationships and see if there is a pattern. If there has been, consider the impact of this pattern on your life.
- Has it been positive, negative or neutral?
- Are you happy with the way you’ve been doing things?
For more helpful resources, you can start by strengthening your relationship with God. This will help in defining your other relationships. You can also join our tribe of Christian women as we talk about these sort of topics.
I will leave you with one of my favourite scriptures:
“Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6
What was the outcome of your reflection? I would love to hear from you.
All the best, friend!